We had the good fortune of connecting with Sondra Blanchard and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Sondra, can you tell us more about your background and the role it’s played in shaping who you are today?
I was born in NH of French-Canadian parents and spent a great deal of time with my grandparents in St. Hyacinthe, Quebec. My first language was French and I learned to speak English when I was 5. I was one of the only bilingual members of my family, and because I spent so much time translating as a child it has impacted me to become a bridge builder in my life. I naturally think about how to create connection, communication, and community. With my theatre company, Public Works, I create opportunities for the collective experience of wonder and delight. In taking over as sole owner of HB Woodsongs, I continue to seek ways to build community and be an integral part of the music scene in Boulder.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
At this moment in time there are two distinct strands to my life as an artist and business owner, and I am curious how and whether they will converge. First I want to write about my life as a theatre performer. I am so proud of my theatre company, Public Works, and the quirky and delightful shows we have made and toured over the last 9 years. We use popular theatre to create new theatre for family audiences and I am delighted with the breadth of our work: a flea circus, clown shows, mask performance, puppetry! Covid interrupted growth for my company, and so I took the opportunity to do workshops that introduced me to an international community of puppeteers and led to working in a new Brazilian style of theatre, Teatro Lambe Lambe. This is short puppet theatre designed to be viewed by one person at a time, and I have thoroughly enjoyed this miniature and intimate form. Another aspect of my theatrical career that I am proud of is being a Fulbright Fellow in Greece, when I taught collaborative playwriting at Aristotle University in Thessaloniki.

The second distinct strand in my life is owning HB Woodsongs, which is celebrating its 51st year! HB Woodsongs weathered Covid under the careful guidance of Shawn Cupolo and our manager Chad Martens, who both showed tremendous creativity and thoughtfulness in a trying time for our small business. We are grateful for our customers who turned to us and music during the shutdown. As the world reopens, there is the opportunity to restore our group classes, build our lesson studio back up, and put a stage in the store to host small concerts. We look forward to welcoming back our community in person with all the warmth and vibrancy that brings.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I daresay a combo of art and nature would do the trick. Here are my top picks, in no particular order: Wild Animal Sanctuary Etown show live taping

A show at the Millibo Art Theatre, or at the Savoy, or The Dairy.

Freak Train at the Bug Theatre is a must see.

Meow Wolf

A wander through Walden Ponds

FOOD! Drinks at Dry Land Distillers and Deki. Breakfast at Tangerine. Zoe Mama for street food, 95a Bistro or 24 Carrot Bistro for lunch or dinner. Stueben’s or The Post for comfort food.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My recently deceased husband, Shawn Cupolo, was instrumental in helping me launch Public Works Theatre Company. He was my publicity guy and all-around tech guru when I was getting started. When we bought HB Woodsongs in 2017 he took on the role of leading at the store, working on music for shows, and taking care of our daughter during rehearsals. I also have a fierce posse of friends who have helped craft props, do childcare and all the little things, I couldn’t do it without them.

Website: www.hbwoodsongs.com, https://www.facebook.com/Public-Works-Theatre-Company-149981818507354

Instagram: instagram.com/hbwoodsongs

Facebook: facebook.com/WOODSONGS-83367472247

Image Credits
Shawn Cupolo John Bear (photo of Shawn Cupolo and Sondra Blanchard on day of Woodsongs purchase)

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