Rutherford County Schools spotlight drama programs

posted Nov 28, 2017, 4:51 PM by Donald Fann

Keith Ryan Carthwright, Rutherford County SchoolsPublished 2:02 p.m. CT Oct. 31, 2017 | Updated 2:03 p.m. CT Oct. 31, 2017
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(Photo: Rutherford County Schools)

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Later this week, Rutherford County Schools will spotlight its renowned student-drama programs through a free public performance. 

Stewarts Creek senior Will Welch will be one of the students showcasing his talent and passion for the stage.

He has been in and around theater productions since he was six years old.

His father was a community actor and the younger Welch would run lines and then hand out pamphlets the night of a performance.

“Back then I was cute so they would be happy to see me,” joked Will, adding, “I thought it was so amazing that you were entertaining people. People were coming to see my dad perform as a character. I thought it was incredible that an entire audience could sit quietly.”

Will’s first role was as Peter Pan when he was 12.

He was also pushed well beyond his comfort zone. Acting, as a creative art form, isn’t always comfortable.

That’s as much an attraction for someone like Welch as the response from the audience.

“I’m always pushing my comfort zone a little farther than I was ready,” explained Welch, “and it brought me out of it completely, so I’m always ready to put my hat in the ring. When the time comes around for the all-district theater event, I’m going to be extremely excited and just have a lot of fun and learn more than I’m really able to comprehend in the moment.”

For the first time ever, Rutherford County Schools is hosting what is known as the “Fine Arts Honors Series,” an effort to bring recognition and awareness of the many accomplished fine arts programs within the schools.

The first of four events will be this week’s RCS All-County Theatre Showcase on Nov. 2. The event, which is free and open to the public, will be held in the theater at Stewarts Creek High School beginning at 7 p.m.

“Theater is the trickiest one,” RCS Fine Arts Coordinator Lindsay Halford said. “You won’t find an all-district theater (performance) in any of the surrounding districts.”

It’s a trailblazing performance of sorts.

“Nobody knows what it’s going to look like until it goes up,” Stewarts Creek theater director David Fann added.

There are currently 124 students registered set to audition Wednesday evening from 5-8 p.m. during the college fair.

Some are registered to audition as a solo act and others as a group, while some are auditioning for tech positions during the performance. The auditions will be judged by representatives from theater departments at Middle Tennessee State University, Austin Peay State University, Lipscomb University and the University of Memphis.

Results and selections will be announced Thursday morning when students arrive for a full day of workshops.

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“We are committed to making sure that every school is represented in the performance,” said Halford, who explained how the smaller performances will be assembled as a prism performance. “Things are just kind of going to pop.”

“They’re excited,” Fann said of the students and theater instructors from throughout Rutherford County, “but there’s a little bit of we’re-not-sure-what-this-is-yet.”

The showcase, which will be cast and fully produced in a single day, will feature a series of monologues and small groups performing 2-5 minute selections that will take place at various locations on the stage.

To cap the performance, Welch and other Stewarts Creek students will act in a one-act performance of “Selkie, but will also be given the opportunity to audition for the college representatives who are judging.

“It gives the audience a little more of a complete performance,” Fann said of the one-act showcase, which he will direct.

Future events in the Fine Arts Honors Series include the Rutherford County Choral Festival in January, RCS All-County Band Concert in February and the RCS All-County Art Showcase in March.

“It’s our first year,” Halford said. “I’ve had to remind myself this is iteration one. It will evolve and get better. We’re pioneering it.

“We put together a really good event this year and, of course, we’ll look to improve and expand next year.”

Theater Students Shine at Southeastern Theater Conference

posted Mar 8, 2017, 6:15 AM by Donald Fann


Theater Students at SETC
Seven students received 290 callbacks from Universities and theater companies
Each year during the first week of March, thespians (fancy word for theater lovers and professionals) emerge from across the country to the Southeastern Theater Conference (SETC), held this year in Lexington, KY.  
 
