Hanson native Alicyn Packard is a hard-working actress in Los Angeles. But unless you know her voice, you may not recognize her.
Packard, a member of Whitman-Hanson Regional High School class of 1998, lends hers to characters on cartoon series like “The Tom & Jerry Show,” “Poppy Cat,” and “Space Racers.” She’s also the voice of the Ovation Network, for which she earned a nomination for the 2014 Voice Arts Awards in the Outstanding National Promo Category.
She often returns home to see family; her mother lives in Hanson, father in Duxbury, and sister in Brockton. She traces her love of performing to her roots.
“I was cast as Gretel in the first grade at Maquan Elementary School,” Packard, who has also performed at The Company Theatre in Norwell, said by phone. “Two of my biggest influences were Paula Sweeney, my first-grade teacher, and Mary Lewis, my drama teacher.”
Packard studied broadcast journalism at Emerson College because, she said, “I wanted to tell people’s stories. I wanted to be like Katie Couric – until I realized she’d get up at 4 a.m. for work.”
Her sense of humor comes in handy; Packard also does stand-up comedy, and has a YouTube site where she creates quirky skits. She’s also written an episode of “Poppy Cat” that will air this year.
She loves cartoon work because “there’s some kind of learning with each show — it’s great to share a positive message with the youngest members of society,” she said. “Everything is fun and cute and happy.”
She loves the challenge of “creating everything from your memory. You’re still acting, but you generate everything from yourself to embody the characters.”
She moved to LA in 2003, fresh out of college. “My girlfriends and I had cardboard boxes for tables, but we were so happy we wanted to kiss the ground,” she said with a laugh. “We were living the dream while we waited tables.”
She got to work on her first animated series in 2008 and hasn’t looked back.
“I never want to lose that sense of play and wonder,” she said of her motivation. “If not for that, I wouldn’t have taken the risk. I think, what gumption it took to make a career out of doing what I love — which is playing for a living.”
Paul E. Kandarian can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.