HMTC has a fifth birthday this week. My has she grown, and what a journey it has been. We are proud that our theater company offers a creative outlet and opportunity for people to challenge themselves and have fun with the performing arts.
It was February 7, 2017, when HMTC did the first acting class. It was offered free of charge and for anyone interested. It occurred on the upper floor of the Old Courthouse. We were there for weeks, and our numbers grew weekly in the classes. Then the elevator malfunctioned. We could not use the upper floor and we tried the basement hall. Tenants were not happy about that, so we had to locate another place. We just did not know where.
Then Hanford Parks and Rec gave us an opportunity to use the West Wing of the Hanford Civic. It cost some money which I was happy to give to see children, teens, and adults learn skills in the performing arts. Eventually the honeymoon was over. The rent went up and we had to reassess.
Reassessing is always good to reignite passion. We still wanted to share the performing arts. Then fortune came upon us. Good souls on the Hanford Carnegie Museum board allowed the acting classes to continue. We did classes, improv and standup comedy shows, a full play production in the courtyard, performed a play about Andrew Carnegie, Harriet Tubman, Wilbur Wright, and Booker T. Washington, with starlets from the silent film era.
A member of the city in the development office had concerns about our weekly activity at the museum space. Though we donated monthly to the museum and brought people through the door, we found it necessary to relocate. Again.
Panic set in again. Classes have been very well attended and the summer heat was approaching. It looked like we had to go outdoors in parks to teach classes. We had done two plays outdoors and one actor became gravely ill from performing outdoors in the cold. I herniated a disk moving sets after each show. Plywood and cinderblocks was the stage and moving it into my trailer after each show caused irreparable damage to my spine.
We were buying lottery tickets with hopes to win big and build a performance arts place. Then, a nonprofit came to the rescue. Kings County Historical Society had space for us to use. They thought that we would reject their location because of the distance from the downtown. What was important to us was a space!
We feel good that we are having a birthday. The Tulare-Kings Hispanic Chamber of Commerce would have celebrated with us with a ceremony, championing our perseverance, but these pandemic times has affected many plans.
To the good people who have supported us and believe in our commitment to providing a creative outlet and performance opportunities in a nurturing and all-inclusive realm, we thank you. Our fifth birthday is sweeter with your positive energies.