*HCAC Is 5 Years Old Today…And Counting*
A.K.A. Lightbulb Moments 💡💡💡💡💡
Having a dream is great. Living a dream is even better. Sustaining a dream…..now that is hard. Really hard. No one really tells you that.
Martin Luther King spoke about having a dream back in 1963. 58 years later, communities of people and minority groups are still being wrongly persecuted, fighting for equal treatment and in some cases still fighting for their lives or even just a clean glass of water. This is not to say nothing was achieved in 58 years but it hasn’t been without struggle. Then again, supposedly struggle builds character, builds mental fortitude and resilience.
Today, HCAC is 5 years old and I’m filled with pride at what my students and staff have accomplished in that time. It hasn’t been without a lot of risk, sacrifice and yes that word, struggle.
I believe we’re all born inherently imaginative and creative and life has a way of sucking that out of us. We’re told life “has to be, must be, should be, is supposed to be” and so on. To do anything to revive those feelings you were born with goes against the grain and can be struggle. That’s just one person’s journey. Now, imagine trying to run a school that tries to cultivate that a thousand fold.
Okay, truthfully I’m very hard on myself and sometimes those around me. I wish sometimes I was less so. That’s one of my personal struggles. I have to remind myself that only 5 years ago, HCAC was just a small rented and dingy classroom in a random private school in Tanjong Pagar and now we’re almost 2000 people strong with our own studio with two spaces for workshops and performances. I’ve had the opportunity to work alongside and with some amazing staff, teachers and students. People more talented and wiser than I think I’ll ever be and I’ve been stimulated and challenged to get better at my job as a result. Although, starting and sustaining HCAC has cost me a lot on many levels, I wouldn’t change a thing.
I often get asked why I wanted to do it or if I want to maybe do something else. The answer is “no.” I try to always have the answer be “no”. There are days sometimes when “yes” seems easier and I’ve been tempted. Oh boy, have I been tempted. The struggle can seem never ending and the ends sometimes hardly justifying the means. The siren call of regular working hours, being able to spend more time with my family and friends, building a hefty nest egg….all those things are tempting. And still, I say “no.”
You know what sustains me? “Lightbulb Moments”….. those moments when students just ‘get it’ and a metaphorical lightbulb goes off. Not just that, but those quiet moments, when students, friends/family/partners of students come up to me and say “thank you.” I’ll be honest, those “thank yous” don’t pay my bills and they don’t give me more personal time back and yet they sustain me in ways indescribable. Don’t get me wrong, the money is great and sorely needed but to have someone look you in the eye and just say those two words is really special. It means they see you, they shared a space with you and change happened.
So before I keep rambling on, I’ll bring this missive to a close. To Dionysus, Thespis, Stanislavski, Strasberg and all the greats who have come before me, thank you.
HCAC is 5 years old today and I’m grateful.
I really want to dedicate HCAC’s 5th birthday wish to all teachers everywhere, past, present and future. It doesn’t matter if you teach acting or not. Thank you for doing what you do despite your personal and professional struggles. And especially thank you for the “lightbulb moments”. For me and for everyone you work with. Teachers everywhere, you do so much and I see you and thank you. You’re helping light a path so that others can see. You’re sharing a space with others and you give a space for change to occur.
Today, HCAC has built a 5 year old path in Singapore. Here’s to 5 lifetimes more of “lightbulb moments.”
With Hope Towards The Future,
P.S. I’m just going to put it out there, if there are any angel investors, sponsors or donors who want to know more about how to get involved in HCAC, its sustainability and its growth, please feel free to message me.