The Greek word theater has been defined as “the place to behold” or “the seeing place”—taking moments of the human experience and shining upon them the light of truth. The words of the playwright are completed only when placed in the hands of the actors, who stretch the dialogue, imbue it with meaning, and share the words with the audience. For children and young people accustomed to film, television, and viewing so much of the world through their electronic devices, the opportunity, there in the dark, to see a live stage production offers an intimacy and a magic they experience nowhere else.
Now in its 38th year, the Tennessee Performing Arts Center’s HOT series has brought the magic of theater to 1.8 million students.
“The goal is to create an opportunity for every age,” says Roberta Ciuffo West, Executive Vice President for Education and Outreach. “Productions in any given year can run the gamut from real world or historical to whimsical, but even the whimsical, like this season’s The Polar Bears Go Up, deals with solving problems (in this case, without words) that are relevant to the age and understanding of the student.”
The 2017 fall lineup opens and closes with productions from Franklin’s Studio Tenn. The historical drama The Battle of Franklin: A House Divided connects students with the realities of the Civil War in Tennessee (September 6, 13, and 20), while the C.S. Lewis classic The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (November 30, December 1 and 5–7) delights and charms with the tale of Narnia. Between these two productions, students can hear the world-renowned Fisk Jubilee Singers (October 26), explore the creative process of dance movement with New Dialect Dance (November 2), and visit the “dark side” with Shakespeare’s masterpiece Macbeth (November 6– 9). November also offers The Polar Bears Go Up (November 13, 14, and 17), and fairy-tale favorite Sleeping Beauty (November 28, 29, and 30). In-school tours include Stand (October 2–26) and a one-man tour de force with Mark Cabus playing 18 roles in Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol (November 27 through December 15). High school students will have the chance to see the dress rehearsal of Nashville Opera’s Tosca (October 3).
“We want Nashville and Tennessee—especially our young people—to have equal opportunities to learn, explore, and grow through the diverse artistic and cultural perspectives presented on our stage. With all of our programs combined, TPAC Education provides a variety of rich opportunities for children to better understand themselves and the world around them,” says Ciuffo West. “I know that every child and every teacher engaged in TPAC Education has the same opportunities for growth. That’s what I love the most about our work.”
Contact www.tpac.org/education/hot/SeasonforYoungPeople for ticket information.