Meet the Staff

Meet the people who make the magic happen!

Here at HART, we are a small staff with huge hearts! We are hardworking, passionate people who care about the survival of live arts. Our small team works tirelessly to bring as many theatrical opportunities to the community as we can. That’s why we depend on seasonal hires, interns, and volunteers to help us create unforgettable magic on the stage. If you are interested in helping or joining the HART team, head over to the “Get Involved” tab to learn about the many opportunities we have at HART

Candice Dickinson

Artistic Director


Candice Dickinson is a dedicated producer, director and actress with a passion for enhancing the performance arts and making a positive impact on the community. As the Artistic Director at HART, she wears many hats, including production manager, volunteer coordinator, and guiding the theater’s artistic direction. Candice’s love for the stage started at the tender age of five and has only grown since then.

She earned her BFA in Musical Theater and Professional Acting from East Carolina University, where she was trained in the Meisner Technique. After graduation, Candice spent time in New York City perfecting her craft and traveled across the country to act and direct. Before arriving at HART, she produced three original plays—two of which premiered in NYC—and directed numerous others.

Beyond directing and acting, Candice has sung in over 50 cabarets, and taught workshops and classes on acting, improvisation, directing, and musical theater performance. She’s also passionate about giving back and before arriving to HART raised over $20,000 for charities through her self-produced showcases. She hopes to raise much, much more for HART in the future.

Now settled in Cruso, North Carolina, with her husband and two sweet pups, Candice is thrilled to call HART Theatre her home. She looks forward to continuing to inspire and support the arts in Haywood County.

Click Here to Email Candice

Julie Kinter

Operations Manager


Julie Kinter’s journey with HART began as a volunteer in the box office, where her dedication quickly led to roles backstage, as a stage manager, and eventually as a director. Her talent and commitment earned her leading roles in productions such as Cabaret and Chicago. Julie has also served as HART’s Board President, establishing herself as one of the theater’s most diligent volunteers and staunch supporters.

In 2017, Julie officially joined the HART staff as the bookkeeper, and in 2022, she took on the significant role of Operations Manager. Prior to her full-time dedication to the arts, Julie had a successful career as a nurse. Her diverse background and unwavering commitment continue to be invaluable assets to the HART community.

Click Here to Email Julie


Shelia Sumpter

Founder of Kids at HART


Shelia Sumpter is a multifaceted creative powerhouse, renowned for her expertise in theatre, dance, and language arts. With degrees in Theatre, Dance, and Language Arts under her belt, Sumpter possesses a unique blend of artistic prowess and academic acumen.

Her passion for the stage and profound understanding of Shakespearean literature led her to pursue certification in Shakespeare Studies. Sumpter’s professional journey has seen her excel as a director, choreographer, actress, and dancer, captivating audiences with her unparalleled talent and vision.

Prior to her illustrious career in the arts, Sumpter served as the Entertainment Director for prominent entertainment parks, where she honed her skills in production management and artistic direction. Her innovative approach and unwavering dedication garnered widespread acclaim, setting new standards for excellence in the industry.

Sumpter’s dedication to education extends beyond the stage, as she has imparted her knowledge and expertise in various settings. She has taught at the university level, where she shared her wealth of experience with aspiring performers. Additionally, Sumpter has made a significant impact in private and community settings, mentoring individuals of all ages and backgrounds, fostering a deep appreciation for the arts.

Fueled by her desire to nurture young talent and foster a love for the arts, Sumpter founded Kids at HART for HART Theatre, a groundbreaking initiative aimed at providing children with opportunities to explore their creativity and develop their artistic potential. Through this platform, Sumpter continues to inspire and empower the next generation of performers, leaving an indelible mark on the world of theatre and beyond.

Shelia Sumpter’s remarkable contributions to the arts landscape stand as a testament to her unwavering passion, boundless creativity, and unwavering commitment to artistic excellence. Her legacy serves as an inspiration to aspiring artists everywhere, embodying the transformative power of art to uplift, educate, and unite communities.

Click Here to Email Shelia

Tom Bastek

Technical Director


Tom brings 30 years of experience in technical, marketing, and performance fields to HART. His technical experience spans event construction and production, theatrical lighting and sound management, and training, with a decade of work in Atlanta. He has also worked in radio and film production and even built tiny homes.

In marketing, Tom honed his skills in loyalty marketing at both the oldest and newest casinos on The Strip in Las Vegas, developing successful loyalty programs for both for-profit and non-profit organizations.

As a performer, Tom has a rich 30-year history in theater, film, orchestra, radio, stand-up, sketch, and improv comedy. Recently returning to full-length plays and musicals, he spent the last ten years teaching and performing improv comedy, as well as producing and directing one-act stage plays in the Atlanta area.

Tom is excited to bring his diverse talents to HART and contribute to the vibrant community.

Click Here to Email Tom

Nichole Sumpter

Graphic Designer


Nichole made her stage debut at the age of three in The Nutcracker and has since been deeply immersed in the world of theater. She has worked behind the scenes at HART for numerous main stage productions, including Footloose, All Shook Up, Billy Goat Gruff, Facility for Living, Say Goodnight Gracie, Stardust, The Foreigner, A Christmas Carol, and The Bridges of Madison County, as well as for the Academy at HART. Additionally, she has made her directing debut with the recent Studio Season hit: Constellations. 

Born into the arts world, Nichole has been a dedicated volunteer at HART for many years, where she also manages HART’s social media presence. Nichole is now delighted to be a part of the wonderful staff, leveraging her multifaceted talents to enrich the theater community.

Click Here to Email Nichole


Laura Fuller

Box Office Manager


Bio coming soon!