A natural on stage, at home in the spotlight

Hannah Fisker-Anderson

By Arabella Devera, Hawkeye Staff

Set? Check. Lights? Check. Costume? Check. Makeup? Check. As the red curtain rises, senior Hannah Fisker-Anderson prepares herself for the stage. She clears her mind and calms herself down. In an instant, Fisker-Anderson is able to embody a new persona. After over eight years of experience performing, there will only be a few shows left until she leaves the MTHS theater and moves on to a bigger stage.

“It’s sad to say goodbye to it,” Fisker-Anderson said. “I have been doing theater since I was 5 or 6.”

Throughout her elementary and middle school days, she participated in a community theater, giving her an early start in the performing arts. By the time Fisker-Anderson was in the fourth grade, she was able to participate in school plays. These shows happened to take place in the MTHS theater, making Fisker-Anderson’s familiarity with the school stage stronger and her farewell to it tougher.

“For elementary and middle school productions we had cool lights, curtains, really nice costumes and really nice sets,” she said. “It was like a high school level production.”

Being so involved with the performing arts at a young age, one would assume Fisker-Anderson would have had more musical influences growing up. However, her dedication and passion came from her own interest. With a STEM-focused family, Fisker-Anderson quickly became the oddball in her household after becoming interested in theater once she learned about plays through her church.

“When I was a kid, every year my church did these Christmas plays,” she said. “The people who did it actually ran a theater and they would write their own original plays for us to do. They had weird themes like ‘The Beatles’ Christmas’ or an Area 51 theme.”

While the church sparked her interest in theater, it was Madrona Children’s Theater that kept Fisker-Anderson’s fiery passion burning.

“Madrona Children’s was incredible, helping me realize this was my passion,” she said.

Madrona Children’s Theater never did junior productions, which are adapted productions that are easier to do but sacrifice the quality and depth.

“The director believed in us, and the creative team trusted us to do full shows,” she said.

Because of this, Fisker-Anderson went through indescribable experiences that she kept with her, and that encouraged her to continue doing theater.

Although having found her one true passion, Fisker-Anderson’s musical journey wasn’t easy, as she faced challenges with her mental health.

“I have really bad anxiety, it’s kind of like a battle every day to go to school,” she said. “I’m on anxiety medication [but] it doesn’t help me 100 percent. I still have to mentally push through stuff.”

Fisker-Anderson also struggled with depression and OCD for some time, her freshman year being especially difficult. Coming from Madrona K-8, MTHS was a whole new domain for her.

“When I was a freshman here I didn’t know anybody since I came from Madrona,” Fisker-Anderson said. “I was put into this giant school, a completely new world with nobody I knew.”

During this time, the MTHS theater brought back some joy in her life. While Fisker-Anderson did not make the casting initially on her first audition, she was fortunately still able to perform.

“I auditioned for ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ and I originally didn’t get in,” she said. “Brzovic came up to me and asked, ‘Hey, I didn’t have enough space to cast you for a singing part, but do you want to be the puppeteer for the plant?’ And I was like, ‘Absolutely!’”

Enthusiastically accepting the role, Fisker-Anderson did not anticipate how much she would come to love it.

“It was so unbelievably fun,” she said. “I made connections and I met people who I’m still friends with today.”

Through theater, Fisker-Anderson was able to adapt to a new community and gain lasting friendships. She had another similar positive experience through the MTHS acting improv class.

“I made some of my best friends through my freshman year improv class,” Fisker-Anderson said. “It’s good for connection, and there is a lot of support from people.”

Not only has theater helped as a community-building tool, but it has further helped Fisker-Anderson with her anxiety. By doing something she loves, she’s able to overcome her mental blocks.

“For a while, theater was anxiety-inducing for me and I got super nervous before going on stage, but I just pushed through it because I love doing it,” she said. “It’s gotten to the point now where when I’m on stage, all of the anxiety just goes away. I go up there, I’m calm, I’m at peace, and I get to embody a character and sing. It’s fun.”

Since then, after putting in the time and the effort, Fisker-Anderson is currently the president of a drama club and also the captain of the improv team. She has played many roles, including Audrey II puppeteer from “Little Shop of Horrors,” June and other various roles in “Quilters,” herself in “Godspell,” Avery Stern in “Bad Auditions by Bad Bad Actors,” Helene from “Midsummer/Jersey,” and Paulette from “Legally Blonde.”

Alongside this, Fisker-Anderson has helped out in other theaters and gotten cast for roles in shows from Edmonds Driftwood Players, Edmonds Heights Performing Arts, and Red Curtain Theater.

“I love [the] performing arts [because] it’s a community builder,” she said. “It’s healing, making people laugh, making people cry. At times, we tell social change through theater.”

Fisker-Anderson’s passion for theater has only grown during her time at Terrace, and it’s not just the acting that she loves; supporting backstage can be just as thrilling.

“Being backstage, you get to hype other people up and get nervous for them whether they’ll be able to nail their scene or not,” she said.

Through this, Fisker-Anderson has learned how theater brings people together, with everyone counting on and trusting each other to put on a good show. In addition, another exciting part of theater is being a part of the tech crew and stage tech.

“I really like doing tech too,” Fisker-Anderson said. “I’ve built sets, which I was in charge of. I was in charge of 50 props that all had to be set on stage. It was stressful, but it was fun. If there’s anyone who wants to get into theater but is unsure about being on-stage, tech is a good way to go.”

With stage tech, there is a wide variety of jobs everyone can take. These people who are behind the productions deal with all sorts of things including lighting, audio, costuming, makeup and building sets. In all these roles and jobs, people can have a great time in theater even without acting. As a bonus, they develop many skills and create sweet memories.

Overall, thanks to theater, Fisker-Anderson was able to become more outgoing.

“Before, I was in my shell,” she said. “But I’ve become better at expressing myself.”

After graduating, she’s set on pursuing this industry. Fisker-Anderson will be doing the honors program at Western Washington College, and plans to study both history and theater.

“I’ll be studying theater and history and hope to get a career that blends the two, like a historical dramaturge,” she said, “I’m also interested in costumes, props, stage makeup and of course acting. I think a historian or museum curator would also be a good career for me.”

Throughout her time in theater, Fisker-Anderson has learned many important life lessons. One of them was to pursue dreams, even if they seem impossible.

“I have problems that are in direct conflict with the things I want to do in my life, but I care too much about the theater and the arts to let it stop me. If you want something, then just go for it.”

I have problems that are in direct conflict with the things I want to do in my life, but I care too much about the theater and the arts to let it stop me. If you want something, then just go for it.”

— Hannah Fisker-Anderson