Monday, May 20, 2013

Extending the experience beyond the performance

During the 2012-2013 season, we were engaged by many great performances, but also by exciting exchanges between artists, patrons, sponsors, students, and educators that extended the experience of performance.
Princess Fiona greets audience members backstage at Shrek The Musical

  • To kick off the 2012-2013 season in style, we turned the performance of The Midtown Men into a grand event including a silent auction, pre-show dinner, and a special up-close performance by The Midtown Men for the dinner attendees.
  • Opportunities to interact with performers are always exciting experiences. Princess Fiona from Shrek The Musical met with several young fans before the performance, posed for photos, and answered questions about life as a professional actress. The smaller, more intimate setting of the Kitchen Sink series has created a casual post-show atmosphere where audience members can interact with the performers.
  • UIS students attending The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn were able to receive course credit by participating in a post-show discussion as part of the University’s Engaged Citizenship Common Experience program.
  • Whenever possible, we facilitate workshops and masterclasses, because they offer the opportunity for local artists to interact with and learn directly from professionals.
    • Young tap dance students worked with one of the greats, Savion Glover, to enhance their understanding of rhythm and meter.
    • Area guitar players attended a workshop with Stanley Jordan, learning about his practice methods.
    • A handful of local musicians and composers sat down with the members of Time for Three to discuss their creative process.
    • The Springfield Choral Society worked with Jace Wittig, music director of Chanticleer, in a master class setting to give more depth and emotion to pieces they were preparing for an upcoming concert.
  • The Class Acts series of daytime educational performances, sponsored by PNC Bank, welcomed nearly 14,000 students, teachers, and chaperones and the learning opportunities extended beyond just seeing the performances. Teachers were provided with study guides that connected the themes in the shows to subject areas beyond the fine arts, which helped them achieve Illinois State Learning Standards and develop 21st century skills.
  • Teachers have even more opportunities to broaden their experiences in fine arts by participating in professional development workshops. Sangamon Auditorium and Springfield Public Schools are a partnership team in the Kennedy Center’s Partners in Education program, and in 2012-2013, hosted workshops on topics including assessment in the arts, music of the Underground Railroad, and using shadow puppetry to enhance literacy.
  • Thanks to a generous grant from the PNC Foundation’s Grow Up Great initiative, all students in the Springfield Urban League’s Head Start program were introduced to arts and culture learning opportunities and attended two Class Acts performances. Sangamon Auditorium staff visited each Head Start classroom to read a story book and lead activities that would help prepare the young students for the experience of attending a live theatrical performance. The Head Start students, staff, and their families were also invited to attend the evening performance of 3-Legged Tale and participate in interactive craft projects in the lobby before the show.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Gearing up for a new season

It's a busy time of year at Sangamon Auditorium.  Though the stage may be cleared from our closing performance of the season, last night's Rock of Ages, we are busy, busy, busy as we look to what's coming up in the next month.

Here are the broad strokes about what's happening:

  • One month from today, the Springfield Muni Opera opens its summer season with the first-ever local community theater production of Les Miserables. Tickets for the Muni are sold through the Sangamon Auditorium Ticket Office and the entire season of events went on sale just this morning.  Tickets are available for purchase at 217.206.6160 or online.  
  • Our ushering and event staff are in the midst of a busy few weekends of high school and college commencements, which began with the UIS commencement exercises last Saturday.  Coming up, we will host SIU School of Medicine, and Pleasant Plains, Sacred Heart-Griffin, Auburn, North Mac, Rochester, and Williamsville High School exercises.  It's a lot of details to coordinate.  We are grateful to our fantastic volunteer staff who see us through these events!  
  • And finally...we look forward to announcing a new Performing Arts Season on May 30.  Watch the mail and media outlets for all the information about what you can expect from 2013-2014 at Sangamon Auditorium!