The Department of Theatre and Dance has been developing its education and outreach program over the last few years. It has grown from a small number of one-time events in the 2013-2014 school year, to a full calendar of programs reaching 1400 students at 24 different schools in the 2015-2016 school year. We will expand the program even further increasing the number served by over 50% to 2500 students served in the current school year!
The University of Alabama Theatre Festival
The UA Theatre Festival is headed into its fourth year, offering several workshops ranging from acting and movement to technical theatre taught by faculty and MFA candidates. The festival is open to 7-12 grade students and has grown significantly over the past three years reaching 80 students in the fall of 2016. The festival includes an opportunity fair highlighting each aspect of the department, including information on scholarships and the application process. In addition, students are encouraged to see the evening performance of the current main stage show. The next UA Theatre Festival will be in October of 2017! The registration fee of $25 includes workshops, lunch and a t-shirt.
The University of Alabama Dance Festival
The UA Dance Festival just celebrated its 2nd year by inviting students in grades 6-12 from dance studios across Alabama to participate in a half day of dance classes with our outstanding students and faculty. The festival brought in 46 participants from all over Alabama, with a few from Mississippi and Georgia. Annually offered in the spring semester, this festival has a registration fee of $40, which includes workshops, lunch and a ticket to Dance Alabama! There is also a Q&A session following the show for students to meet and chat with UA undergraduate choreographers and performers. The next UA Dance Festival will take place in April 2018!
Exploring Theatre & Dance
Our Explorer series allows students who are interested in theatre and dance to delve in and learn something new. There are programs in this series designed for pre-k, elementary, middle school and high school. In the last year we have expanded these programs to provide access to the arts for students with autism as well!
Our experiential learning program is designed for a high school student to spend a half-day with some of our faculty members or MFA candidates to better understand the realities of working in theatre. The program provides an opportunity for students to sit in on classes or attend rehearsals to understand all parts of the process of producing theatre. Subject areas available for observation include: costumes, lights, sets/props, sound, acting, musical theatre, dance and arts management. This program is customizable for each student, allowing them to learn about their specific interests in a hands-on environment. Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to get started.
UA Theatre and Dance is excited to offer its first sensory performance this season! Arts n’ Autism students attended a special performance of Dance Alabama! on March 24, 2017. Light and sound levels were lowered and students had activities in the lobby to occupy them should the performance be overwhelming. They were also encouraged to enter and exit the performance venue as needed. Through the partnership with Arts n’ Autism and Dance Alabama!, UA Theatre and Dance is able to communicate with most families in the Tuscaloosa area that are affected by autism.
Shakespeare for Schools
Each fall the UA Theatre and Dance department produces a Shakespeare performance or a similar classic work. In the 2016-2017 school year a performance of Hamlet (Oct. 6, 2016) was offered free of charge for Tuscaloosa City High School students. The field trip was paired with a series of classroom visits from UA Theatre and Dance graduate acting students. We scheduled times for UA actors to go into the classroom and read text as part of the students’ curriculum.
UA Theatre & Dance partners with the Children’s Hands On Museum to provide theatre and dance education programs to elementary age students and their families. The University of Alabama students use movement and acting to narrate books, fables and other familiar stories.
Every spring, UA Theatre & Dance partners with Al’s Pals to bring educational programming to area elementary schools. In spring 2016, Northington Elementary School was the chosen school. For eight weeks, several graduate and undergraduate students worked with the students and their mentors to create theatrical or dance based representations of classic fairy tales. The students learned character development, story structure, teamwork, improvisational skills or basic dance technique. This program is designed mainly for elementary students, but we are able to also reach other UA students who serve as mentors. This year we are serving Matthews Elementary School, and two undergraduate students are teaching a dance combination to fifth graders that will be performed for their families at the end of the semester.
Elementary Dance Outreach
The dance outreach program works with local elementary schools every spring to introduce basic dance concepts that help students discover new ways of moving, creating and problem solving. The classes are taught by current dance majors and focus on several fundamentals of movement including shapes, levels, directions, rhythms, balance and relationships. Students are encouraged to create their own dances, which promotes creativity while learning improvisation and team building skills.
UA Theatre and Dance sets up custom workshops upon request for Middle and High School teachers. We host workshops at the University in addition to sending instructors into the High Schools to work in their space. For more information about scheduling a custom workshop contact email@example.com
On Friday nights of Marian Gallaway and Allen Bales productions, we bring in a guest speaker to talk on a theme or interesting element from the show. This series allows both student and adult members of the audience to learn about new subject areas while socializing and continue a dialogue about the shows even after the curtain falls. A reception follows the talkback for Marian Gallaway productions.
Theatre Thursday & Dance Tuesday
A partnership between UA Theatre & Dance and local dining establishments allows UA students to take a break from studying. Before the show, students meet for dinner, get to know each other, and discuss the performance they are going to see. For theatre productions in the Marian Gallaway Theatre, the event happens on Thursday nights. Dance productions in Morgan Auditorium are on Tuesday nights, always at 5:30! For more information, or to be added to the mailing list for these events, please email firstname.lastname@example.org!
UA Theatre & Dance participates in several community events each year, including but not limited to: Kentuck Festival of the Arts, Druid City Arts Festival, Volksfest, Hospice 5k, and Duck Derby. We also foster partnerships with other departments and organizations on the UA campus. You will find us at Night at the Museum, Get on Board Day, Graduate Student Orientation Welcome, and several other events. These events help bring awareness of our department’s season and programs to the community outside of the campus, helping us share theatre and dance with a larger demographic.