by KELLEY GUSICH | photo by Love, Jayde Photography

HUNTing for a Challenge

From a very young age, Sarah Hunter has dotted Vista’s skyline with her performances. Her first acting class happened when she was just three years old, and she feels lucky to have such great theater right here in Vista. She did a plethora of productions through the years at the Moonlight Ampitheater and AVO Playhouse, and many shows with Randy Hickman and Doug Davis, who continue entertaining North County through their own Vista’s Broadway Theater. “It was with Randy and Doug that I got to fulfill my childhood dream of playing in Annie, among many other roles,” said Sarah.

faces02Sarah majored in theater arts and minored in speech communications with an emphasis on performance studies at San Francisco State University. There she was introduced to writing her own performance pieces. Her first show American Soles was a politically-charged play which garnered a great response, and so her desire to keep writing was sparked. She moved back to Vista to be closer to family, “because it really does take a village to raise kids, especially twins!” and she feels the community is stronger than ever.

When she taught at the performing arts studio, Sarah used many techniques to fuel her students’ interest in acting. In searching for a fresh show to perform in children’s theater, she wrote an original play called Heroes, about four students faced with saving their community. The characters looked to heroes from the past like Rosa Parks or Albert Einstein for inspiration. The show was such a success Sarah launched the Playwright Challenge, where students submitted ideas for a musical. The students with the winning idea joined Sarah at workshops and together they created an outline for another original show, Change-up Champions, which they then got to assist Sarah in directing. “I think the Playwright Challenge is one of my proudest achievements with my students,” Sarah shared. “Not only to have provided them with such a unique, special opportunity, but to have passed on the inspiration of creating to them.”

In June of 2014, Sarah collaborated with [the] movement initative to premiere an original dance theater piece called Victor Charlie at the San Diego International Fringe Festival, which received the “Top Box Office” and “Audience Favorite” awards out of the 88 shows performed there. “Of all the possible awards, we were thrilled to be awarded these,” she explained. “They really speak to the positive responses we got from our audiences.”

Sarah Hunter continues the hunt for inspirational performances to create in Vista.


Name: Sarah Hunter
Profession: Mom, bartender, playwright
Hobbies: Theater, music, spending time outdoors at the park, the beach, or the pool
Favorite Spots in Vista: Vista Farmers Market, Get Air, Shadowridge Park