The Hippodrome and the River Phoenix Center for Peacebuilding present a groundbreaking new six-week adult course at the Hippodrome called “Theatre and Self-Discovery.”


The focus of Theatre and Self-Discovery is in what lies below the surface, how self-esteem impacts people and people’s needs list. In theatre, actors ask of their character: what drives this person’s behavior?


This course bridges the mediums between non-violent communication work and theatre in a non-threatening way, a way to step away from your own self in creating a character that is not you. One of the goals of this collaboration between the River Phoenix Center for Peace-building and the Hippodrome Theatre is peace-building within oneself.


Through this 6 week intensive adult theatre class, participants will explore the nuance of relating human behavior to the craft of a theatre artist. First, participants will go below the surface of these characters with writing. The initial classes will be facilitated by Heart Phoenix of the River Phoenix Center for Peacebuilding, and Gabrielle Byam, of the Hippodrome Theatre and the River Phoenix Center for Peacebuilding.


Then participants will bring the writing to the stage with real theatre artists, Matt Lindsay and Cameron Pfahler of the Hippodrome Theatre, and the course will utilize these introspective discoveries with a focus on character development and scene construction. Each individual will create and write a monologue that reflects the experiences accumulated throughout the course; the class will culminate with a showcase of student monologues.


A bit about the course leaders: Heart has been facilitating workshops for non-violent communication for 15 years. Gabrielle has worked at the Hippodrome Theatre for 20 years and has been facilitating workshops for non-violent communication for 8 years. Matt Lindsay is a theatre director, and a teacher at the Hipp for 10 years. Cameron has worked at the Hipp for several years, has a degree in psychology and has had work featured at a local playwrights festival.


6 sessions — Mondays, April 9 – May 14
6:15 – 7:30 p.m.


To best provide a personalized experience for participants, class size is limited.

Sign up here or call Gabrielle at 352.373.5968 x230 for more information.

Sara Morsey and Nell Page share the Hippodrome Mainstage again in “Ripcord”

By Jessica Fondo


Some people might think Abby is the mean one.


“She’s not mean at all!” Sara Morsey said of her character.


Really, Abby is just misunderstood. She has a wry and dry sense of humor.


“People take her quite seriously,” Morsey insisted, “more seriously than she takes herself.”


Abby does not try to cause problems for anyone, and she does not want anyone causing problems for her. She is self-contained and self-sufficient. She is not inherently unfriendly or mean but is old enough to know what she wants, and what she wants more than anything is to be alone.


Enter, Marilyn.


“Marilyn is quite the social butterfly, and she is very, very nice,” Nell Page said of her character.


She is friendly, talkative and Abby’s worst nightmare. There is no worse person Abby could be forced to share a room with than Marilyn, but there is no better pairing on the Hippodrome Mainstage than Sara Morsey and Nell Page.


Morsey and Page will take the Mainstage together once again in “Ripcord,” opening March 2. The two recognizable actors have been company members since the Hippodrome organized a company, but their careers began long before that.


When Nell Page was 18 years old, she was enamored with live theatre. She majored in theatre at the University of Florida and was cast in the lead role in the first play she auditioned for at the Hippodrome. That was in 1974.


Now, 44 years later, the Hippodrome is still flourishing, and Page continues returning to the theatre where she feels comfortable.


“It’s great to be back at the Hippodrome,” Page said. “When I am on stage, I feel most at home.”


Through the decades she has spent on the Mainstage, Page said she has seen an unparalleled quality of work within Hippodrome community.


“The Hippodrome does have something special,” Page said. “I’m not sure how to define what that is 一 you could ask patrons who have been here for the past 40-plus years, and they would probably all give you a different answer.”


One of the factors that differentiates the Hippodrome is the close relationships between company members, she said.


“I love working with this particular group of actors,” Page said. “There’s a lot of trust between us.”


Working with actors she knows so well allows Page to be vulnerable, which is both encouraging and freeing, she said. She and Sara Morsey have been collaborating on stage since Morsey began acting at the Hippodrome in 1993.


