Monday, January 26, 2015

I had the pleasure of seeing The Elephant Wrestler at a conference a year ago and am very much looking forward to having it in the Studio Theatre on February 3.

I always say that I love theatre because of the way it sheds light on the condition of being human; this piece is a funny, moving, surprising example of that. Check out the sneak peak for more and please consider joining us.

Tickets start at just $25. I promise you'll be glad you took a risk on this unique experience.  Buy online or call the Ticket Office at 217.206.6160.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

STOMP returns to Sangamon Auditorium

On Monday, January 26, we're pleased to have the longtime audience favorite STOMP return to Sangamon Auditorium.  STOMP is such a great event for audiences of all ages.  Tickets for students high school age and younger are

STOMP appears at Sangamon Auditorium Monday, January 26 at 7:30 PM

I have a theory that STOMP has thrived for so long because it really is such a great gateway show for audience members who may not necessarily think they are the "type" who attends live events.  The show makes great "wow" moments out of everyday people and things, proving that *nothing* is "everyday."

The show also communicates effectively across language barriers, as no words are used, but instead the performers use objects and movements to communicate ideas.  It is a show for which it is thrilling to be in the audience, having a communal experience with everyone else in the room as you laugh and gasp at the same moments...again, with no words ever being spoken.

Past STOMP audiences should be pleased to know that while the show is mostly the show you remember from the past, some sections of the show have been updated and restructured and two new full-scale routines, utilizing props including tractor tire inner tubes and paint cans.

Come join us!  Tickets are still available (but moving quickly) at our website and at 217.206.6160.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Reflecting back and imagining the future

As each New Year dawns, I take the opportunity to reflect on the past and imagine the future.  Such is my lifelong habit regarding New Years.  But in very recent years, a lot of that reflection hinges upon the arts experiences I have had in the past year and will have in the year to come.  I wrote about this at length last January.  (Go ahead...please read it!) 

I remember that when my mother turned 50, she declared that she wanted to see more live arts events.  Year after year since then, she's made it happen.  She's seen a wider range of events than what she experienced prior to age 50, and I hope that range continues to widen for her.  

As a bona fide list-making geek, I keep track of the live events I see each year.  I get excited about seeing the annual number grow, as it did in 2014 (albeit by just a few, but still!)  But also, I get excited to consider the range of events I experienced.  Music.  Dance. Theatre.  Older styles.  New styles.  Amateurs.  Professionals.  Living legends.  New works.  Classics.  Reinterpretations.  Was I the oldest or youngest member of the audience, or something in between?  How many venues did I set foot in?  How many cities did I travel to in order to experience live performance?  

And then there's the question of what impact those performances had on me.  Some of that impact can't yet be measured.  It will take years to know the full impact.  

I look forward to 2015 and what the year's end list will look like for me.  I hope you look forward to your year-end list as well.  And I hope you'll get out and be a part of the arts by being a part of the audience this year.  

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Give the gift of entertainment!

Meaningful life experience, not stuff, is the greatest gift of all.

Anticipating an experience gives us time to imagine all the fun we're going to have on vacation or to begin savoring the steak from that new restaurant before we even walk through the door.  Anticipation drives the happiness.

As you're gift-buying this month, consider a Sangamon Auditorium gift certificate or choose an event and plan a night out with someone special in 2015.  Tickets and gift certificates are always available by calling 217.206.6160.  Gift certificates are also now available online.  (Gift certificates available in any increment when you call...only in specific increments when you buy online.)

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A special holiday event about coming together during conflict

Join us Monday, December 1 for the musical ensemble Cantus' performance, "All is Calm - The Christmas Truce of 1914."  The evening commemorates the memorable WWI Christmas truce when Allied and German soldiers laid down their arms to celebrate the holiday together.  Sharing the stage with Cantus will be three actors, who will bring to life the historical event through quotes and letters from thirty World War I figures.

"All is Calm - the Christmas Truce of 1914" commemorates a special event in history. 
Cantus is acclaimed as "the premier men's vocal ensemble in the United States" (Fanfare), committed to inspiring audiences with music performed at the highest level.  The adventurous programming of this nine-member group spans many periods and genres, but at "All Is Calm," we can expect music drawn from patriotic tunes, trench songs, medieval Scottish ballads and holiday carols from England, Wales, France and Germany.

