February 23, 2018.
by Stephen Sachs
When I wrote a story on this Fountain blog in February of this year, one week after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting, my goal was to point out that the high school’s drama club had prepared the young survivors in Parkland, Florida, to stand up in protest and have their voices heard. A drama class teaches more than just how to act. It teaches how to take action. Performing in a school play endows students with poise, self-awareness and empathy. All of which the protest leaders exhibited at huge rallies in the weeks and months following that tragic afternoon on their campus.
My February 23rd blog story, “Are you surprised that the young leaders of the Never Again movement are theatre kids? I’m not.”, was re-posted on the American Theatre website the same day. It went viral. Their site was deluged with so many views (100K+) it crashed the site for days. Readers were then re-directed to this Fountain blog, where we received more than 50,000 views. That story was the most-seen Fountain blog post, by far.
Today, American Theatre magazine announced that my post was their most-read story in 2018. Clearly, the piece struck a deep nerve at that time with theatre artists, students and drama teachers across the country. As this year now comes to a close, it’s gratifying to be reminded how art — and theatre, in particular — remains essential to the soul of us all. The benefits of art are abundant. Those students in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas drama club, and the many thousands of readers, young and old, engaged by my story prove that the passion and skill learned in a theatre class stay with us for the rest for our lives.
Stephen Sachs is the Co-Artistic Director of the Fountain Theatre.
Posted in Art, Arts, Arts education, arts organizations, Drama, Education, Fountain Theatre, Los Angeles, non-profit organization, performing arts, Theater, theatre
Tagged American Theatre, arts, Arts education, blog post, Florida, Fountain Theatre, high school, internet, Los Angeles, Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Parkland, Stephen Sachs, theater, theater class, theatre
The cast from ‘The Normal Heart’ chats with students and audience.
Students from Los Angeles County High School for the Arts attended a preview performance of The Normal Heart last Friday at the Fountain Theatre. Following the performance, the teenage students engaged the cast and director Simon Levy in a lively and thought-provoking discussion of the play and its themes. General audience members were also encouraged to join the post-show conversation.
The high school students asked questions of the professional artists about the creative process, how an actor prepares and develops a role, and the historical context of the play.
Actor Tim Cummings shares his thoughts with young people
“This kind of interaction between young students and professional artists is extremely important,” said Fountain Co-Artistic Director Stephen Sachs. “There is an entire generation of young people who have grown up with little awareness of important social and political movements that took place years before they were born. Providing them with access to see a well-performed play that brings these issues to dramatic life is at the core of our artistic mission. It’s what good theater can do.”
Parent Elizabeth Dennehy agrees: “Everyone needs to see this brilliant production. Specially our young who didn’t live through the fight, who have grown up in a world so used to the culture of HIV/AIDS it’s become mundane. Thank you Stephen Sachs, Fountain Theatre and Tim Cummings for an unforgettable night.”
The Normal Heart Now to Nov 3rd (323) 663-1525 MORE
Posted in Acting, actors, AIDS, Arts, arts organizations, director, Drama, Fountain Theatre, Gay, new plays, performing arts, plays, Theater, theatre
Tagged acting, actors, AIDS, Arts education, arts organizations, Bill Brochtrup, Dan Shaked, Elizabeth Dennehy, Fountain Theatre, high school, HIV, Jeff Witzke, Larry Kramer, Lisa Pelikan, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, outreach, performing arts, plays, Simon, Stephen Sachs, students, The Normal Heart, theater, theatre, Tim Cummings