Everybody's Cutting 'Footloose' STARS Students Perform This Weekend
BY LEIGH PEMBER
While there's no performance Sunday, you can kick off your Thursday, Friday or Saturday shoes at an evening performance of "Footloose."
The show, performed by students of the Sandhills Theatre Arts Renaissance School (STARS), will be on June 9, 10 and 11, at 7 p.m. at the Pinecrest High School Auditorium. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students. Proceeds will go toward funding this and the -previous year's productions. More than 100 students will take part in the -production.
Tom Dalton, theater arts teacher at the school and director of the play, has been at STARS for four years. The school has produced a play every year for the last four years, including this one. Two were original, and two were not.
"We've sort of alternated in writing our own musical and doing one that is published," Dalton says. "It's a completely different process when something is published. There's more of a writing component to doing an original piece."
The students are responsible for creating the script for the original plays. STARS incorporates the production into its curriculum, which follows the North Carolina Standard Course of Study. Teachers guide students through the process, but they allow students to maintain a large measure of independence.
"We just kind of let them create," says Alan Daubenspeck, arts integration coordinator for STARS.
The school prefers to let the students take initiative when producing the plays. This provides a learning opportunity and gives the play more meaning to the children. The diversity of the skills in the student body allows students to be involved in almost every aspect of the production, including costume design and theater tech.
"In some respect, everyone is involved," Dalton says, "and the nice thing is that they are dedicated."
While STARS is a public charter school, students must apply for admission. Because of this, students are there because they want to be, meaning students are more likely to dedicate themselves to the program. Students' dedication to the arts translates into excitement about their school.
"I really like it," Imani Jones says of STARS. "Here it actually makes you feel like you're on Broadway."
It may not be Broadway, but Dalton still feels pressure when show time comes. However, the cast is further along in this play than it was at similar points in other plays. This is surprising because they actually started work on the play later on this year than they usually do.
"Every time, I was worried it wouldn't work," Dalton says. "But every time I've looked back and said, 'I can't believe it worked out the way it did.'"
Dalton has no reason to worry, as his cast is full of talented, confident actors, dancers and singers, most of whom are in middle school.
"My mom calls me a 'triple threat' because I can sing, dance and act," says Angelica Pait, an eighth-grader, who plays Ariel in the production.
Leigh Pember is a summer intern at The Pilot and a rising sophomore at UNC-Chapel Hill.
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