HCAC Spotlight: Ratish Balakrishnan

He’s a lover of the stage and being in front of a crowd, although he might not appear to at first glance. Meet Ratish Balakrishnan, the man who adds onto the many facets that make HCAC a great place to be at! And… he is our feature for this month’s HCAC Spotlight.


In this feature, Ratish shares with us what keeps him coming back to HCAC and the impact HCAC has had on him and his life so far.

Tell us more about yourself & your background.

I’ve been a school teacher for 15 years. I love my job and the people I work with, and I definitely don’t mind waking up at 6 am for that. Oh, and I live near my workplace, which means I walk to work, which is not a bad thing. I’ve always enjoyed performing, and I’ve been in a couple of rock bands for the last 9 years. I’ve been a pretty impressive bathroom singer since my teens, so the move up to amateur band stardom made sense. Not sure why it took me that long to make that move though.

Tell us more about your experience in HCAC.

It was actually a friend of mine who signed me up for my first workshop (Long-Form Improvisation) as a birthday present in early 2016. She felt that since I love performing, I’d enjoy learning about acting. And she was right. I loved it, and signed up for Strasberg Introduction and Intermediate workshops later that year too.


Ratish has no problem getting down in this short film.

I have found the experience here to be equally inspirational and humbling. I am just inspired by how everyday people of all ages can create beautiful things in HCAC each night through their performances. Through HCAC, I’ve been fortunate to be given opportunities to perform in the last year as well. I was involved in two dramatic readings (Robert Yeo’s Pioneer Passages & Ode to Albee), the monologue shoot with Sunita Chiu, audiobook recordings that were featured on radio, and a small role in a short film. I’m also involved in a play reading group which consists mostly of HCAC alumni. So the experience has been fantastic, and I’m always looking to learn a lot more and earn more opportunities.

I’ve learnt a lot more about myself through my time here, and that’s really helped me in my work as a teacher and as the singer in my band. I’ve definitely been a lot more reflective and have a greater sensitivity to what’s around me. It is a little different now when I get on stage to sing, or when I’m in the classroom. I’m a lot more confident in what I do and why I do it. I’m sure my time here in HCAC has quite a bit to do with that.

What is it like interacting with the people of HCAC?

Amazing. The people are the best part of HCAC. There is a wonderful spirit that exists within the HCAC community. I am blessed to have gotten to know and work with many good people in HCAC. They have been generous, and many have inspired me to involve myself in more projects and workshops. I think it’s hard to find that amount of love (and tough love) and honesty in one community.

I must say that Kamil and his crew have made this all possible. They have created a safe space for us to create new possibilities and grow. That’s what makes it a wonderful place. Kudos to him and his people!

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