Seven students from Stewarts Creek attended the conference, attending workshops, watching performances, networking, and, perhaps most importantly, auditioning for panels of judges from University theater departments and theater companies from around the nation.  Students would show a portfolio of technical work done (set/light design, directing experience, etc) and/or audition live with monologues and songs for hundreds of interested listeners.
 
"Normally, a student is lucky to get 2-3 callbacks," said Misty Beechum, parent of junior William Welch, who attended SETC this year.  "These kids received 290 callbacks between the 7 of them!  The judges were so impressed with their talent level and preparation!"
 
The students hope to leverage the professional connections and feedback from the Conference into scholarship auditions and future work.  This is the second year students from Stewarts Creek have attended the Conference.
 
Pictured left to right are: Mr. Fann (theater arts teacher), Ivy Weatherill (senior), William Welch (junior), Mrs. Seage (theater arts teacher), Bernice Leveque (senior), Corrine Fann (junior), Tristin Hicks (senior), Carli Young (senior), Joyce Hansen (junior)

Full-Blooded Creek

posted Feb 5, 2017, 2:14 PM by Donald Fann

 SCHS, Class of 2017 First four-year graduating class reflects on experience of attending Rutherford County’s newest high school

February 1, 2017

By KEITH RYAN CARTWRIGHT
Rutherford County Schools

On the final offensive play of the 2016 season, Drew Harris and Gavin White walked into the huddle, smiled and gave each of their Red Hawk teammates a hug.

For the seniors, it was the realization of a four-year goal.

It was also the shared culmination of a high school football career that provided them with important life-lessons they’ll take with them when they graduate from Stewarts Creek High School in May.

They learned the value of hard work.

They learned what it meant to be one team.

They trailed 41-7 and eventually lost to Hillsboro High School in a Division I Class 5A football tournament for the Tennessee Secondary Schools Athletic Association. When they broke the huddle and stepped up to the line of scrimmage – Harris plays right guard, while White is the left guard – it wasn’t about winning or losing.

“It was like, ‘This is it guys,’” White recalled. “We bonded in that moment. We weren’t going to win, but it was a special moment.”

“We did it,” added Harris. “We did what we set out to do.”

In four years, they went from being a one-win team to making the Playoffs and together as a team they helped to change the attitude of an entire school.

That last huddle – 11 boys coming together as young men – was a microcosm of the past four years at Stewarts Creek, and, as the first graduating class to attend the school all four years, they proudly refer to themselves as “full-blooded Creek.” 

# # #

Stewarts Creek High School opened in the fall of 2013.

The student body was originally a collection of students who would have otherwise attended Smyrna, LaVergne and Blackman High Schools. Stewarts Creek is located in Smyrna and completes a campus that also includes an elementary and middle school.

Now in its fourth year, Stewarts Creek has created its own students-first attitude.

In addition to the traditional academic studies – math, science, social studies, English and foreign languages – the school also boasts a robust fine arts program as well as an impressive career and technical education department.

Students can choose from pathways that include everything from athletic training, health science and dental science to agriculture and animal science as well as culinary arts, auto collision repair and cosmetology.

Dr. Clark Harrell, who was previously an assistant principal at nearby Blackman before being named principal at Stewarts Creek prior to the school’s opening, recently arranged for 11 “full-blooded Creek” seniors – Tucker Darden, Brent Liles, Alexis Seilkop, Lydia Farthing, Darwin Visan, Corey Perkins, Katie Bain, Jared Martin, Faith Marable, White and Harris – to take part in an hour-long roundtable discussion.

What makes your school unique?

Tucker Darden: We’re all a family.

Brent Liles: We bring the community together. We have the elementary and middle school and we have the high school right here. You bring in all of those plus the family and just all the people who see what’s going on here and they want to be a part of that, and I think it’s cool to see the community come out to be part of what we have to offer.

My firsthand experience with Stewarts Creek was a play this past fall and it felt like everyone was either involved or came out in support of it. You’re shaking your head yes. Are you part of the drama department?

Alexis Seilkop: I’m not, but I can feel what you feel.

