University Park, IL,
08:43 AM

Streaming the Arts

Textbooks can convey facts and statistics, but the emotions behind the numbers are best conveyed through the arts. Despite the pandemic darkening the stage of Governors State University’s Center for Performing Arts (CPA), the show must go on for the Center’s Arts in Education Programming as the CPA sets plans to stream the upcoming shows.

Through the Arts in Education programming the CPA hosts educational performances for local schools, an educational opportunity the Center believes is key to children learning.

“The arts are languages that most people speak, cutting through individual differences in culture, educational background and ability. They can bring every subject to life and turn abstractions into concrete reality,” said Lana Rogachevskaya, Executive Director of the CPA.

This summer, the Center held a Virtual Theatre Camp. Run by longtime camp counselors Paul and Whitney Minarik, campers enjoyed a combination of personalized sessions, independent projects and group work. In a virtual environoment, they created a show at home that was broadcast on a YouTube channel.

The camp encouraged the attendees to explore their interests, Rogachevskaya explained.

"Campers had a chance to create stories and develop scripts about subjects they are passionate about. It was gratifying to see them tackle Lincoln Mall redevelopment project, bullying, siblings rivalry, honesty, charitable giving, class issues, health-care crisis, friendship, entertainment, and fashion."

This fall and spring, the Center will be streaming two productions.

In the first few weeks of November, grade schools (grades 4 and up) and community organizations can log in to watch Through the Eyes of a Friend: The World of Anne Frank by Living Voices. The program examines the holocaust through the eyes of Anne Frank’s best friend and––according to the show bill––is meant to “encourage the audience to discover their personal awareness of stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination.” In addition, educators will be offered resources on how to teach holocaust and incorporate it into curriculum, disrupting comfort with compassion.

In February 2021, the Center will be bringing back North Carolina-based actor and playwright Mike Wiley whose compelling solo documentary theater portrays historical milestones of the African American experience. Wiley’s 2020 mini-residency on campus was warmly received by students, educators, campus and community members who attended “A Game Apart: Jackie Robinson’s story” and “Dar He: The Story of Emmett Till.” The 2021 virtual residency will include “Breach of Peace” and “Tired Souls: King and The Montgomery Bus Boycott.”