Performer Profile: Sophie Hackbarth

Hannah Perry, Arts and Life Editor

The love for theatre has been instilled in junior Sophie Hackbarth for what, to her, seems like forever. As a child, her parents took her to shows, and she would sit in the auditorium seats daydreaming about what it would be like to be on stage with the performers. At 15 years old, she starred in her first production, which was the play Flowers for Algernon. Despite being nervous, she hit the stage and immediately cleared her mind of all anxiety and fully embodied her character. It was the feeling of being completely absorbed into the acting that stuck with her and made her determined to continue what would develop into a career in theatre. 

Throughout her teenage years, Hackbarth stayed true to her passion for performance by being involved in theatre at Okoboji High School. When she wasn’t on stage, she often helped with props and other behind the scenes jobs. Her dedication to theatre eventually earned her the title of president of her Thespian Society Chapter and an award for over-all best thespian during her senior year.  

“For me, this was validation that I was right for choosing to pursue theatre,” Hackbarth said. “In my head, I thought there was no way I would get such an award because there were so many people better than I was. When I received this award, I felt like I was worthy to be on stage, and I was worthy enough to act.” 

After high school, it wasn’t a question of where to go to college, as all of Hackbarth’s siblings and both parents attended Buena Vista University. It was more of an issue to figure out which major was right for her. She ultimately chose theater media studies but didn’t stop at just one major. With four years of Spanish under her belt, she figured it would also be smart to add since she could potentially get a broader range of future acting roles. To top off the double major, she added an English minor.  

With her sibling’s support and guidance, Sophie Hackbarth joined the BVU theatre program. As someone who strives to make people happy and appreciated, she instantly created a sense of comradery with everyone in the program. Not only did she become close with her fellow students, but also formed a bond with theatre professor, Bethany Larson. Through working with Larson in the costume shop and watching her perform, Hackbarth credits her as one of the most inspirational people in her life.  

Over the course of the three years, she’s been at BVU, Hackbarth has had the opportunity to star in several shows, including her favorite, Magic Theatre. The production was different than anything she had ever done. Directed by upperclassmen, it featured several short skits that invoked the imagination of children. The cast took the show on the road to a handful of elementary schools. In addition to her onstage roles, Hackbarth is an active executive member of BVU’s chapter Alpha Psi Omega National Theatre Honor Society.  

While the future of theatre at BVU is uncertain due to a recent decision to cut the program, Hackbarth looks forward to her own future after college. As a way to earn a steady income, she plans on getting her CNA after she graduates while also focusing on acting. Over the course of the next decade, she wants to make a name for herself in the world of theatre. Although she realizes being in the business isn’t the most profitable, the art of performance is what matters most.  

“What makes it worth it is the opportunity to create an experience that can be life-changing for someone. Being able to step into a character’s shoes and express their own struggles and successesjust being able to be a representation of humankind,” said Hackbarth.