The Children’s Academy Theatre of Tennessee has finished its first semester with a real bang! Its premiere production of Honey Nut Mario, written by and starring acting students in the YEAH! acting class, played to a full house on Friday night, November 18, 2011, complete with on stage antics, perfect stage management, professional lighting and sound effects, and just a touch of magic! Everybody went away smiling, knowing we had worked very hard and had pulled it off—just in the nick of time—as always in the theatre, right?!? Click here to download a copy of the program.
We welcomed a new working member to our professional teaching staff, and her name is Sarah McDaniel. She is a Youth Theatre major at MTSU, and she too showed up just in the nick of time and volunteered to help design and build our set! She worked so well with the students, made such great decisions in execution of the students’ designs, and made such a valuable contribution to our production. And after all that, she’s sure: she really does want to work with kids! So we have done her a great service as well! We have allowed her to practice what she studies and confirm for herself what she thought she already knew. That is YEAH! at its very best….serving students and volunteers and staff alike!
The CATT has collaborated with Youth Speaks Nashville and the Linebaugh Library Teen Board to host a spoken word workshop and competition—known in the business as a “Slam!”—and there was some beautiful poetry written and very moving presentations by our students. This is such a powerful art form and we are so thrilled to be able to work with Youth Speaks Nashville. Watch for them–they will be back in the spring for another workshop and slam, with the support of a grant from the Tennessee Arts Commission.
The CATT has also collaborated with Mitchell Neilson Elementary School’s After School programming to start a new drama club for 5th and 6th graders. Drama Club leader Molly Blankenship reports that she is already seeing progress in her students….shy students coming out of their shells, “disinterested” students becoming engaged, and a lot of enthusiastic participation in her theatre and improv games.
The centerpiece of the whole semester was the gala fundraising event, The Zombie Prom, hosted by YEAH! and The CATT at UnCorked on the Square, complete with great food, fun entertainment, costume contests and the election of the prom Queen and King! The night was capped off with dancing to the awesome music of the 1960’s and the 1970’s presented by YEAH!’s very own Snake Face and the River Spirits! It was an amazing night and a good time was had by all! Thank you so much to our sponsors, Pinnacle Bank and Regions Bank, as well as our board members and staff, The Richard Siegel Foundation, and the Tennessee Arts Commission for their unflagging support of our programming.
So what happens next?
- Watch for Improv Comedy workshops in both Murfreesboro and Nashville taught by Joe Blankenship, and the formation of our very own improv troupe, “Saturday Afternoon Live!”
- Watch for Competition Speech and Drama lessons taught by Pat Blankenship for serious acting students who want the opportunity to stretch themselves by competing with other dedicated thespians from other schools.
- Watch for more Youth Speaks Nashville Spoken Word!
- Watch for more Drama Clubs in the Murfreesboro City Schools!
- Watch for announcements about a summer theatre camp and a community wide summer theatrical production!
- Watch for announcements about other original plays written for children by local playwrights with grant funds provided by the Tennessee Arts Commission and the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee.
As we come to an end of this first semester, we are already looking forward to next semester and all of 2012….there are so many ways to serve the students of this community, and theatre arts are so valuable in so many ways. Your support, your creating buzz for our programming, your donations and sponsorships, all create more and more opportunities for our community’s youth. Please remember us as we approach the end of the year….surely some of us still need a charitable tax deduction! YEAH! and the CATT will be happy to oblige!