Lights. Camera. Action.
Macklanburg Playhouse was filled with more than 90 energized high school students today as they rotated through three 20-minute workshops on how to dance, sing and design sets.
This is the fourth year that Stephens College has hosted these workshops where attendees meet Stephens faculty, students and guest artists. The high school students also received a sneak peak of scenes from the current musical, “Anything Goes,” with performances by some of the main characters. Sicily Mathenia, who plays the character Reno, performed the song “I Get A Kick Out of You” for the high schoolers.
Dr. Gail Humphries Mardirosian, dean of the School of Creative and Performing Arts at Stephens College, said these workshops started as an experiment to give high schoolers a sense of the different components that go into a production and the different genres from classical acting to song and dance.
“These students get to own what is authentic and experience artistry in all forms. They get a sense of interaction with college students and faculty and that’s the most beneficial component,” said Mardirosian. “I get to provide leadership and facilitate our mission for the artists of tomorrow who become the artists of today.”
There were three different workshops led by Stephens faculty and students: a dance workshop led by the guest artist Carol Schuberg, a vocal workshop led by Pamela Ellsworth-Smith and Tom Andes, and a design workshop led by Ken George, Sarah Aker and Julie Douglass. Each workshop allowed the students to get a feel of how “Anything Goes” was put together. They even learned a dance number.
“Even if they’re not an actor or actress, there’s still a place for them to have a place here,” said Robin Steinhaus, Hickman High School choir director and musical theatre director.
Steinhaus said the Hickman tech team is all student-run and these workshops give them the opportunity to learn from professionals and ask them any questions they might have. Steinhaus has been teaching at Hickman for 20 years and says they’ve been attending Stephens workshops every year since it started.
“It’s great for students who want to do this professionally but also for students who might not even be interested in the arts. It gives them the opportunity to interact with people at a collegiate level,” Steinhaus said.
The student coordinator for the Dean’s Advisory Council, Delainey Phillips, said, “The amount of high school students we have here is like the amount of students we have in our classes, so it gives them an idea of what school is like at Stephens.”
Mardirosian said Stephens uses the apprentice learning model of learning by doing, and, she said, the workshops give the students a unique opportunity to experience that.