“We work well together, and because of our history, we know each other,” Page said. “There’s just that unspoken language that you share between each other.”


Morsey said the reason she is most excited to be in “Ripcord” is to once again share the stage with Page and the other actors in the show, all of whom she has worked with before.


Though she has 25 years of experience acting at the Hippodrome, Morsey said each play is different and offers a new opportunity to grow as an actor.


“You never know when you might learn something,” Morsey said. “You never know when you might up your game, so every single time you get a chance to be in the process with other actors, in the process of rehearsing a play, you never know what it’s going to do to up your game for the next one.”


Like any other profession, acting is a continual process, she said.


“You could have 25 years of experience, and it’s the same experience every day,” Morsey said. “Or you could have 25 years of experience, and it’s huge because you’ve let it blossom.”


She has acted in other David Lindsay-Abaire plays at the Hippodrome before, she said. The playwright has an ability to pack a lot of material into a a few words.


“He’s very funny right in the same breath as being very serious sometimes,” she said.


“Ripcord” crosses demographics and has something for everyone to enjoy, Morsey said. She hopes the Gainesville community takes advantage of this Florida premiere, which promises to be a unique experience.


“The theatre is here and accessible and open to everybody,” Morsey said. “And if you come in and see a live show, it’s going to be an experience that happens once in a lifetime because when it’s live, it happens once.”


Audiences can take from “Ripcord” a good laugh and an unrepeatable night, she said.


“There’s nothing like live theatre,” Morsey said. “Life is happening every night.”


For tickets, call 352.375.4477 or click here.

Bring your instrument, your voice, your poetry or just yourself to Mandisa Monday at the Hipp Lower Level! Starting at 8:15 p.m. on Monday, April 30, be a part of the coming together of various artists: musicians, poets, storytellers and YOU. Second-best to showcasing your hidden talent, Mandisa Monday is FREE.
Mandisa Haarhoff is a South African actress, playwright and singer (qualifies only at open-mics, karaoke and home shower). She started the Mandisa Monday open mic two years ago, with The Bull as her home base.

The esteemed Gainesville string band, Pine, will be playing in the Hipp Cinema on Sunday, April 29. Doors at 5:30, music starts at 6:30 p.m.

Pine will play two intimate sets of live music, with an intermission for time for refreshments at the bar.

A little about Pine: Liberty Phoenix and Dan Stepp came together to create a folky sound with intimate harmonies that are supported with a beautifully talented string band. They have been lucky enough to add on Brian Turk on Stand Up Bass, Andrew Cook on Violin and Mark Archer on Dobro.

Purchase tickets online at
or call the Hipp Box Office 352.375.4477

Check out Pine’s music here:

See THE THREETLES live Saturday, April 14 in the Hipp Lower Level! Doors at 8 p.m. and the music starts at 9 p.m.
The Beatles started in the underground of the Cavern Club in Liverpool, England, before going on to lead the British Invasion across the Atlantic.
And now, right here in Gainesville, the Threetles play the Hipp Lower Level! It’s the closest band to the Beatles, in the location closest to the Cavern Club in Gainesville!
The Cavern Club was a warehouse cellar venue with columns and stone walls — just like the Lower Level. Get ready to twist and shout, and come on down to the Hipp to rock out to your favorite Beatles tribute band, THE THREETLES, keeping the beat alive.
This is a donation-based event, all proceeds donate the non-profit hosting, the Hippodrome Theatre. Arts funding was slashed this year, and the Hippodrome Theatre is doing everything possible to keep bringing you excellent theatre, cultural, and special events like this one!

Belt out your favorite tunes starting at 7:30 p.m. on April 13 at Karaoke Night at the Hippodrome as part of 352Creates’ monthly “Create in Place” initiative.

352Creates believes that creativity connects our community and makes us healthier and stronger. Anyone, using even the simplest of materials, can create something amazing. Artists can get some relief by letting out their expression and students getting away from campus for the evening can come together to absorb some of the vibrant downtown culture and share a microphone!