Drew Harris: Our director Mr. (Donald) Fann has this way of including everyone. Even from the schools across the street. He’ll pull in kids from the middle school and elementary school. They can participate and look forward to that and look forward to being a big part of these things in the future.

Is there a sense of pride whenever you invite the public in and showcase your school?

Lydia Farthing: It’s interesting that this school – where others might not – fine arts and the drama department are just as important as sports. We look forward to coming in and seeing all the hard work they do.

Darwin Visan: We have a great facility with so many different rooms. You have the auto shop, a broadcasting studio. We even have an animal department, where you can groom dogs.

Corey Perkins: Along with what Lydia said, we really feed off of each other. Whether it’s a sport or a fine art or any program that is excelling, we’re all proud and in return we all desire to be the best in our own program. We came together all from different backgrounds and now we are full-blooded Creek.

What does it mean to be full-blooded Creek?

Harris: I had just moved here so it was nice to have everybody being new. … It presented a lot of opportunities and all those cliques you would find in middle school, they just basically all disappeared and people were allowed to become friends with so many other people.

Gavin White: I was homeschooled until ninth grade, so coming from that background and not knowing anybody, the school opened up and everybody in this room really brought me in … as if I was with them all the through elementary school. We’re a family here. It’s not like we’re just going to school to go to school, but we actually care about one another … and how we’re doing and how we’re going to succeed in life.

Katie Bain: We all had mixed emotions about coming to … a brand new school and there was nothing to live up to so we were all pretty nervous, but over the past four years I’ve definitely realized being at a new school is the best thing that could have happened. We had a chance to make history. We had a chance to make things the way we want them to be and not have to conform to what was there before us so we were able to create our own traditions.

Talk about those traditions.

Liles: We are one team.

Jared Martin: Kind of going off what Brent said, we try to include everyone and we try to make everyone feel like they’re a part. For example, last year, we had a group of 30 students leave school early to come watch the cross country team race. … Everybody just feels like they’re bringing something to the table.

Farthing: Another tradition is that it’s very student-led. There’s a lot of student participation.

Harris: Speaking about the theater department and it being student-led, we are one of the only programs that has students doing everything. Backstage stage managing or upstairs running the lights, students are doing everything besides the directing and even this fall we had a student direct a production. Seeing the practicality of that play out, it helps everyone look forward to the future. It’s a practical way of showing people what they could be doing in a job setting.

What do you want to talk about?

Darden: I’d like to talk about all the opportunities we have at this school starting with college prep to career prep. We have so many opportunities with clubs and CTE courses and it prepares (us) for real life. It’s not just a high school learning curriculum. You can learn how to go fix a car. You can go learn how to fix a computer. You can go learn how to groom a dog. If that’s what you want to do in life then you’re going to learn how to do that in high school.

You mentioned the vet program and the auto shop. There’s also a pre-dental program. How thankful are you for CTE opportunities like that?

White: I’m going through the medical pathway so this will be my fourth year going to a medical classroom, and it’s really connected me to the medical field and how much I do want to go into it. It showed me from the basics to the class I’m in now learning how to tape ankles (like an) athletic trainer. There are other classes you can take like the dental pathway and you can graduate and become a dental assistant and that’s a decent paying job.

Perkins: I went into my pathway freshmen year thinking I wanted to be in the medical field, but maybe without going into that pathway I would have never learned that I don’t want to go into the medical field. … You can see what you want to do, but you can also see what you don’t want to do.

Faith Marable: I came from a lot of different schools and a lot of these opportunities I never had. … I’m in choir and I could sing, but my voice hadn’t really developed. … I’m really thankful for Dr. (Brian) Russell, my choir teacher, and he’s helped my voice develop.

We’ve talked a lot about courses and pathways, but what about your instructors?

Darden: My mom, (Teresa Darden), is a teacher here. … The time and commitment she puts into her students is incredible. When she’s at home she’s committed to her cheer team or her students. We maybe get a weekend a month that we actually get to hang out and do stuff. I can make a movie about her. She’s so involved.

