Egyptian Theatre Ops. Director a born performer
Amber Hansen fell in love with theatre at age 12, when she first performed onstage in "My Fair Lady" at Bonneville Junior High School. Hansen, who lives in Hoytsville, is Director of Operations and Programming at the historic Egyptian Theatre on Main Street Park City. "This is the best job I’ve ever had! I love all the volunteers and the Pharaoh Club members are the greatest and most generous people I’ve ever met," says Hansen.
She explains her early-onset addiction to the stage: "I always liked to sing and dance, but until then I’d never had the opportunity to actually get on stage and do it in front of people. The first time it happened it felt so good! That adrenaline rush and the feeling you get after you’ve performed, there’s nothing like it, not even close. From then on I wanted to be in every school play."
The career performer grew up in Salt Lake Valley. She has fond childhood memories of frequent travel to Mexico.
"My parents had a timeshare in Mazatlan and my grandfather had a house in Rosarita. We used to rent a Jeep and go up in the mountains to trade the kids candy and toys from the states for burro rides and authentic Mexican food," she remembers.
While attending Cottonwood High School she was a member of the state’s best breakdancing team.
"But don’t ask me to do a windmill now," she quips.
She studied theatre for a semester in London while in college at the University of Utah and is a "proud graduate" of their Actor Training Program.
Fresh out of college, the free-spirited Hansen backpacked across Europe, even living and working in Athens during the run-up to the 2004 Summer Olympics. Returning to the United States, she moved to New York City to "become an actress." There she studied, did improv comedy with the Upright Citizen’s Brigade and was a writer and performer for a TV pilot sketch comedy show.
"By the time the producers pulled the plug on the project, I’d had it with New York City life. I moved to Anchorage, Alaska, where a friend of mine lived, to get away from it all for a while," says Hansen.
Hansen returned to NYC briefly a year later to work while she shopped her resume in Utah.
"I wanted to get back home but I didn’t want a job bartending or waitressing. I figured I’d just stay in New York doing that until I found a job I really wanted," she says.
Her opportunity came late in 2008 when she answered a craigslist add while visiting family in Salt Lake City for Christmas.
"The Egyptian Theatre wanted someone to teach Youth Theatre classes. I applied and got the job in early January," she recounts.
Over the next few years at the Egyptian, Hansen moved steadily up the ladder. As Director of Operations and Programming, she wears many hats: she manages the box office, coordinates volunteers, books acts and takes care of the performers’ needs.
"I also direct many of our shows and musicals, which is my favorite thing to do," she says with a smile.
She’s set to direct the hilarious comedy "Noises Off," opening next June.
Hansen became reacquainted with her now husband, Aaron Holladay, while working at the theatre.
"I first met him at a party when I was 17 years old and he was 20. Aaron spent most of the night hitting on me and I thought he was too old and scary looking, so I shot him down," she laughingly remarks. "Fast forward 13 years and I ran into him again at a club in Salt Lake. This time I thought he was just right. In fact, he’s amazing."
They were married in May of 2014 and welcomed their son, Dillinger, into the world in April of last year.
The couple bought a home in Hoytsville, near Coalville.
"We love being out in the country and our neighbors are great," she says.
Hansen admits to one small regret about her wonderful new life. "I had to give up Roller Derby," she frowns.
It seems she’d been gaining quite a reputation as a blocker with Wasatch Roller Derby, Utah’s premier league.
"I hope to pick that back up sometime in the near future," she said.
Favorite activities: dining out, live theatre, being at home "snuggling" with my boys and all our critters
Favorite foods: Sushi and Middle Eastern
Favorite authors/reading: Ayn Rand and Kurt Vonnegut, lately parenting 101-type books
Favorite performers/music: Michael Jackson, David Bowie, Queen, T. Rex; "glam" rock
Bucket list: travel to Asia, South America, New Zealand
Animal companions: Maggie, age 8, a kitty I found on the streets of NYC and nursed back to heath; Boo, a Labrador Retriever, age 7; Kilo, a Pitbull, age 6; Sphynxy, age 3, a hairless Sphynx cat we inherited from the Egyptian Theatre.
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A Utah Symphony woodwind trio will perform an intimate Deer Valley Music Festival chamber concert Monday at Susan Swartz Studios.