The Hipp hosts karaoke night to act on the theatre’s commitment to providing community events that bring people together. Events like this encourage people to discover the magical destination of downtown Gainesville and explore their creativity.

Anyone can step into the limelight and sing the hits from their high-school days, their childhood favorites or chart-topping classics! Whatever it is, this night is sure to be fun and fabulous.

When the Hipp puts on events like this, the Hipp becomes a place where a diverse group of people can come together and feel a sense of community while having a good time. The event is free and open to the public, and the basement bar will be open for those who need a little liquid courage before their performances.

[heading centered=”yes” margin_bottom=”no” large=”no” background=”no”]Good News! “Ripcord” at the Hipp has been HELD OVER![/heading]
“Ripcord” audiences have been having a ridiculously good time at the Hippodrome Theatre, such a good time — they keep coming back.


For those who haven’t had the chance to head on down to the Hipp for this hilarious and heartfelt high-stakes comedy, now you’ve got another week!


Due to popular demand, “RIPCORD” has been extended through Sunday, April 1We have also added an additional matinee performance for this Wednesday, March 21 at 2 p.m.


It all starts with a simple bet… and the laughter, and rave reviews keep coming!
As always, feel free to call the friendly box office staff with any questions at 352.375.4477or visit for showtimes and reservations.


This Week’s RIPCORD Showtimes:
Tuesday, March 20 at 7 p.m.
Wednesday, March 21 at 2 p.m. (ADDED SHOWTIME!) & 7 p.m.
Thursday, March 22 at 7 p.m.
Friday, March 23 at 8 p.m.
Saturday, March 24 at 8:30 p.m.
Sunday, March 25 at 2 p.m.


Tuesday, March 27 at 7 p.m.
Wednesday, March 28 at 7 p.m.
Thursday, March 29 at 7 p.m.
Friday, March 30 at 8 p.m.
Saturday, March 31 at 5 p.m. & 8:30 p.m.
Sunday, April 1 at 2 p.m. (CLOSING PERFORMANCE!)


Reserve your tickets by calling the Hipp Box Office: (352) 375-4477 or click here.

A hot night of salsa dancing in the Hipp Lower Level begins with a salsa dancing class taught by Bailecaliente GAINESVILLE at 8:45 p.m. for just $5 at the door.

At 9:45 p.m., DJ Elio Piedra brings the party when floor opens up for a night of spicy salsa dancing FREE and open to the public!

Food will be Latin Faire by Abuella’s (the same folks who run Flaco’s!), and will include vegan & meat empanadas as well as cuban sandwiches.

Elio is a DJ with live beats so people can move with the rhythm of his live percussion. Heat up the hippodrome with your salsa skills!

Elio began his percussion career in Cuba, studying at the National Conservatory of Music and performing in the most important regional musical festivals. He made his U.S. debut performing in Miami and moved to Gainesville shortly after. Now, Elio is a local piano and drums instructor as well as a performing musician.

To get $2 off your first drink at the bar, mark yourself as “going” and check-in on Facebook that night!

Sherrie Pettigrew will be featured at the Hippodrome Art Gallery for March’s Artwalk Gainesville! Come by the Hipp during your jaunt around downtown. Sip some wine and see her collection Friday, March 30 from 7 – 10 p.m.

Pettigrew is a Florida artist who composes her drawings based on the people and objects around her in everyday life. Graphite powder and pencil are her primary materials, and she sometimes incorporates paint, pastel chalk and found objects.

“These images come to me in the shower, theater, market, and street complete with smells, sounds, and visions seldom shared until they are actualized,” Pettigrew said.

Pettigrew admires artists Chuck Close, Joan Miro and Cy Twombly, and they inspire her artistic style. She describes her collection as an evolution from hyperrealism to psychological surrealism.

“I come from honesty in my approach, making work that isn’t always pretty,” Pettigrew said. “These pieces are about emotion, often without cognitive consideration: recording reality with a twist and my own hypersensitive view.”