Rutherford County Schools spotlight drama programs
Post date: Nov 29, 2017 12:51:02 AM
Keith Ryan Carthwright, Rutherford County SchoolsPublished 2:02 p.m. CT Oct. 31, 2017 | Updated 2:03 p.m. CT Oct. 31, 2017
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.
“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.”
(Photo: Rutherford County Schools)