Martin: This morning I actually met with Tucker (Darden’s) mom for extra help. Normally I would just go to the classroom, but she had bus duty so she was in the cafeteria and she still offered to give me extra help.

Bain: His mom is just one example of a teacher who goes above and beyond to help us. Looking back on my high school years, so many teachers – not just teachers, but other faculty members like Dr. Harrell and Ms. Kristy (Smith) in the front office – they’ve all had such an influence on my life because of how much they care and how much time and effort they put into not just our education but getting to know us as people and actually caring about teaching us life lessons.

Darden: One person who has influenced all of us is Dr. Harrell. He’s our principal first and foremost, but he’s also our friend. Anything we need we can come and talk to him. He was in the Air Force and he was the chaplain of a church so he always has something good to say and he always has the right words.

Farthing: He’s not afraid to show his humility.

Perkins: When he walked in [the conference room prior to the roundtable discussion, which he did not take part in], he said you can say anything. He said, ‘Just don’t say anything about me.’ That shows the humility he has. Nothing is about him. Everything is about us.

Bain: Last year, the girl’s soccer team made it to the district semi-finals for the first time, and Dr. Harrell had a parade. He had the whole school in the hallways and he led the soccer team through the hallways and everyone cheered.

Perkins: As a man, we can all agree he’s one the greatest role models we can have. Trickling down from that, you have a bunch of teachers and faculty, who along with him, are our role models.

White: This staff is very relatable. Students make mistakes. Teachers make mistakes. We all go through things.

Marable: What really motivated me was my ACT score. … My junior year I had a 17 and I was not really happy with this score. My goal was 21 or higher, so I went to Coach (Todd) Harris and he helped me and motivated me to keep trying. … I took it again in September and I still made a 17, and I said I was going to keep striving for it. Then I took it in October … and I made a 26. When I told him that, he hugged me and it was truly inspiring.

Farthing: There was a time last year I was going through a lot of stuff and I busted out in tears during third period. My teacher, at the time, was like, ‘What’s going on?’ I said, ‘I just need to go to the bathroom’ and I ended up actually going to Ms. (Morgan) Evans’ class and talking with her. She helped me out a lot. I kind of call her my mom at school because she is. … She’s always there for me and I appreciate that.

Liles: There was a student last semester, who wasn’t coming to school that much and I’m friends with him. Mr. (Bart) Dement was like, ‘I want you to call him every morning and tell him to come to school.’ Ever since then, I call him every morning. … I just think that Mr. Dement, by using me, shows he cares about the other student. He’s not the only one here who cares about students like that.

Seilkop: It’s easy to take for granted how much they do for us because we don’t always think about all the work they’re doing. They’re doing all they can for us and it really means a lot to us that they would give so much.

Harris: They want every student to have an opportunity to be successful.

Clayton Ledford, Stewarts Creek graduation coach: One common question we ask our valedictorians is what you’ll remember most about your journey from freshmen to seniors?

Harris: Something that I’ll definitely remember is the culture that we created. Coming in here as freshmen, I don’t think any of us saw what we were capable of. … We created a culture of positivity and that’s what I’m going to remember — the friendships.

Farthing: I’m going to remember freshmen year when they told us what the motto of this school was – One Team. I remember laughing so hard at that because I just didn’t really get it. We all came from different schools … but as years went on we’re all one team. It doesn’t matter what your past was or what school you came from, we’re all in this together.

Perkins: One thing our baseball coach, Coach (Michael) Bartlett, has always stressed to us is that years from now you’re not going to remember the homerun you hit, you’re not going to remember going to state, you’re going to remember the relationships and the people you were with. I’m starting to see that more and more. … I can truly say that I will never forget the relationships that I formed here. Whether that be with the principal, the teachers, the students, and I’ll more than likely keep those relationships forever.

High school is that time when you grow up and start to become who you’re really going to be as people. Do you feel like you’ve grown up in that way?

