Lower Shore Performing Arts Company facilitated the debut of a Theater Academy in Somerset County for Eastern Shore students ages five to thirteen. Theater Academy provides an enriching yet fun experience regarding theatrical arts. During the two-week session, students learn all aspects of stage performance including character development, stage movement, choreography, vocal instruction, costume/set design, play structure, and improvisation. We are also fortunate to have NASA sponsored STEAM activities. The Theater Academy culminates with a musical performance adapted by Gwendolyn Skeens, based on the book The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. The performance of The Phantom Tollbooth was held at Somerset County's own Washington Academy and High School (WAHS) in Princess Anne, Maryland on Friday, July 22nd at 6pm. In addition to the regular performance on Friday, Theater Academy students performed on Thursday, July 21st for Migrant students of Somerset County.
The Theater Academy hosted numerous guest speakers featuring Leah Rantz from 93.5 The Beach, local playwright Takeisha Jackson, local actors Robert Forester and Richard Thomas, psychologist Lynn Duffy, local artist Christy Spurlock and Disney International vocalist Sofi Tyler.
Many local professionals have donated their time to make this program a success. Artistic director Kathryn Redden, along with Melodi Power, Greenwood Elementary's Media Specialist initiated and organized the academy. Crisfield Academy and High School's (CAHS) musical theater educator and director of bands, Heather McHenry teamed up with CAHS and Washington Academy and High School's (WAHS) choral director, Andrew Widger to manage and conduct students with stage/musical performance skills and facilitate the culminating production as directors. Lower Shore YMCA youth instructor Aaron Pennell Adkins volunteered her skills regarding acting, set design, and photography. Rhonda Dausman, advisor at Bridgeway Homeschool Academy provided costume and set design. Woodson Elementary's music teacher Korinne Jones served as choreographer for the academy. Joyce Urbanski, Pocomoke Middle School teacher, donated her talents with set design. Accomack County's music educator, Matt Gillis along with Boone's Tunes vocal performance and piano teacher, Susan Upton provided their talents to students as well. Along with Eastern Shore Madrigals, JM Tawes Career and Technology Center's educator John "Buddy" Ward donated sound/audio expertise and equipment. The Lower Shore Arts Company is providing this educational opportunity to strengthen appreciation of the live theatrical arts to students and local professionals on the shore.