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EXIT Interview: Grace Bollinger as Sweetheart

Eager to ditch her abusive husband, Nan Carter teams up with her literally cheerleading best friend Simon, and a Shakespeare-loving stripper named Sweetheart, in EXIT PURSUED BY A BEAR. This humorous tale of Southern Gothic revenge and redemption continues in the Firemen's Kitchen at Hickory Community Theatre, May 5th through 13th.

To quote Cressida from William Shakespeare's TROILUS AND CRESSIDA: "Things won are done; joy’s soul lies in the doing." It is in this spirit that we welcome Grace Bollinger back to the HCT stage in her role as Sweetheart, the bubbly exotic dancer with big-time acting dreams.

Bollinger received a BFA in Acting from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro. She currently resides in Hickory and works as Education Director at The Green Room Community Theatre. In the greater Catawba community, Bollinger has partnered with such local organizations as Centro Latino to offer and lead acting classes for aspiring young thespians.

Bollinger has previously performed at HCT in two shows by playwright Molly BASS: 2022's special event performance of BY A FLARED NOSTRIL, as well as regular season productions of JUNK in 2015 and 2017. She has also appeared in IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE at Triad Stage.

Bollinger is also very busy as a writer and director. Her recent directing credits include 'TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS at Hickory Community Theatre, and THUMBELINA (which she adapted for the stage) and THE SWORD AND THE STONE for The Green Room Community Theatre. Her short play THE NEW SMOKING was the audience choice winner at the 6th Annual Hickory Playground.

Not one to "reel it in" as an individual or an artist, Bollinger enjoys painting, and the company of her dog, coffee and wine in her time away from theatre pursuits. She was drawn to the, as she puts it, "GIRL POWER! BEARS! STRIPPER!" of EXIT PURSUED BY A BEAR, and can especially relate to the plucky positivity of her character in the show.

Performances of EXIT PURSUED BY A BEAR are Fridays and Saturdays, May 5th through 13th at 7:30 PM; Sunday, May 7th at 2:30 PM; and, Thursday, May 11th at 7:30 PM. Tickets are $16 for adults, $10 for youth and students.

Tickets are available online at, or by phone at 828-328-2283. The theatre box office is open from 12-5 PM Wednesday through Friday, or one half-hour before a performance.

EXIT PURSUED BY A BEAR is rated R for adult language and subject matter.

EXIT PURSUED BY A BEAR is produced in association with Ken Wilkinson and Allen Wood, III. The Hickory Community Theatre’s 74th season is sponsored by Paramount Automotive, SunBelt Xpress and Frye Regional Medical Center. HCT is a funded affiliate of the United Arts Council of Catawba County.

(Photo: Eric Seale)

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