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

Hi Hannah, what’s your definition for success?
While most people in the performing arts world define success as Broadway, Hollywood, or the Top 40 Billboard, I define success as the happiness your art brings you. Have you ever been so excited about a project that you lie in bed and choreograph dancers on a stage, imagine a painting come to life, or the emotional impact a play has on its audience? I think success is being personally fulfilled and fueled by the work you are doing, and knowing that your work has an effect on your audience (whether it is a profound impact or even just making someone smile) and creating change in your community. Of course, stability and flexibility within your art are perks too!

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Wow! So much to say in one tiny box. I started as a singer as a young girl, which morphed into musical theater. I went to school for Musical Theatre at Southern Utah University where my love for Shakespeare was ignited. Right after college I booked my first gig with the Flagstaff Shakespeare Festival in Flagstaff, Arizona, and the rest was history. I moved around for a while working for different theater companies and doing shows, but continually came back to Flagstaff, which felt like home. My friend Dawn, the founder of FlagShakes, noticed I had a knack for leadership and began to give me responsibilities that continued to grow over the years. Now not only am I still an actor/singer/dancer, but I’m an arts administrator, director, choreographer, movement director, costume designer, podcast producer and host, and an aerialist. “Succeeding” in theater is not easy but over the years I learned that success comes in many forms, and for me, it was learning that I can do things other than acting. All my other hyphens show that I am versatile, dynamic, always learning, and that a life in the arts will never be boring.

I’ve been with the Flagstaff Shakespeare Festival for over 4 years now, and I’m proud of our brand and our mission. We are the only professional theater in Northern Arizona, and we pride ourselves in being able to pay our staff and our artists. We hope to continue to grow and bring theater to Arizona for many years to come, and to continue “elevating empathy at 7,000 feet.”

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Flagstaff is so incredible and dynamic! First off the city and surrounding areas are beautiful, so I would take them on a hike in Picture Canyon to see the waterfall or on Fat Man’s loop to see the Elden views, and go down to Oak Creek Canyon to swim in the creek and enjoy the red rocks of Sedona. While in Flagstaff they need to take an aerial class at Momentum Aerial, go see some art at Museum of Contemporary Art Flagstaff, watch a Foundry variety show, see a band play downtown at the Orpheum, and of course, see a play at the Flagstaff Shakespeare Festival! My favorite drinks and food places include the Annex for cocktails; Uptown for bar food, beer, and trivia; and Sosoba for ramen.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My boss and best friend, Dawn Tucker, the founder of the Flagstaff Shakespeare Festival, gave me my big break four years ago when she hired me as an actor. She has since become my mentor and best friend through this journey of expanding FlagShakes and my personal career.

Website: flagshakes.org

Instagram: My personal- @hanniekenz, Flagstaff Shakespeare- @flagshakes, our podcast- @untamedshrewspodcast

Facebook: facebook.com/flagstaffshakespearefestival

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvGqnQ1CPvpLC7Lg6Y2TLPg

Image Credits
Photos by G’s Photos, Eric Santoro, and Marilyn Days

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutArizona is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.