Before an audience of high school students in a summer arts program at Woodside High School, cast members Joshua Higgins and Annie Wilhite perform an excerpt from a Thomas Nelson production.
Participants in the Newport News Summer Institute for the Arts got a treat on July 10 when Thomas Nelson Performing Arts took its show on the road. The high school students got front row seats to two Gilbert and Sullivan plays, "The Sorcerer” and “Trial by Jury,” which are being presented this month at the Hampton campus.
During the 60-minute presentation at Woodside High School, the young emerging performers heard insight about various facets of theatre from Performing Arts Chair Michael Sundblad and Theatre Manager Victoria Sanders. Cast members Joshua Higgins and Annie Wilhite along with musical accompanist Nancy Verry were also on hand.
As a bonus, high school students in the summer arts program were invited to Thomas Nelson for the show's first matinee in Templin Hall’s Dr. Mary T. Christian Auditorium.
“This is the sixth year we’ve done this presentation and hosted these students at the operetta,” said Sanders, who is also stage director. “The presentation beforehand allows them to better appreciate and understand everything that goes into creating the entire production.”
Sundblad, who is also music director, said, “It was a special treat this year that a recent Woodside graduate, Joshua Higgins, was able to join us and speak with the students. Many of the Summer Institute for the Arts students are interested in theatre and musical theatre, and they seemed to enjoy hearing from ‘one of their own’ who has a principal role in the opera.”
Offered by Newport News Public Schools, the Summer Institute for the Arts aims to develop students’ unique talents, provide a forum to display their works, and enhance their abilities to analyze, interpret and evaluate the arts. The intensive six-week program also strives to increase awareness of career opportunities in the arts. Participating students, who are rising 8th through 12th graders, can select from dance, theatre arts, music, and visual arts during the summer experience.
Thomas Nelson's Performing Arts group didn’t end the show at Woodside High on July 10. Their junket that day also included a stop in Williamsburg where they discussed the production with radio host Robert Hodge on 93.5 FM. The interview will be available soon on the radio station’s website, www.wmbgradio.com.
The College presents three theatre productions each year. Two classic short comedic operettas, "The Sorcerer” and “Trial by Jury” will run July 19 - 21. For tickets and show times, visit tncc.edu/arts.