The Friends of the Theater supports the H.J. Ricks Centre for the Arts as a thriving destination for Hancock County residents and visitors.
In 2017, the H.J. Ricks Centre for the Arts, a privately owned historic theater at 122 W. Main St. in Greenfield, lost its long-held county funding - a critical source of taxpayer support for the downtown performing arts venue. Fearing the doors might close, the local arts community came together to find a solution. And so, the Friends of the Theater was born.
Today, the theater's operation depends on grants and donations from people like you. The Friends of the Theater works with the Hancock County Visitors Bureau, the nonprofit that owns the Ricks, to put those dollars to good use. Your contribution assures the Ricks remains a place for all ages to enjoy. We thank you for your support!
Sandy Miller, a Greenfield resident for more than 40 years, attended movies at the Ricks theater and later performed in community theater there. She is retired from Anthem, Inc. where she served as deputy general counsel and then as president of Anthem’s Federal Government Business Division. She is active in several community organizations and wants to help ensure that the theater remains vibrant.
A lifelong resident of Greenfield, Debbie Wilkerson has owned and directed Wilkerson Dance Studio for forty-two years, bringing professional dance instruction and performances to the area. Her dedication to arts in Hancock County has led her to supporting the preservation of this historic theater.
Christine Schaefer has been active in the theater community in Hancock County since 1997, the year she founded her children's theater program, KidsPlay, Inc. She also founded CrazyLake, an community acting troupe, in 2007. Chris has produced more than 60 plays and musicals with KidsPlay and CrazyLake, most of which were hosted at the H.J. Ricks Centre for the Arts, a space Chris fondly calls "our home theater."
Wayne Addison has been a licensed Indiana Auctioneer since 1979 conducting hundreds of benefit auctions and acting as MC at many charitable events. Formerly the Chief Probation Officer of Hancock County, Wayne now works as the Pre-Trial Release Probation Officer for Hancock County.
Jerry Bell of Greenfield was welcomed back to the board in 2022 after having served as one of the Friends' founding members. His background in performing arts includes 28 years as a high school band director and music supervisor, as well as four years as a music teacher. He has has extensive experience in the nonprofit world, having served as president of Nameless Creek Youth Camp since 2006. Jerry has also been on the board of the Greenfield Sertoma Club since 1977.
Noelle Russell has enjoyed the Ricks theater both as a performer and as a patron since she moved to Greenfield in 2006. Formerly the editor of the Greenfield Daily Reporter, Noelle now works for the state of Indiana, serving as deputy communications director for the Department of Child Services.
Dan Scharbrough of Indianapolis joined the Friends of the Theater board of directors in 2023. Dan became interested in the organization’s mission after having both acted and directed shows on stage at the H.J. Ricks Centre for the Arts. Dan has a long history of performing, having appeared in numerous regional theater productions over the years. He is also a 30-year member of the Actors’ Equity Association. He and his wife, Jennifer, have two children and two grandchildren.
Amy Studabaker is a mom to two kids during the day and a choir and voice teacher in the evening. She fell in love with Hancock County after teaching choir at Mt Vernon Schools for six years and moved with her family to Greenfield in 2016. Amy enjoys performing and music directing shows on the Ricks stage and looks forward to the opportunities her kids have in the future to tread the boards of Greenfield’s historic theater!
Randy Sorrell is a patron of the arts, an experienced board member, and the owner of a successful Hancock County law practice.