Walk To Freedom Theatre Seminar to teach young people about theater

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Picture courtesy of The Long Way Home, Inc.
Several cast members from last year’s “Walk To Freedom: The Mary Draper Ingles Story” enjoy a moment of levity on stage.

 Steve Frey, Contributing Writer

     Hey, high school students, is your summer beginning to slow down a little? Are you looking for something fun and different to do?  Well, The Long Way Home, Inc. has something special just for you if you are interested in any aspect of theater.

The Long Way Home, Inc. is the organization coordinating “Walk To Freedom: The Mary Draper Ingles Story” outdoor drama in Radford, and on August 2, the cast and crew are putting together a special Walk To Freedom Theatre Seminar for any New River Valley high school student involved in a theater program or just interested in learning more about theater in any way.

The “Walk To Freedom: The Mary Draper Ingles” drama has many theater majors in the cast and production crew as well as newcomers to the stage. The directors of the seminar, Emily Keck and Carl Lefko, are both professors at Radford University and the director and production manager, respectively for the play. Keck has had years of experience designing, acting, and directing with a theater group at Boston University before coming to Radford, and Lefko is the Director of Dance and Theatre at RU. He has served in the theater department at Radford for over 40 years. You’ll be getting a wealth of theater wisdom!

During the seminar, you’ll observe a rehearsal of “Walk To Freedom…” with all of the spontaneous direction, changes, and updates. Then, in an “Actors’ Studio” type discussion, you’ll have a chance to hear what went into specific decisions during the performance from line delivery, lighting or sound points, expressions and movements…well, everything! You’ll get to see behind the scenes and experience the inner workings of a professional theater ensemble and how what you see on the stage during the actual performance is developed.

Of course, you’ll have the opportunity to see the entire drama (you might want to see the play at a regular performance on July 14, 27, or 28 prior to the seminar or on August 4 after to see the final outcome—tickets are available for everyone at MaryDraperInglesTrail.com) and then you will get to participate in the post-rehearsal analysis. You can participate as much as you want in the discussion from merely observing to asking questions about the how and why behind direction/production decisions (The directors hope you’ll have questions!).

The Long Way Home, Inc. wants this to be an educational opportunity and introduction to the theater with the ultimate goal of encouraging New River Valley students to get involved in their high school or college programs and possibly pursue some aspect of the theater, so the registration fee will be a modest $10.00. The payment will be collected when you arrive for the seminar with exact cash or a check. Checks should be made out to The Long Way Home, Inc. The seminar will be held at the stage near Lot FF at 101 University Drive on the RU campus from 6:00-9:00 p.m on August 2.

To register for the Walk To Freedom Theatre Seminar, please send an email to maryinglesplay@gmail.com by July 31, and we will reserve a spot for you.

Putting together any production takes a dedicated cast, costume designers, a scenery crew, sound technicians, expert direction and so much more. This seminar will be an excellent chance for you to see how the pieces all come together in a fun and informative professional theater experience!

Who knows, you may use this seminar as a springboard for your own vocation in the theater, and we may even see you working with a high school, college, or community production in the very near future!