Born to an ex­dancer and a hobby musician, it is no surprise that Grant Richards has a passion for the performing arts that has sustained him since a very young age (when he started studying piano, dance and theater) all the way to now as he pursues a profession in theater. The 2013 Belfast Area High School grad spent his two-week vacation time to choreograph Cold Comfort Theater’s production of ​“Godspell​,” which will open Aug. 13 at First Baptist Church.

Richards grew up in Belfast and performed in Belfast Area High School productions under the direction of John Cameron. In the summer of 2012, Richards first worked under Aynne Ames (current artistic director of Cold Comfort Theater) in the musical “Brigadoon,” performed outdoors at Steamboat Landing Park. Ames suggested the idea to the Belfast Maskers, for whom she served as artistic director for 12 years, to start performing at the outdoor venue back in 2007.

“They thought the idea was crazy then, but now everyone’s trying to nail down time to perform outside. The parks are full of the arts,” she said.

Richards attends the competitive Department of Theatre and Dance at Nazareth College, working towards a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre with a minor in Dance. Over the past few years, he has had the opportunity to work with performance professionals such as Ames, Brett Smock, Corinne Aquilina, Keith Robinson, Matt Ames, etc. Some of his recent projects include King Duncan in​ “Macbeth,”​directed by Matt Ames; announcer/dancer in ​“Chicago​,” directed by Brynn Lucas; the ​International tour of “​Fuji​,” directed by Candide Carrasco​; ​Billy Lawlor in “4​2nd Street” directed by Aynne Ames;  Lieutenant Wright in ​“The Secret Garden​,” directed by Lindsay Korth; Justin (principle) in Mark J. Parker's concept film “​STICKS”; ​and Heather Roffe's Modern Dance Company in Rochester, N.Y.

This summer, Richards is a performer in Woodstock Playhouse’s 2015 full summer season, opening as Melchior in ​“Spring Awakening.” In November, he will play the title role of ​“Floyd Collins​” at Nazareth. He hopes to inspire people to support the arts in Belfast and in education.

“They are a human way of making life more beautiful. Practicing performing arts is a way to make your soul and the souls around you grow and be affected. Without art, there is no emotion in our lives,” he said.

To follow Richard’s career, visit grant­richards.weebly.com and follow him on social media @grantjrichards. For more information about Cold Comfort Theater’s upcoming season, visit ColdComfortTheater.com​ or the troupe’s Facebook page.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.