“The theatre teacher at Sturgis changed my life,” Anna Botsford said, in reference to her former teacher Julie Carman when she was a high school student at the Sturgis Charter Public School. “She got me into theatre and is why I teach there now.”
Understanding the profound impact that the arts can have, Botsford jumped at the chance to run this year’s Falmouth Road Race to support the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod. “The arts are so important for not just the Cape, but for everyone,” she said. “They’re so important for the growth of our community and for our young people, especially with social media, movies and TV being so prevalent.
“Whether it’s taking in theatre, being with people and witnessing something collectively and not singularly, or going to an art gallery, or watching a live concert, it is really about the community coming together and being with people,” she continued. “We lost that with Covid. We need people to realize it is really, really important to keep arts and culture alive in our community.”
Botsford, who was a member of the first graduating class at Sturgis in 2002, has spent the past 15 years as the school’s theatre teacher, the first five at Sturgis Charter East and the remainder at its west campus. She has stepped into the shoes of her mentor, Julie Carman, who is now the IB Coordinator at Sturgis.
She directs all plays at the school while teaching Intro to Theatre classes for freshmen and sophomores, and more rigorous classes for juniors and seniors. “It is really an engaging, high-energy job,” Botsford said. “I focus a lot on the ninth and tenth graders on getting them out of their shells and to experience communicating with each other from their own point of view or a character’s point of view.”
When she’s not teaching, you can find Botsford on stage – she’s performed at the Barnstable Comedy Club, the Harbor Stage Company in Wellfleet, and most recently as Corie Bratter in Neil Simon’s “Barefoot in the Park” at the Cotuit Center for the Arts this past spring. She balances her work as a teacher and an actor with raising a daughter with her husband Chris, a detective with the Barnstable Police Department.
“I love the element of stepping into someone else’s shoes and being able to take on the role of another character,” she said of acting. “In teaching theatre, I love seeing the transformation in students and opening up their eyes to the world and how theatre helps them grow as humans.”
The power of acting, Botsford said, is that it gives all her students a voice, especially those who may not feel like they have one.
This Sunday, Botsford will be running for them, and running for the difference that the arts can make in people’s lives and in our community. “I love what the Arts Foundation does for our community and that they support arts in our schools and students who want to continue doing arts after they graduate,” said Botsford. “Any way I can help them out and raise money for them is awesome. I’m so grateful to be a part of this team and I love seeing the Arts Foundation thriving on the Cape.”