Category Archives: Education

In Appreciation of All Performing Arts

Okay, I’ll admit it: I love all of the classic Broadway shows we put on here at the Renaissance. They’re always fan favorites, thanks to their highly popularized soundtracks and storylines. (This season, we’ve got shows like Cabaret and Little Shop of Horrors in store, which is so exciting!) However, I do feel that musical theatre in its catchiness and pizzazz often steals the spotlight, and other forms of art may get overlooked, though they all boast their own type of pizzazz. That said, I’d like to take a moment to recognize other facets of the performing arts world, both at the Renaissance and in general. 

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Drama Therapy: How Theatre Can Heal

We’ve all felt it: a bundle of nerves, a stressful week, emotional baggage…the list goes on. Those who suffer from mental illnesses or sensory processing disorders can be even more vulnerable to big changes and over-stimulation. There are many ways to unwind and give one’s mind a break, and luckily, theatres like us can play a big part in that. Performance art for some can lead to personal catharsis or relief, a concept known as drama therapy. 

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Hey, You! Where’s Your Library Card?

If you’re like me, you probably have fond memories of going to your local library to borrow books, CDs, and everything in between. I’ve always gone to the Lexington branch of the Mansfield/Richland County Public Library (MRCPL), and as a kid I LOVED the summer library program. I was a book worm, and the library made reading cool. Though I’m a bit older now, I’ve realized that no one ever stops reading and learning new things. Here at the Ren, we would like to celebrate both MRCPL and their library cardholders alike during our 2020-2021 Season. 

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Take Pride: 5 LGBTQ+ People Who’ve Influenced Musical Theatre

The month of June is pride month for the LGBTQ+ community. It’s a tradition that started with the Stonewall Riots in 1969 (which were led by black and brown trans women, by the way!). LGBTQ+ activists and allies have made historic progress for the community in recent years, such as in SCOTUS rulings Obergefell v. Hodges (2015) and Bostock v. Clayton County (2020). Many  people are familiar with pride parades and festivities but might not know that famous playwrights, actors, composers, etc. have also been part of the community. In honor of the many lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people who have shaped theatre, here are 5 you should know. 

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Matilda’s Bookshelf: Top Ten Children’s Books to Enjoy

Coffy Creations Photography

Coffy Creations Photography

Reading is a valuable part of everyone’s life, but more importantly, the effect of reading with your children is something that will nurture them the rest of their life. Research has proven time and time again that reading positively develops one’s health across the board – physically, mentally, emotionally, academically… all the -ly’s! In Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical, books are a way of escape for Matilda – travel, friends, education, etc. So, here’s Matilda’s “must haves” for your child’s bookshelf!

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Photo Credit: Jeff Sprang Photography

Photo Credit: Jeff Sprang Photography

Ah! The english language – the first subject that I was involved with in school that I excelled at… but also probably one of the worst subjects I was involved with.  Unlike many other languages that have a basic format that can be used time and time again and make perfect sense, English continues to confuse people and students alike.  In many circumstances, there are different spellings for the same place or thing (grey vs gray, disc vs. disk, ax vs. axe, etc.).  For theater (or is it theatre), there are two spellings, but what are the rules when using them? Continue reading

If Your Song Doesn’t Have Artillery Fire In It, Then You Are Doing It Wrong

Before you get your hopes up, the answer is “No, Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture will not be on the upcoming Mansfield Symphony Orchestra’s “Russian Spectacular” concert on February 9.” [The crowd begins to shriek and gasp!]. Seriously – the Renaissance Theatre just can’t possibly afford the damage caused by five cannons!

With all kidding aside, this work is to most people THE masterpiece of Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s, or at least in the top three. With our inspired all-Russian concert coming up, I thought I would briefly review this masterwork, as it happens to be the piece that inspired me to become a musician.

Battle of Borodino 1812

Battle of Borodino 1812

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Why Aren’t You Going to the Symphony When It Improves Health?

According to a 2016 study by the League of American Orchestras, “Overall, [symphony] audiences declined by 10.5% between 2010 and 2014…”.  However, there is overwhelming evidence of a plethora of health benefits to listening to classical music.

I feel confident the majority of people want to feel and be healthy. So the question becomes, why aren’t you going to the symphony?

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Arts Education in a Digital World

“Every day, American young people spend more than 4 hours watching television, DVDs, or videos; 1 hour using a computer; and 49 minutes playing video games. In many cases, youths are engaged in two or more of these activities at the same time. Little wonder this era has become known as the “digital age,” and Americans born after 1980 have become known as ‘digital natives’.”

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Tellin’ Ain’t Teachin’

Think back to your favorite teachers.  Were they teachers who sat at their desk and had you read while they nodded their head and hoped you were understanding?  Were they teachers who stood in front of a chalkboard and just read from a book while you looked dazed and confused?  Or were they one’s who gave you information and then began to story-tell in different ways such as having you create a play based on a topic, or took you to a museum to explain great art?  Most likely it is the latter.  I am positive not all teachers want to be just a talking head, they want to be memorable so you learn!  However, teachers often need to learn themselves in order to not just be a talking head, and that is why programs like the Kennedy Center Partners in Education Arts Integration Institute are so important.

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