Some students at Agnes Scott College spent part of the spring term acting dramatically – all in a good way. Thanks to a grant from Atlanta-based [The] Kelin Foundation, the Decatur institution teamed up with Synchronicity Theatre for a program designed to expand students’ thespian talents and introduce them to a range of skills needed to operate an artistic business.
The two-year pilot program includes an introduction to contemporary, female playwrights as well as dramatic criticism, leadership skills and paid internships with the Midtown-based theater company.
“We are always looking for community partners, and we specifically wanted to have a theater company where you can see active leadership, where on any one day, you can be talking with a donor in the morning, putting on a paint smock in the afternoon and rewiring a set in the evening,” said David Thompson, who has been a professor of theater at the college for 22 years.
“Synchronicity gets to the heart of being detailed and task oriented, as well as inspiring others. It speaks to the kind of leadership we’d like to instill in our students,” he added.
For Synchronicity’s Producing Artistic Director Rachel May, the partnership extends the mission of the organization that was launched by four women in 1997.
“We have always had a focus on ways to uplift the voices of women and girls,” she said. “And we see theater as way to create community.”
The nonprofit theater produces five shows a year, reaches roughly 15,000 patrons, and has a variety of educational and outreach programs. Among them are summer camps, after-school programs, classes for middle and high school girls living in group homes or refugee communities, and a robust internship program. Over the course of its 22-year history, the theater has run a variety of projects for Agnes Scott.
“We’ve always had in the back of our minds that a women-focused college and a women-focused theater program would be a good relationship,” said May. “We’re thinking of ourselves as an adjunct of their theater program. Our hope is that, after a successful launch, this pilot program will become a permanent way to develop capable, empowered leaders throughout the theatre sector.”
The partnership kicked off just before the school shut down for sheltering-in-place directives. Eight students worked with May for a week and explored the intricacies of running a professional theater through workshops on development, fundraising, marketing and social media outreach.
They also learned about the theater design process and arts journalism. In addition, other experiences invited students to explore women writers of the 20th century and to attend “Playmaking for Girls,” a two-day workshop of writing and stage reading short works.
“In a year-round project, we’ll have more workshops, and we hope to establish a funded fellowship for Agnes Scott graduates so they can have two years to learn arts administration,” said May. “We plan to continue with our partnership in the fall and look forward to working with them to continue developing deeper ways for us to partner together and grow this program.”
Information about Agnes Scott is online at agnesscott.edu. Details about Synchronicity are at synchrotheatre.com.
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