Bain: I feel like over these past four years I really found who I am and who I want to be. Everything around me and everything I’ve learned here has inspired me to be the best that I can be.

Seilkop: When we all come in as freshmen it’s hard to not care what people think about you. You’re always thinking, ‘What is this person going to say about me if I do this?’

Martin: We have a core group from the cross country team that started sophomore year. We didn’t all know each other and we definitely didn’t all like each other, but now we consider each other family and we call each other brothers.

This is a unique situation where many of you would not have gone to high school together had Stewarts Creek not been built. It takes time to come together and feel comfortable.

Liles: Something that’s really cool to see – last year and this year – is the rise of leadership, as you can see in this room. Student leadership in this school is something that has been a key element. It’s cool to see how people have developed into these young adults.

Perkins: A challenge outside of the classroom that we don’t think of much, but is engrained, is the character we display outside of school. … We’re holding our whole school accountable when we wear our Stewarts Creek colors.

Do you feel like you’re prepared for whatever the future holds?

Liles: Mr. Dement is an English teacher here, and one of the things he brought to my attention is he opens your mind to the world and what the future is going to be like. He also makes you evaluate yourself. That’s something you can’t get out of a textbook.

Visan: I think this school has definitely prepared us for what’s next. In life, you’re going to go through a lot of adversity and with us being a new school … we went through a lot of adversity and to get through it, it was unity and the care that everybody had. … That shows you’re going to take some hits in life, but you have to get back up.

SCHS Fine Arts is Excelling!

posted Oct 30, 2016, 7:11 AM by Donald Fann


This past weekend was a busy and successful weekend for the Fine Arts Department at Stewarts Creek!

The Theater Department traveled to The Tennessee Theatre Association Conference in Dickson, Tennessee where they competed in the High School One Act Play Competition with the show She Kills Monsters. The show placed 3rd in the state overall, received an award for Technical Excellence and Tristin Hicks and Celina Copeland were selected as All-Star Cast. In addition, we had 8 students participate in college auditions, receiving a total of 36 recruiting call backs from participating colleges.


Also, over the weekend, over 1,400 choir students from across Middle Tennessee auditioned for the Mid-State and All-State Choirs and the Freshmen Honor Choirs.  Stewarts Creek had a terrific showing, nearly doubling the number we placed last year with the most in school history.  We also had many students who ranked in the top ten of their voice part.  Please congratulate these students for their hard work!

All-State (top 10%):

Catheryn Bolick (alternate)

Carli Cannon (alternate)

Kalyn Choate (ranked 16 out of 183 on her part)

Celina Copeland (ranked 9 out of 184 on her part)

Bailey Griffin (ranked 6 out of 184 on her part)

Ian Hamilton (ranked 7 out of 94 on his part)

McKenna Harris (alternate)

Drew Harris (ranked 7 out of 142 on his part)

Cali Heer (ranked 13 out of 187 on her part)

Becca Morris (ranked 11 out of 184 on her part)

Will Pigg (ranked 13 out of 142 on his part)

Hannah Sandefur (alternate)

Jack Seage (ranked 3 out of 131 on his part)

Neil Talbott (ranked 15 out of 89 on his part)

Anna Vogler (ranked 11 out of 183 on her part)

Addison Walden (ranked 2 out of 184 on her part)

Mid-State (top 20%):

Melody Berg

Catheryn Bolick

Carli Cannon

Kalyn Choate

Celina Copeland

Bailey Griffin

Ian Hamilton

Drew Harris

McKenna Harris

Cali Heer

Kyle Loftus

Becca Morris

Will Pigg

Cheyenne Reames

Hannah Sandefur

Jack Seage

Neil Talbott

Anna Vogler

Addison Walden

Freshmen Honor Choir (top 20% of all Freshmen):

Morgan Abraham

Hanah Blankenship

Haylee Casper

Kahlyan Farne

Mikayla Filkins

Hayli Heer

Secilia Santin

Bennett Walden

Stewarts Creek fine arts instructor Donald Fann wins teacher award

posted Sep 8, 2016, 7:18 PM by Donald Fann

Stewarts Creek fine arts instructor Donald Fann wins teacher award

July 12, 2016

By KEITH RYAN CARTWRIGHT
Rutherford County Schools

In only its third year of existence, Stewarts Creek fine arts instructor Donald Fann was chosen as this year’s Governor's School for the Arts Teacher of the Year, which annually recognizes one fine arts teacher from the state of Tennessee for their outstanding contribution to arts education.