Joining us in the lobby prior to the event will be Living Historians from the Illinois State Military Museum, student musicians from the UIS Camerata group, and the Sangamon Auditorium Student Club hosting a "Holiday Cards for Heros" table, where you can write a holiday note of thanks to a current serviceman or woman.

Please ask about veteran pricing when you call to purchase your tickets, as we are offering special pricing for veterans and their families!  Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

New Research Supports Educational Benefits of Attending Live Theater

According to a new study published in Education Next, attending a live theater performance has benefits for students that are greater than what can be achieved through traditional classroom teaching or even watching a movie of a performance.  Researchers followed students who attended performances of Hamlet or A Christmas Carol and measured greater literary knowledge, tolerance, and empathy as compared to students who read or watched movies of these stories.  As the researchers concluded:

“Culturally enriching field trips matter. They produce significant benefits for students on a variety of educational outcomes that schools and communities care about. This experiment on the effects of field trips to see live theater demonstrates that seeing plays is an effective way to teach academic content; increases student tolerance by providing exposure to a broader, more diverse world; and improves the ability of students to recognize what other people are thinking or feeling. These are significant benefits for students on specific educational outcomes that schools pursue and communities respect.”

Students attend Five Little Monkeys on the Class Acts series in spring 2014.
Sangamon Auditorium is pleased to be a local cultural institution that is able to offer educational arts experiences for students in central Illinois.  Our K-12 matinee series, Class Acts, is well into its third decade of presentations.  Each year, we welcome 10,000-20,000 students to the series.  Consider joining us for any and all of these events.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Professional Development Opportunities for K-12 Teachers

We are so pleased to be in our fifth year of partnership with Springfield Public Schools and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on our Partners in Education program, a professional development program for K-12 teachers.

Each year, Partners in Education has offered 2-4 activities for which teachers can earn credit hours toward their re-certification.  These professional development activities focus on integrating the arts (music, visual art, dance, and drama) with other curriculum areas.  The Kennedy Center describes arts integration in the following way:

Arts Integration is an approach to teaching
in which students construct and demonstrate understanding
through an art form.
Students engage in a creative process
which connects an art form and another subject area
and meets evolving objectives in both.  

Though we work directly with Springfield Public Schools to plan these professional development events, teachers from other districts are welcome and encouraged to attend.

This spring, we are working to make effective use of the school district’s new early dismissal policy by offering a series of one-hour sessions that can be attended by teachers remotely.  Teachers from Springfield Public Schools will gather in one location to participate.  Teachers from other schools are invited to attend with them if possible, although additional remote sites will most likely be acceptable as well.  To participate, teachers must connect to the workshop online IN REAL TIME.  After registering, you will be sent detailed instructions for how to join the sessions.

To receive the full content, you must attend all four sessions, 2:45-3:45 PM each day.
March 4
March 11
March 18
April 15

Cost: $15 per person, or $10 per person if two or more teachers from the same school register
4 credit hours

There’s more to a portrait than you might think. Portraits are often viewed as a mere depiction of a person when in actuality they can be read as biographies that communicate significant information about a person’s life. Join Melanie Rick, arts integration consultant and certified reading specialist, for this workshop that examines ways to teach students to view portraits as a visual text filled with meaningful symbolism in order to make the study of people and biographies more engaging. Reading portraits helps students activate and build background knowledge of, construct understanding of, and reflect on historical and literary figures across the curriculum.

For teachers of grades 1-5; teams of teachers are encouraged, especially visual art specialists combined with classroom teachers from their building.

Workshop Leader: Melanie Rick, a National Board Certified Teacher, certified Reading Specialist and arts integration consultant, designs and leads workshops, in-depth courses, and summer institutes focused on arts integration, specifically how to integrate visual art and poetry throughout the K-8 curriculum. She works in museums, schools, and arts centers across the country and is a course leader and coach for the Kennedy Center’s Changing Education Through the Arts (CETA) program in Washington, D.C. Melanie served as the CETA program as consultant, working with teaching artists to develop and evaluate workshops presented at the Kennedy Center, and was an elementary classroom teacher, middle school special ed teacher, and arts integration resource teacher before becoming a national consultant with Focus 5, Inc.

To register for this session, please call the Ticket Office at 217.206.6160 or email Carly Shank at  We are happy to answer your questions about this opportunity!