As a child, Sage HaleWolfe ’18 knew that actors didn’t just magically appear from a box behind a movie screen.
“I figured out when I was fairly young that film was a thing to be done and not just watched, something in which I could be an active participant,” she says. That knowledge and interest grew and helped to place her in New York as an intern with Break-Thru Films while participating in the New York Arts Program.
“Film is really interesting and very accessible,” she says. “My dream goal is to start my own women-led production company and have under-represented voices telling original stories. I want the company to be used as a community resource. I want to use non-actors in specific communities to tell the stories of that community.
“For as long as I can remember I’ve been interested in photography and documentary. I started photography when I was 9, and I’ve been doing theater since I was a wee lass. Being a woman behind the camera is not as common. It’s always been a boy’s club, but my mom raised me to fill gaps.”
For two years, HaleWolfe was co-convener of the Earlham Theatre Company.
“We did a successful, student-run, full production of Tom Horan’s Acid Dolphin Experiment,” she says. As convener, she worked to get more people involved, which meant more opportunities, projects and workshops.
“At Earlham, so much is student-led,” she says. “A lot of the education that you get has to do with working with professors or working on your own. Professors give you the tools and trust you enough to be independent. They say, ‘We’re here if you need a resource, but don’t feel like you have to ask permission.’ When you do the things, this is when you find your voice.”
Also at Earlham, HaleWolfe was a Bonner Scholar and received scholarship funds for her service to the community. She volunteered 10 hours each week at Animal Care Alliance, a nonprofit veterinary clinic that also rehabilitates wildlife including coyotes, gophers, snakes, rabbits, squirrels, raccoons, raptors and deer.
“Community engagement is my thing, and Bonner tied into that well,” she says. “The Animal Care Alliance is a nonprofit low cost spay and neuter clinic. We worked with the community to serve specific needs.”
After graduating, HaleWolfe hopes to put her skills to use to create community by building shows from the ground up without hierarchy.
“The best art, my favorite art, comes out of stories that need to be told,” she says. “I think of art as a site for healing in a community. Theatre has been doing that for a long time. We’re at a point when that has become necessary, politically and otherwise.”