BOONE—The Appalachian State University Department of Theatre and Dance is hosting a day of theatre workshops to celebrate the start of Theatre in Our Schools (TIOS) month in March. On Saturday, Feb. 27, from 12:30 to 9:30 p.m., high school students and teachers from across the region will gather in Chapell Wilson Hall for theatre workshop sessions that target a variety of interests and ability levels, taught by professionals with graduate level training in theatre.
The daylong celebration of the art form concludes in Valborg Theatre with an evening performance of Bruce Norris’ “Clybourne Park,” recipient of the Pulitzer Prize in Drama, Tony Award for Best Play, and England’s Olivier Award for Outstanding Play.
The all-inclusive cost is $10 per participant. For more information and to register, visit the Department of Theatre and Dance website at http://theatreanddance.appstate.edu. Teachers who have questions or want to bring groups of students should contact Gordon Hensley at 828-262-7521 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Theatre in Our Schools (TIOS) is a month-long national event reaching thousands of students, educators, actors, musicians, administrators and arts supporters to increase public awareness of the broad social impacts of youth theatre. TIOS month features performances, classroom activities, student playwriting and video contests, and regional conferences designed to spread the word about the powerful effects theatre has on youth development. The American Alliance for Theatre and Education and The Educational Theatre Association jointly promote TIOS.
The coordinator for Appalachian’s TIOS celebration is Professor Gordon Hensley, theatre education academic program director. Hensley said, “This is our fourth year providing this program for high school students who are interested in theatre. I’m particularly excited about this year’s expanded program, which includes an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at our production process, four interactive workshops led by theatre professionals, and a performance of ‘Clybourne Park.’”
A B.S. graduate of Appalachian with an MFA in theatre education from Arizona State University, Hensley said, “Our TIOS day is like no other program I’ve seen before. It has the feel of a one-day theatre festival; high school students and their teachers love it.”
According to a January 2016 article in American Theatre, it is likely that an estimated 50 million people attend one of more than 37,000 school theatre performances annually. TIOS is an opportunity to inform them and millions more that the pleasure they get from seeing a show on stage is just one of many benefits that school theatre brings to all involved.
Broadway star Kelli O’Hara is national spokesperson for the TIOS campaign. Winner of a 2015 Tony Award for her work in “The King and I,” O’Hara will be actively promoting TIOS. She said, “Education is the most essential tool we can use in order to lead a full and passionate life. Fortunately, I was given a great arts education where my dream was supported and shaped by a drama teacher who taught me what it meant to love art, to embrace differences, to break down walls of insecurity, and to grow as an actress and as a person.”
Kevin Warner, chair of Appalachian’s Department of Theatre and Dance, said, “The theatre education and outreach components of our department serve an important role in providing teachers and students in the region with additional skills with which to both teach and experience the art of theatre.” A lifelong educator and the former program director for North Carolina’s A+ Schools Program, Warner said he believes that, “Theatre education reminds all of us of the power of the arts to transform individual lives and whole communities through the development of critical thinking and self-expression, and the thoughtful exploration of a multitude of issues through the merging of movement, literature, voice and design.”
One teacher attending Appalachian’s event is Allison Shaw, theatre arts instructor at Highland School of Technology in Gaston County, who said, “My first time attending TIOS at App State, I brought two students with me – one who had been doing theatre since she was born and another who had only taken a theatre arts class. They both had an exceptional time and it was a great experience for both of them to take classes led by college-level instructors.” Already registered for the upcoming event, Shaw said, “I cannot wait to bring more students to TIOS this year, and hope that this event inspires them and nurtures their passion for the incredible art of theatre.”
Hensley stresses that you do not have to be a “theatre person” to attend. Teachers may arrange for professional development or continuing education credits with prior approval from their local educational agencies. The event is nearing capacity, so participants are advised to register soon.
Underwriting for the event is provided by the Department of Theatre and Dance, along with support from the College of Fine and Applied Arts.
About Chappell Wilson Hall and Valborg Theatre
Chapell Wilson Hall and Valborg Theatre are located on campus on Howard Street in Boone. The theatre entrance faces the back of the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts on King Street. Parking for this event is available free of charge on the weekend in faculty/staff lots and in the College Street parking deck near Belk Library and Information Commons.
About the Department of Theatre and Dance
The Department of Theatre and Dance is housed in the College of Fine and Applied Arts. Its mission is to provide liberal arts educational opportunities including B.A. degrees in dance studies and theatre arts. The department also values the opportunity to offer coursework for integrated learning through the arts to the general university student population. Vital to the support of this mission is a dynamic co-curricular production program that provides exemplary theatre and dance experiences to departmental students, the university community and the region. The departmental philosophy is to support the university’s liberal arts environment through a balanced and integrated emphasis on teaching, creative activity, scholarship and service.
About Appalachian State University
As the premier, public undergraduate institution in the state of North Carolina, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The Appalachian Experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and to embrace diversity and difference. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System. Appalachian enrolls more than 19,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.
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