Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Intern Spotlight: Heddy Lahmann


Program Associate Heddy Lahmann is a California native and a graduate of San Diego State and the University of Connecticut.  

All Roads Lead to Bond Street

Heddy strikes a pose.
I was 11 when I got my first theatre bug. As a shy kid in a new school forced to take a drama class, my first “solo” assignment filled me with terror. Much to my surprise, however, my classmates gave me a resounding round of applause when I finished my performance and suddenly I was receiving recognition and even praise from peers that were waaaaay cooler than I. That happenstance drama course gave me a confidence I'd never experienced before, and ultimately changed the course of my life.

I pursued my education in theatre with a fervor that took me through college and graduate school and ultimately brought me here to New York City. And while that little 11 year old narcissist within is still alive and well, my outlook on the application of theatre and performance in my own life and the lives of others has changed in the years since middle school.

As a grad student, a teacher of mine spoke about his experience working with an organization whose focus was international humanitarian outreach through theatre. I'd never head of such a thing! Something stirred inside and I had to get to know more. I wound up traveling as a performer with Clowns Without Borders to Haiti following the 2010 earthquake and performing in tent camps, schools, and hospitals. It was that trip that solidified for me that theatre could be used in more dynamic ways than I had ever imagined, and this was work that I wanted to pursue.
Go Heddy!

I stumbled on Bond Street Theatre's website via idealist.org and knew I had to be a part of what they were doing somehow. In March I met with Joanna and one week later I found myself in the loft space of BST, working alongside superheroes. One week after that, and they had me traipsing around the office on stilts! (These particular superheroes have no qualms about sharing their superpowers.) The folks at BST continue to blow my mind with their unwavering generosity of spirit, passion, dedication and drive to bring theatre to the most remote and sometimes dangerous of places-- boldly going where no one has gone before as pioneers for change. A day "at the office" may consist of watching/editing videos from the latest journey to Haiti or Afghanistan, booking the Stilt Band at a new venues, aiding in the preparation of grants and final reports, watching and learning the Young Audience Program DVDs, or a trip to the illustrious basement to gather another collection of treasures to take to Materials for the Arts. There's a lot of pieces to the puzzle of what it takes to run such a uniquely small and yet global operation. I am a happy little sponge during my hours here, taking as much knowledge, skill and swagger as I can possibly absorb.

Most recently, preparations have been underway for another Bond Street journey to Afghanistan, this one specifically to bring theatre by Afghan women (trained by BST) to Afghan women in the prison system.  The empowerment I felt as a timid adolescent that sparked my own love of theatre, that's what BST takes to the most seemingly impossible of locations to the most seemingly impossible of populations. On my own theatrical journey, I aspire to have the bravery, gusto, and even a jot of the kind of impact that Bond Street has had on the world. It's an epic and marvelous adventure to be learning about this invaluable work and the special folks who do it.
Singing On The Stilts....

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