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Featured Students

Caleb Wildman

Caleb Wildman Caleb Wildman is a 17 year-old performer, director, sound and light designer for SantaCruz Performing Arts. Since joining the company, he has appeared in several of SCPA’sproductions, including the title-role in The Wizard of Oz, and Cinderella’s Prince in Into the Woods. Wildman favorite role was as Gus, the Theatre Cat, which he performed while also running the light-board for SCPA’s production of Cats!

Whether I am in the cast or on the crew”, pines the long-haired youth, “the rest of my life will be spent enjoying the wonders of theatre.”

Caleb WildmanShortly after he began singing and acting, Caleb showed interest in the technical aspects of theatre. Eager to learn and assist behind-the-scenes, he soon became SCPA’s go-to-guy wherever help wasrequired  from building scenery and student directing, to designing sound and running lights.Currently, Caleb is the sound-operator for SCPA’s Theatre Honors Tour. A senior at Aptos HighWildman works backstage as well as designs and runs lights and sound for choir and theatrical productions at the school’s Performance Center. “I actually just started theatre at my high school this past year”, says Wildman, “I have worked on every show except for one and it has been one of the best years of my life.” He credits much of his technical understanding to the school’s Theatre Operations DirectorD Parr, explaining, “she has intensified my knowledge with her extensive experience of the workings of theatres”. Caleb Wildman RunningCaleb maintains a 3.8 grade-point-average, and in his spare time enjoys being with friends, running in local races, and making movies in his video production class. He, with another student, have even filmed a short documentary about Santa Cruz Performing Arts, called The Heart of Theatre which appears on SCPA’s homepage! Professionally, Caleb has already worked designing lights at the Mello Center in Watsonville, and has recently completed a summer internship with Cabrillo Stage. He aspires to one day be a professional stage-manager and lighting-designer, as well as join the Theatre Tech Union. He feels that all his experiences have been teaching him how to be a professional. “I have much to learn”, Wildman wisely notes, “but working in each new place with different people expands my knowledge of how I will operate in the future.” Written by Ben Jammin (SCPA Artistic Director) Photo Credits: Quinn Wildman, Don Nolte,  Jennifer Wildman

Bella Anderson

Bella as Dorothy

Bella is 12 years old and a sixth grader at Mission Hill Middle School. Before she learned to write she was making up and performing plays and skits with her friends. Sensitive to the conflicts and drama of human life, Bella delights in creatively expressing moods, characters, and events through acting, dancing, singing, writing, and directing plays.

She has studied voice with Santa Cruz Performing Art’s own Artistic Director, Ben Jammin Holck, and now studies voice with her extraordinary vocal coach, Lindsey Chester, Artistic Director for All About Theatre (AAT).Bella began training in dance when she was just five and currently dances and performs with Motion Pacific’s Kids Company. Currently, she delights in performing in AAT’s full-scale musical productions and will be playing the lead role of Peggy Sawyer in 42nd Street, set to hit the stage in January.

Bella as BabetteBella is most proud of her performance (at just nine years old) as Dorothy in SCPA’s 2010 production ofThe Wizard of Oz. Thrust into the spotlight, Bella gleefully discovered that, “There’s no place like home.” She explained, “I wish I could play Dorothy a thousand times…”. This is the precise moment when the stage ultimately became Bella’s home away from home. She credits Ben Jammin Holck for quickly recognizing her passion, focus and creative potential.

This January, SCPA is proud and excited to welcome Bella as our intern and choreographer for our 2013 mainstage revival of The Wizard of Oz, performing at the Aptos Academy Auditorium this March. Again working with Ben Jammin, Bella says she is both grateful and delighted to have been given this amazing opportunity at such a young age.

Bella AndersonSome of Bella’s favorite past acting roles include Mowgli in The Jungle Book, Brigitta von Trapp in SCPA’s The Sound of Music, and playing Ariel in AAT’s The Little Mermaid, which she says is likely her all time favorite role.

Last summer, Bella was thrilled to learn pantomime, audition preparation, and stage combat in an intensive acting workshop with Cabrillo Stage’s, Andrew Ceglio (also Founding Artistic Director of Spotlight Stage). Around the same time she also landed her first paid acting/voice over job with Learning in Motion, a company that produces award winning educational software.

Bella as ArielWith dreams of directing a full-length play, Bella wrote and directed her own neighborhood production,The Magic Wishing Well with a cast of ten. Attended by an overflow crowd of 75 people, the show raised $430 for the Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The Santa Cruz Sentinel also published a story in its Sunday newspaper about Bella’s creative endeavor and generous charitable contribution to her community.

Bella Anderson approaches each day with the attitude that, “There is something amazing that is going to happen today. Then there is another great thing after that! I need to get to it”! Seemingly tireless and always eager to take on a new challenge, she looks forward to learning, and expanding her skills as a performer, as well as a choreographer and director in both theater and film. She plans to continue to work hard in school and to attend college with a double major in performing arts and public relations. Meanwhile, she plans to spend as much time as possible doing what she loves best: spending time with her close friends and family and singing, dancing, acting, learning, and giving each task, each activity, each performance her personal best.

Dorothy: Photograph by Don Nolte
Babette & Ariel: Photograph by Jade Loftus