It’s been a weird, magical road to get to where we are and we’ve loved many of the steps! We thought we’d outline some of the big ones!

The idea

Casper attends Vanessa’s “Jane Eyre as a Sacred Text” class and says, “This is a great idea. We should do it with a book people actually like, like Harry Potter.”

First class

A group of students. There's a dog in the front.

Casper and Vanessa host their very first Harry Potter as a Sacred Text class at a community center in Cambridge, MA. Matt Potts suggests turning the idea into a podcast.

First drama

Vanessa, Casper, and Ariana sitting next to each other and smiling

Casper ter Kuile asks Ariana Nedelman if she will help produce the podcast without checking with Vanessa. Vanessa is mad at Casper but it turns out, she loves Ariana.

We hit our Kickstarter Goal

A screenshot of the Kickstarter page

We raise $3.5K to make the first season of our podcast a reality. We use that money to start a website, pay for podcast hosting, hire Tesily Diehl to design our logo, and hire Nick Bohl and Ivan Pyzow to compose music for the show.

First Episode

We release our first episode through the theme of commitment.

We get featured on the iTunes Homepage

A screenshot of the iTunes charts showing HPST

We watch our podcast climb the iTunes charts for a week!

First Live Show

Live show photo of Vanessa, Casper and Ariana on stage

We perform our first live show in the basement of The Middle East in Cambridge, MA.

First Tour

The front of The Old Church Concert Hall, with the HPST staff standing next to it

We go on a seven city tour to Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.

100 Episodes

We hit 100 episodes of the podcast!

First Pilgrimage

A bust of Virginia Woolf at the pilgrimage

Vanessa has the idea to take a group of pilgrims to England to read Virginia Woolf with Stephanie Paulsell.

The Common Room

A screenshot of the facebook group page

The start of our wonderful community facebook group.

Don't Be A Dursley

A graphic of Don't Be A Dursley with an illustration of the Dusleys

We raise over $64,000 as a community for RAICES (The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services). Harry and the Potters wrote a theme song for the campaign.

Mutual Aid

Our community connects to distribute art, support, and over $10k in mutual aid in response to COVID-19.

HPST Summer Camp

A colorful photo of the HPST staff wearing brightly-colored hats and looking like they're having fun

Stuck at home during lockdown, we put on a weeklong virtual event full of panels, workshops, scavenger hunts, and live shows.

Casper's Last Episode

A collage of a few photos from the goodbye episode recording.

We finish all 199 chapters of the series and bid farewell to Casper ter Kuile.

Matt's First Episode

Vanessa and Matt smiling at the camera

We re-start the books with our new host, Matt Potts.

AJ Jaramaz Joins the Team

A screenshot of a zoom, with Vanessa, AJ, and Matt

AJ takes over producing the show.

First Live Show with Matt

A live show photo of Vanessa, Ariana and Matt sitting on stage

We hit the stage for the first time since 2019 for Matt's first show.