Theater in Education program hosts workshops for Cherokee students

CULLOWHEE – The Theatre in Education Program at Western Carolina University recently hosted two theatre arts workshops in the new Fine and Performing Arts Center for middle school students from Cherokee.

Glenda Hensley and Claire Eye, faculty members from Western’s department of communication, theatre and dance, designed the Oct. 27 and Nov. 10 workshops, attended by 25 Cherokee Middle School eighth-graders. Marie Cochran of WCU’s art department led integrative sessions and gave students a tour of the Fine Arts Museum.

Cherokee Middle School students act out scenarios with Western theatre students during a recent Theatre in Education workshop.

Cherokee Middle School students act out scenarios with Western theatre students during a recent Theatre in Education workshop.
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“Research proves the arts enhance learning through meaningful and relevant experience. Experiencing this reality first-hand, with middle school students performing better in classroom reading and writing activities because of Theater in Education, is rewarding,” said Hensley. “Theater in Education gives Western students an opportunity to share their learning and passion with the community, which is an absolute thrill.”

Theater in Education is creativity in action, producing quality, educationally relevant theatre for youth, she said. The TIE program integrates the collaborative efforts of several WCU departments and programs – the departments of communication, theatre and dance; art; music; education; service learning; and Cherokee studies. The Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians also is providing support.

Theatre arts workshops will continue in the spring 2006 semester, including a production of “Young Cherokee,” a play for young audiences.

The workshops are designed to enhance student engagement and service learning. Working with WCU students, eighth-grade participants explored character and story development through theatre and art. Cherokee Middle School teachers Debra Forrest and Joe Turnin participated with their students.

For information on the Theater in Education Program at Western, contact program coordinator Glenda Hensley at (828) 227-2469 or ghensley@email.wcu.edu.