Tuesday, June 27, 2017

What Exactly is the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Arts Learning Program?

When I was in high school, we had a Play Productions class, band, several choirs, dance, art electives, and, during my time there, a drama class was born. Also during my time there, a beautiful theatre was built. I was a good little girl who got all of her actual course work out of the way before taking any electives. I got to take Beginning Drama as a junior. By the time I was a senior, I was taking both Play Productions and Advanced Drama. After lunch, the only thing I had left to do was theatrical. It was, probably, the first time I couldn't wait for the weekend to be over. On Saturdays and Sundays, I desperately missed my performance classes. I have a vivid memory of walking to my car one Friday after school. I was fighting tears because a) I was dramatic and b) I didn't want to wait TWO FULL DAYS TO GO BACK TO MY PRODUCTION CLASSES.

It is my understanding that my high school no longer offers drama or theatre of any kind. 

When I was in college, I started off as an Elementary Education major. Every time I walked past the little white theatre that was centrally located on campus, I just wanted to walk inside in the worst way. I wanted to find my people. I wanted to belong. There. In the dark with the curtains and the energy and the aliveness of it all. I cannot explain it. It certainly wasn't the most level headed decision I'd ever made. But I simply had to walk into that building, change my major, and live frugally ever after. And so I did. I learned a lot of things that prepared me for my future. I worked extremely hard as the Production Manager and, sometimes, stage crew or stage manager or director. I found a home. I graduated with a Bachelors in Theatre and a whole heap of English Education course work.

My university no longer offers Theatre as a major.

When I was fresh out of the hospital with my brand new baby boy nearly 11 years ago, a high school drama teaching position literally fell directly into my lap. I was only able to do that job for a little over a year before we moved to Utah. I loved it. I loved watching those students, energized with the fun and force of creating their own story. I loved being a place where they could escape the structure of the core subjects. I loved helping them fall in love with--or nurturing an existing love for--the theatre.

I am a firm believer that the arts MUST be a part of our school systems. I am so proud of Utah's desire to include the arts even at the elementary level. My boys have had drama and music in their own school in past years. This is the introductory video I was sent when my sons' principal hired me as a Beverley Taylor Sorenson Arts Learning Program Theatre Arts Specialist for the upcoming school year. It explains a little bit about the program and the goal to reach our youth with the arts.

I'm overwhelmed by all I need to do to prepare. I'm excited. But above all, I'm proud to be able to partner with the BTS program to bring the arts to our children.

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