“This is an incredible honor,” said Fann, who accepted the award in late June at a ceremony held in the Tucker Auditorium on the campus of Middle Tennessee State University.

Fann was accompanied by 11 Stewarts Creek students, who were among more than 1,000 students vying for 360 scholarships to participate in the exclusive program.

A total of 33 students from seven high schools – Central Magnet (7), Blackman (4), Siegel (4), Oakland (3), Riverdale (2), Eagleville (2) and Stewarts Creek (11) – represented Rutherford County Schools.

Each year thousands of students compete to participate in the four-week residency summer program for high school students gifted in music, visual art, theatre, dance and film-making.

Fann gave credit for his achievement to the fine arts students of Stewarts Creeks by noting that it’s “a testament to (their) hard work.”

“Governor’s School has been a transformative learning experience for every student that I’ve been involved with,” Fann said.

Stewarts Creek High School Students Attend Governor's School

posted Sep 8, 2016, 7:16 PM by Donald Fann

Stewarts Creek High School Students Attend Governor's School

Published: June 20, 2016 from wgns.com
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The Stewarts Creek High School Fine Arts Department strives to excel in all areas of the arts. The faculty's commitment to excellence in not only group presentation but individual growth has been recognized by the Tennessee Governor's School for the Arts.

This summer Stewarts Creek High School students have the opportunity to collaborate with the most gifted fine arts students in Tennessee. Eleven students are representing the Stewarts Creek High School at the prestigious Governor's School for the Arts held at MTSU. Each year thousands of students compete to participate in the four-week residency summer program for high school students gifted in music, visual art, theatre, dance and film-making.

This year over 1000 students vied for the 360 available spots with many Stewarts Creek students earning scholarships to participate in the exclusive program.

Stewarts Creek High School juniors Noah Backus and Natalie Thompson along with seniors Rex Davis and McKenzie Malin are in the Govorner's School Instrumental Music program. Vocal Music participants include juniors Catheryn Bolick, Celina Copeland and Cheyenne Reames. Juniors Noah Brady and Will Welch join senior Tristin Hicks in the Theatre Program. And junior Corinne Fann in participating in the Technical Theater program.

Stewarts Creek High School Band Director, Michael Chester, Choral teacher Dr. Brian Russell and Theater Arts teacher Donald Fann will be honored on June 18, 2016 for special commendation from the Tennessee Governor's School for the Arts for excellence in teaching. Chester, Russell & Fann will join other teachers from across the state who will receive the Outstanding Teacher Award.

Fann is also the 2016 GSFTA Teacher of the Year, a designation given to one Fine Arts teacher in the state each year. Fann will receive his award at the closing performance June 28th at 7:00 pm in MTSU's Tucker Theater.

A Year of Recognition for Stewarts Creek High School Fine Arts Students

posted Sep 8, 2016, 7:15 PM by Donald Fann

from wgns

Published: June 20, 2016
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Stewarts Creek Red Hawks are soaring into summer with honors and awards tucked under their wings. The Fine Arts faculty at Stewarts Creek High School set the bar high when the school opened three years ago. Their emphasis on not only individual and ensemble performance but character and leadership development is reflected in the recent collection of accolades.

The Stewarts Creek High School Bel Canto received Superior Ratings, the highest possible, at the Middle Tennessee Vocal Association's Choral Festival. The choir has earned Superior ratings each year since the school's inception three years ago.

