Sarah Shamblin knows how to have fun.
By Amy Larson
Photography by James Max
Sarah Shamblin Foster uses both sides of her brain equally. “Verified by the U.S. Air Force Academy, thank you very much,” Shamblin laughs, explaining they tested and retested her as a teenager, not believing the results.
With vague dreams of becoming a Supreme Court Justice, Shamblin studied pre-law “for a minute” before she accepted that one doesn’t exit law school and go straight to the Supreme Court bench. Disappointed, the other side of her brain took over, leading her wandering spirit away from school and toward adventure.
Without knowing a soul, and minus a job or place to live, Shamblin packed up and moved to Boise, the city her father had spoken of fondly since he’d visited on business many years before.
“I was too young and dumb to think it wouldn’t work out,” she says, “So it did.”
Shamblin soon made new friends and acquaintances at bars and shows. Remarking on all of her connections during a night out, Shamblin’s visiting brother told her, “You know so many people, you could consult!”
She replied, “I’m a college dropout who’s had a bunch of weird jobs. Who would want to consult with me?”
It got the wheels turning, though, even more so when she found herself dancing, poorly, to loud techno music in friend (and now husband) Daniel Foster’s North End kitchen. Shamblin shouted to Foster that there ought to be a contest that values enthusiasm over talent. The moment spurred Shamblin’s idea for a Bad Dancing contest.
That thought led to another. Longtime friend and bartender, Jeremy Aevermann, along his wife Elizabeth, now owned Boise’s Liquid, and Solid. Shamblin took her show idea to Jeremy who said, “Sure!”
And just like that, Boise’s Best Bad Dancer was born. Shamblin called her new business venture With an H Productions, for the “Sarah with an H” nickname she’d had since her early years in Boise. The right-brained/left-brained wonder enjoyed absolutely everything about that first show.
Now the evil genius behind many productions, including last summer’s Boise’s Funniest Person (co-produced with Jen Adams), Shamblin creates fun, interactive shows where people can laugh and unwind.
“I just happen to have found a tiny little niche for joyfully exploiting my friends and neighbors for fun.
And, maybe someday, for profit,” she explains.
Her next project is the much-anticipated Best Bad Dancer III, with an even larger cash award, making it just that much more enticing for contestants to throw themselves upon the altar of silliness. She also has organized the hilarious-sounding Court of Minor Grievances, akin to “Judge Judy.”
Real people with real issues will get the opportunity to testify and be cross-examined, validated, and vindicated before a court of their peers, live and onstage.
Shamblin is happy with the way things have turned out so far.
“I’m glad I took this course,” she says, “I’m using the skills I have, working with entertainers, and my own ideas. I never get bored.”
For more information visit WithAnH Productions at withanh.org.