Millennium Repertory Company’s Home School Theater Enrichment Program offers home school students a chance to experience theater.
HSTEP Coordinator Hope Petty said explained that the program offers students comprehensive look at many aspects of stage craft and theater production, skills that range from ensemble positions to backstage management to working the sound and light booth.
“Our job is not only to offer them a credit that they can use toward a diploma, but it’s my job to encourage each and every one of them,” she said.
The program is not sut for the kid who can sing and dance, but offers an opportunity for those interested in, yet intimidated by theater. Many students start only wanting to be behind the scenes, only to become part of an onstage cast.
“It started to enable the home school students to have a theater and arts program that is sometimes not readily available to them,” Petty said.
Classes are broken down into two sessions, fall and spring, with separate productions for each.
“The kids learn the show. The style of the show, the songs, the choreography. They put on a production,” she said.
Petty then reaches out to area schools to schedule fieldtrips to attend the shows. Schools from as far off as Woodbury and Murfreesboro attend the shows.
Each year the program expands to offer more opportunities for the students.
“I love Millennium’s commitment to this program. We’re always getting together looking at how we can improve the program and give more to the students,” she said.
This year’s curriculum will include an improv workshop. Students will learn basic rules of on-stage improvisation: how to make decisions on the spot to create something spontaneously. Then, they will teach those skills to others.
“When we bring the schools in… (the audience) will actually get to volunteer to be a part of the shows,” Petty explained.
“This is going to be a really creative experiment. For the home school students, not only are they learning, but they’re learning to teach.”
Petty stresses, that overall, theater provides a range of life skills.
“Public speaking is so important in any type of job. This will help if they want to go on in (any theater) but in general, to have the confidence and be able to communicate is a great life skill,” she said.
“It’s a great life skill to be able to get out there, be in front of people and present an idea,” she said.
Registration for HSTEP is being accepted for students age 8-18 on Tuesday, Aug. 13 from noon to 3 p.m. at the Manchester Arts Center, 128 E. Main St.
For more information, go to millenniumrep.org.