The Stewarts Creek Theater Department's production of The Yellow Boat received multiple honors and awards. The production received the Tennessee Arts Commission Grant to work with playwright David Saar. The play was performed at Cumberland County Playhouse in Crossville and was selected for mainstage performance at the Tennessee Thespian Conference and the Southeastern Theatre Conference Once Act Play Festival in Greensboro, N.C. Along with the honor of performing at SETC, The Yellow Boat cast received the Judges Choice award for Best movement and rising senior, Tristan Hicks received the All Star Cast award. The cast also placed 2nd at the Tennessee Theater Association One Act Play Festival in Maryville, TN where they also earned individual awards including All Star Cast for Hunter Thaw, Thristan Hicks and Kaelyn Giles and Theatre Arts teacher Donald Fann was awarded Best Director.

The Stewarts Creek Concert band is one of five bands who earned the American School Band Directors Association's Award of Distinction in Concert Performance at the 77th annual Middle Tennessee School Band and Orchestra Association Concert Performance Assessment (MTSBOA).

Both the Concert and Symphonic Bands earned ratings of superior in both concert performance and sight-reading performance at the MTSBOA.

For many summer marks a time of rest and relaxation. For students and faculty in the Stewarts Creek High School Fine Arts Department, summer marks a time for growth in their art and preparation for the upcoming performance season. Among the many performances slated for the 2016-2017 academic school year, the one that many are already talking about will be the special invitation performance to commemorate the 75th anniversary on the Attack on Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii, in November of 2016. Stewarts Creek High School Band members will be hard at work when they return to campus in July to prepare for this historic performance.

Welch to appear in Act 1's Come Back to the Five & Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean

posted May 10, 2016, 6:00 AM by Donald Fann

ACT 1's photo.

It's opening night!!!! Ed Graczyk's "Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean" opens tonight at the Darkhorse Theater at 7:30 PM. Doors open at 7:00 PM. All the information you are looking for can be found atwww.tickets.act1online.com

William Welch plays Joe! This youngin has a bright future ahead. Keep your eyes on him!!

William Welch is honored to be appearing on the Darkhorse stage again. While this show marks his first role in an ACT 1 production, William’s debut in this space was as an 11 year old karaoke singer after ACT 1’s production of Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-long Blog. That experience ignited his passion for acting. Since then, he has starred as Peter Pan in Lakewood’s 2012 production. His other roles include Spitz in Circle Players’ Band Geeks, Peter in Lakewood’s The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe and numerous roles at his high school, Stewart’s Creek High School. William will be representing SCHS at Governor’s School for the Arts in June. He would like to thank Director Melissa Williams for giving him this unique opportunity to play such a complex role.

SCHS Theater Program places 2nd in State

posted Oct 25, 2015, 9:01 AM by Donald Fann

Stewarts Creek High School's Red Hawk Theater, recently placed 2nd in the statewide The Tennessee Theater Association One Act Play Competition. The festival took place at the Clayton Center for the Arts in Maryville Tennessee and features some of the strongest high school theater programs from across the state. "We are a young program, in only our 3rd year of existence, so this type of recognition is a nice validation that we are on the right track." said Donald Fann, the Theater Arts teacher at Stewarts Creek and director of the show.
The students performed "The Yellow Boat" by David Saar a play based on the true story of Benjamin Saar, who was born with congenital hemophilia and died in 1987 at the age of 8 of AIDS-related complications. A uniquely gifted visual artist, Benjamin's buoyant imagination transformed his physical and emotional pain into a blaze of colors and shapes in his fanciful drawings and paintings. A Scandinavian folksong tells of three little boats: "One was blue, one was red and one was yellow as the sun. They sailed far out to sea. The blue one returned to the harbor. The red one sailed home, too. But the yellow boat sailed up to the sun." Benjamin always concluded his bedtime ritual by saying, "Mom, you can be the red boat or the blue boat, but I am the yellow boat." The Yellow Boat is a glorious affirmation of a child's life and the strength and courage of all children. 
"Our students workshopped the script over the summer" Fann said "to find ways to bring Benjamin's artwork and sense of color, shape and line to stage."  The cast uses colored fabric, and spandex "bags" on a whimsical playground set to create imagery that helps tell the story.  The group also worked with David Saar, the playwright and Benjamin's father, and The Arizona State University Center for Child Drama, to create an exhibit of Benjamin's artwork in conjunction with the play. Images of the art are also projected during the show.
At the festival Stewarts Creek competed against 12 schools from across the state. The top two productions are eligible to compete at the Southeastern Theater Conference in Greenville North Carolina in March. In addition to placing 2nd overall Fann was recognized as "Best Director" and Hunter Thaw, Tristin Hicks and Kaelyn Giles were named to the "All Star Cast."

