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 year of programs. The department now serves a wide range of audiences from K-12 to adults and senior adults and everyone in between! With a number of annual events and festivals, and community outreach initiatives, the Department of Theatre and Dance aims to expand the program bringing theatre and dance to more and more people.
The University of Alabama Theatre Festival
The University of Alabama Theatre Festival, open to 7-12 grade students, offers several workshops ranging from acting and movement to technical theatre taught by faculty and MFA candidates. The festival has grown significantly over the past three years, reaching over 100 students since the fall of 2016. The festival includes an career workshop highlighting each careers in theatre and outside as well as information about each aspect of the department.
The University of Alabama Dance Day
Heading into its fifth year, the University of Alabama Dance Day offers high school students the opportunity to participate in a day of dance workshops with our outstanding students and faculty members. Offered every spring, the day includes workshops, lunch, and a ticket to Dance Alabama!.
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 recent years we have expanded these programs to provide access to the arts for students with autism as well!
Musical Theatre Audition Masterclass
UA Theatre and Dance offers a Musical Theatre Audition Masterclass for students who wish to pursue a career in Musical Theatre by helping them understand the nuances of auditioning for college and university Musical Theatre programs.
Do you want to be a UA Theatre & Dance student for a day? The Theatre & Dance Understudy Program gives high school students that opportunity. Our understudies attend classes and shadow faculty and students to learn about careers in theatre and dance. The program can be offered as a full-day or half-day schedule. Available tracks are dance, acting, musical theatre, and design and technical production.
UA Theatre and Dance offered its first sensory performance in 2017. 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.
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 the 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. For eight weeks, several graduate and undergraduate students work with the students and their mentors to create theatrical or dance-based representations of classic fairy tales. The elementary students learn 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
UA Theatre & Dance participates in several community events each year, including 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.