Saco River Theatre Features Local Theatre Students
Local theater students were featured as characters as well as actors in the community-based play at Saco River Theatre in Buxton. In the community-generated theater project led by the Saco River Theatre last spring community members took part in the imagining, writing, revising, and performing of a new play by, for… and about... the community. The resulting play, A Bridge Under a Sound Over a Town, which included theater students as character as well as actors, was created by a partnership of SRT artists: Stowell Watters (playwright), Daniel Burson (dramaturg), and people in the communities of Buxton, Hollis, Standish, and Limington. Here is more about the project from Dan Burson.
“Our goal was to get as many people as we could from the area contributing to create the piece – from sharing stories, to community dinners, to performing onstage. Over the course of the project, more than 30 different members of the community read roles at readings of the piece, and over 120 contributed stories and ideas. On June 2nd and 3rd, 2018, the project culminated in two public staged readings of the resulting play.”
The community performers included both experienced professional actors and first-time actors, ranging in age from teens to 70s. Local students played an important role at every step along the way. From the start Saco River Theatre reached out to students and faculty from Bonny Eagle High School to gather feedback and to bring students into the creative process. Teen students participated in well over half the story-gathering events, including two which were hosted at Bonny Eagle High School itself. Several of the roles (including one of the leads) were written for teenagers, and every reading of the play included Bonny Eagle students onstage.
The final staged readings this June featured the acting talents of Bonny Eagle students Christopher Hascall, Alison Jones, Kady Murphy, and March Steiger, and Thornton Academy student Delaney Ziegman.
To Saco River Theatre director Dana Packard, himself a Bonny Eagle alum, having BE students involved in SRT productions is a long and ongoing tradition: “Over the years we have had many students and alumni from BE involved in productions, both on stage, and off, and we intend to continue to do so.”
Advocacy for arts education – and even community help with school exhibits and performances – aren’t the only ways that local communities can support the arts in their schools. Community/school collaborations can happen within community arts programs as well. In 2010 MAAE’s nationally award-winning project Imagination Intensive Communities identified examples of creative arts connections with schools in six Maine communities. On this Community/School Arts Connections page, we’ll feature current examples. Let us know about the innovative collaborations in your own community so we can feature them on this page – contact Susan Potters at firstname.lastname@example.org. We welcome your input!