Hilsabeck, a native of Spencer, has been involved in SCT since he was nine years old. He performed in a number of children's theatre performances, including Winnie the Pooh, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Tom Sawyer.
Later, he would direct two plays for SCT, including Arsenic and Old Lace.
After graduating high school, Hilsabeck moved up to St. Peter's, Minn., to attend college at Gustavus Adolphus College.
He also spent a year in New Canaan, Conn., working at a performing arts school, before returning to Spirit Lake to participate in theatre therapy.
After leaving Spencer, Hilsabeck admitted that he never saw himself returning to the area. But his time in the cities helped him understand the value of small town theatre.
"There's something special about small towns," Hilsabeck said. "This area is home, and I love the people and the possibilities that come with small town theatre."
Hilsabeck's position at SCT was created after Cara Gerlock stepped down and Connie Goeken moved to a part-time position, as business manager.
In looking at the future of SCT, Hilsabeck said that there's nothing he wants to change drastically. Instead, he'll work to expand programs already established and recently begun.
"There are so many things going right, and nothing needs to be 'fixed'," Hilsabeck said. "I'm excited to take the programming here and expand on that, creating new work and even bringing in professionals from the cities to do workshops."
One part of SCT that Hilsabeck would like to grow is the children's theatre program, where he got his start years ago.
"SCT has a really great tradition of mainstage and children's theatre work. It's important and central to the theatre."
Additionally, Hilsabeck would like to work more with the Small Change Theatre, the second-season production that SCT began this past year.
"I'd like it to become permanent and vital," he said.
At the core of his work, however, will be maintaining the foundations of SCT.
"It's got a volunteer base that no other community has," Hilsabeck said. "It's a good place to come home to."