“KATS: The Meerkat Musical” and “Indiana Bones and the Kingdom of the Camarasaur” are examples of presentations at Greensboro’s Science Center, where actors educate and entertain a vital audience: children. Michelle Mason ’18 contributes to our community by using her acting skills to connect with kids.
UNCG’s School of Theatre has long valued young audiences. The North Carolina Theatre for Young People (NCTYP) productions are a signature piece of the MFA Theatre for Youth program and represent the importance UNCG places on the arts as a pivotal community connection. For decades, families have made the NCTYP performances a part of growing up in Greensboro.
How do college actors accumulate their tools for the craft of acting? A variety of teaching methods and performance opportunities, integrated with guidance and supervision by world-class faculty provided Mason with chances to hone her skills. A scholarship from the International Honors College Travel Fund helped her broaden her vision of the world through study abroad, piquing her imagination and artistic growth, exposing her to global perspectives and performance approaches. Associate Professor Michael Flannery describes Mason’s experience at UNCG:
“Michelle Mason participated in every part of UNCG Theatre during her four years here. She was in main stage shows, studio shows, theatre for young audience tours, directing class scenes and students’ workshops. Her broad experience here is what we hope for every one of our students.”
Mason took advantage of opportunities to apply her actor training at the Greensboro Science Center and was also recently hired by “Reserving Royalty,” a birthday event company in which characters interact with children.
UNCG provides a myriad of opportunities for cultural enrichment as an active partner contributing to the vibrancy of the larger community. With the state’s largest College of Visual and Performing Arts and 75 percent of alumni remaining in-state, UNCG arts graduates significantly impact the quality of life in North Carolina communities. Students are transformed by their college experience and become active contributors in our schools, studios, museums, cultural centers and recreational facilities.
According to the American Alliance for Theatre and Education, youth involved with theatre are less likely to drop out of school and more likely to score well on standardized tests. Youth with disabilities can improve their academic performance and communication skills through theatre. Interest in the arts can begin at home, at school or at a science center. A make-believe interaction with a birthday event character may ignite the spark of imagination that results in lifelong creativity.
With the support of caring faculty and international insight, Mason brings fairy dust to encourage our youngest citizens to engage and empathize – inspiration for tomorrow’s vibrant communities.
Story by Zoe Dillard, Donor Relations