Stage set for ‘The Fox on the Fairway’ at CCP

posted Aug 6, 2015, 12:24 PM by Donald Fann

*zen golf.jpg

*zen golf.jpg

Bingham (Jason Ross) tells Justin (Chance Wall) to relax and be “zen” while waiting out a rain delay in the big tournament.

Posted: Thursday, August 6, 2015 1:41 pm

From the Crossville Chronical

Heather Mullinix

A long-standing rivalry and a high-stakes golf match set the stage for the Cumberland County Playhouse's newest comedy "The Fox on the Fairway," which opened Thursday.

"It's about relationships — but not necessarily the three couples you think — and how those relationships develop and drive those people to each other," said Britt Hancock, playing arrogant country club president Dickie. "The raised stakes of the bet drives the relationships."

Author Ken Ludwig, who also wrote "Lend Me A Tenor," defines a farce as a play that focuses more on story than character. Fann said that made it even more important to develop the characters so that the audience will root them on. 

"The characters are really big and what they want is really big, which makes it fun for the audience to buy in to," said Director Donald Fann. "The cast has been so much fun. They're inventive and creative and they build on things to grow the characters. The situations that might seem absurd, aren't. None of them are afraid to be larger than life characters, and that's what you have to have."

In addition to snappy writing and quips delivered with just the right inflection to draw out laugh after laugh, it's also a physical show.

"The set is almost a gym. We tried to find places on the set we could catapult from or throw things to raise those stakes for the characters," Fann said. 

Jason Ross, playing Quail Valley Country Club President Bingham, described his character as a "stuffy" character.

"All these unfortunate things are happening and he's trying to maintain his composure and it isn't happening," Ross said. 

Hancock, whose character is known for his ugly sweaters, said, "He's arrogant and thinks he is more intelligent than he is. The two characters have made a bet when Bingham thinks he has a ringer for the annual golf match only to learn after the wager has been made that the ringer switched sides. 

Chance Wall plays Bingham's new assistant, Justin, who just happens to be a scratch golfer. Unfortunately, Justin is susceptible to stress and, when fiancée Louise (Lindsey Mapes) delivers some disappointing news, he comes unglued.

Bingham and club vice-president Pamela (played by Weslie Webster) try to help the couple patch up their differences before the match resumes, but their efforts are stalled by the appearance of Bingham's wife, Murial (played by Lauren Marshall). 

The show is keeping with the Playhouse theme of down-home comedy, tying the well-known Crossville attraction with Crossville's other well-known attraction — golf.

"Crossville is the Golf Capital of Tennessee. With there being 12 major courses here, all of our volunteers golf," explained Bryce McDonald, associate producing director. "On rainy days, our box office soars because they're not golfing. We've been looking for something for a couple of years that spoke to this generation. We found this."

"We have the perfect cast to do it, and Donald is the perfect director for it."

The play will be presented in the Adventure Theater, allowing for an intimate setting that brings the audience into the action. In fact, the final scene includes putting along a fairway in the middle of the crowd. 

"With audiences on three sides, it put the audience inside the scene. When you enter the space, you enter the world of the play," Fann said. "We've gotten so accustomed to movies and television where there's a distance. When you're that close and you see all the physicality happening, you don't have to suspend your disbelief."

And your cheeks will be sore from laughing throughout the play.

The show is rated PG-13 for mature subject matter and is sponsored by Good Times Wine, Spirits and Brew. The show plays through Oct. 16

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