Patapsco to host Middle School Theatre Festival
Wednesday, 24 April 2013 10:58

Theatre students offer workshops on acting

by Nicole Rodman

    Patapsco High School and Center for the Arts theatre chairperson Kelly Williams Carlson first got the idea for a Middle School Theatre Festival while attending a high school theatre festival earlier this year.
    Watching her Patapsco students participate in workshops with other Maryland high schoolers, Carlson began to wonder if a similar event could be held for younger students.
    With this spark of inspiration — and a lot of hard work — the First Annual Middle School Theatre Festival at Patapsco High School was born.
    Set for this Saturday, April 27, the event will feature workshops and a special performance for middle school students from across the area.
    According to Carlson, who spoke with The Eagle last week, the event will offer an opportunity for younger students to learn more about theatre in high school and beyond.
    “Most middle schools do not offer theatre classes during the school day, and several middle schools do not have drama clubs or productions,” she explained.
    She added, “For students who may not have accessibility to these programs, we wanted to offer opportunities to learn what theatre is about.”

The workshops will be held at Patapsco High School’s Black Box Theatre from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.  All middle school students are welcome.
    Workshops will be taught by students in Patapsco’s International Thespian Honor Society.
    Each middle school attendee will be able to participate in workshops on a variety of topics, including  improvisation, musical theatre, audition techniques, Shakespeare, puppet making and lighting design/properties design.
    Workshops will be available both for beginners and those students with some previous acting experience.
    For Carlson, the program is a good way for older students to reach out to younger students who may be interested in pursuing theatre in high school.
    “As an honor society, part of our mission is to educate and advocate for theatre,” she explained, noting, “This is an excellent way for our high school students to model and demonstrate the values of theatre to a younger generation.”
    After the workshops end at 1 p.m., students who choose to stay will be able to have lunch and see Patapsco’s latest production, These Shining Lives.
    Written by American playwright Melanie Marnich, These Shining Lives is set in the 1920s and tells the story of poor workplace conditions for women working during the era.
    While the workshops are free, students who stay for lunch and the play will be charged a discounted fee of $3 for the meal and performance.
    Lunch will be held from 1 to 2 p.m. and the performance will be held from 2 to 4:30 p.m.
    Carlson expects the event to be beneficial to not only the middle school attendees but to her Patapsco students as well.
    As she explained, “The event allows our high school students the opportunity to educate and advocate for theatre directly with the next generation.         She added, “It allows the students the opportunity to be leaders and to pass on the knowledge they have gained to others.”
    While middle school participants will be accepted on the day of the event, Carlson encourages students or parents to RSVP by Friday, April 26, by emailing or calling 410-887-7060, ext. 269.
    The event will be held at the Black Box Theatre at Patapsco High School and Center for the Arts, 8100 Wise Ave.
    Those attending the event should use the school’s west entrance on Langport Avenue and Wise Avenue.