Home Away From Home

posted by Brian Jansen, A.C.T. Master of Fine Arts Program class of 2011 

I found this picture and wanted to share it with the A.C.T. community. It is trustee Dianne Hoge and her husband Ron with three Master of Fine Arts Program students—myself (on the right), Sara Hogrefe ’10, and Matt Bradley ’12. Clearly, we are having a ball.

Diane is one of the members of the Board of Trustees who act as a “Trustee Host” for M.F.A. Program students. What does this mean? Well, every student-trustee host relationship is different, but the general idea is that board members take a particular student or group of students under their wing. They are a familiar face at opening nights and the annual gala events; they attend our shows, cheer on our progress, and help with networking and general support during our three years here.

Dianne and Ron are incredibly gracious hosts. We get invited over to their house a few times a semester for drinks and dinner. Often they invite other artists or young people for networking, and the Hoges’ place can be something of an artist’s “salon.” We have passionate discussions about theater, A.C.T., what’s on the mainstage, and student productions. We trade ideas and stories and perspectives—and leave feeling recharged.

The Hoges have been hosting students five years in a row, so now I’m part of something of a “Trustee Host family” with Sara, Matt, and graduates James Bigelow ’09 and Jeff Irwin ’08.

The Trustee Host Program brings together two sides of the A.C.T. community that wouldn’t normally interact—the generous benefactors, who make much of the work we do possible, and us students in the trenches of training. For M.F.A. students, it’s an exhilarating addition to the experience at A.C.T., and provides something of a “home away from home.”

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