It's not often that high school students get a chance to write a play and see it performed on stage by professional actors, but at Romulus Community High School, that's about to change. Today, February 28th, thanks to a unique partnership between the High School, Henry Ford Community College, Project A.C.E. and the professional theatre Performance Network, 20 students from the Drama class, along with 80 of their schoolmates will watch a professionally produced theatre performance that reflects their experience as students facing the choice of higher education. While not directly penned by the students themselves, the play was written based on a series of in-class interviews and conversations about the real-life challenges that students face with regard to the decision to go - or not go - to college.
Theatre writer Aral Gribble started working with the Romulus students in October 2012, conducting a series of theatre workshops, with the intention of uncovering the real reasons that students feel college is not for them. Gribble used an innovative process that incorporates theatre games and improvisation techniques to spur candid conversations with students and generate topics and perspectives for the 90-minute live performance. Romulus Community High School students will travel to Henry Ford Community College's Adray Auditorium in the Mackenzie Fine Arts Building to see the results of this unique collaboration.
Gribble says "No one knows better than the students what obstacles are in their path when it comes to going to college. But sometimes its hard for adults to see and understand their perspective. This unique experience of creating a theatre piece BY and FOR the students helps communicate the issues to the rest of the student body in a way that they can relate to firsthand."
"Get in the Game" is a pilot program of the Henry Ford Community College, and the brainchild of Kathleen Fox, Manager of Admissions and Recruitment at Henry Ford Community College. Her experience in the recruiting department at HFCC led her to see that new tools were needed in the fight to get Metro Detroit students interested in higher education. Through a collaboration with Becky Fox, Education Director at Performance Network, the innovative "Get in the Game" program was founded. Its mission is "to provide a live interactive arts-in-learning experience that challenges students to become and remain actively engaged with the learning process, through a program of interactive workshops and performances designed to discover and address the specific obstacles to learning students face, in a new and innovative way."
Founded in 1981, Performance Network Theatre has grown from a fledgling company to Ann Arbor's only resident, professional theatre. The Network reaches 40,000 theatre patrons and children each year through the year-round Professional Series and The Children's Theatre Network. Performance Network also presents the Fireside New Play Festival and a series of classes on theatre-related topics. The Network provides uncompromising artistic leadership in the region and produces works that engage, challenge and inspire audiences and artists.
Performance Newtork Theatre is located at 120 East Huron, Ann Arbor, MI. For more information, visit www.performancenetwork.org, or call the box office at (734) 663-0681.