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DTC's Educational Impact (posted 09-18-2013)

DTC's educational programs have a significant  impact the lives of students and local actors. For Brierley Resident Acting Company member Tiffany Hobbs and current Southern Methodist University undergrad McClendon Giles, acting was something that drew them in at a young age.
 

"I started acting in fifth grade when I got accepted to John S. Davidson Fine Arts School in Augusta, Georgia," says Hobbs.  "My first class was Drama Fundamentals with Betty Walpert, who would teach me through my senior year at the school and become one of my greatest mentors."
 
Giles shares a similar experience. "One of my first memories is appearing on stage as a Narrator," he says. "I went to private schools that taught a lot of classical music and put on a Greek play or two. By the time I was in middle school I was hooked and in high school I could hear a little voice telling me acting is what I was meant to do."
 
Both Hobbs and Giles, who are in DTC's production of A Raisin in the Sun, gained a great deal of theatrical experience throughout their middle and high school years. Both continued on this path in college, and though they are from different parts of the country and at different stages in their careers, they both have enjoyed a close educational connection with Dallas Theater Center.

Tiffany Hobbs and cast members from Cabaret.
Photos: Karen Almond

 
"I attended Lakeview Centennial High School in Garland, which participates in DTC's Project Discovery," says Giles. He calls the program a "financial, cultural and social blessing."
 
"Having the opportunity to see four years of provocative, beautiful, and at times wonderfully overwhelming theater really helped put the world, theatrical and otherwise, in perspective for me," he says. "I was especially thankful for all of the one-on-one educational time professionals were willing to take with me."
 
Hobbs first experience with DTC happened during her time in the SMU Meadows School of the Arts MFA program. 
 
"DTC played a pretty significant part in my educational experience during my career at SMU," she says. "I was cast in A Christmas Carol and Cabaret during my second year at there. Following that, I was asked to take part in the first Stagger Lee workshop. DTC was my first experience in professional and regional theater, and it was here that I found myself in a number of priceless opportunities that encouraged my growth as an aspiring professional actress."
 

Ptosha Storey (front, right) and cast members from Crowns.
Photos: Linda Blase

Ptosha Storey, who plays Ruth in A Raisin in the Sun and has previously appeared on the DTC stage in A Christmas Carol and Regina Taylor's Crowns, thinks DTC's education partnerships with Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts and SMU are incredible to the students they serve. She attended the Arts Magnet and SMU prior to the partnerships.

"A young lady came up to me recently and told me she'd be shadowing me during the rehearsal process as part of her involvement with the Skokos Learning Lab at the Arts Magnet," says Storey. "This program gives students the opportunity to experience the real world of acting while they are still learning the craft. It's such a gift. And the fact that DTC is not only open to these opportunities for students, but encourages them is really so cool."
 

DTC's involvement with these schools extends beyond a student's time in school. After Hobbs received her MFA from SMU in May 2012, DTC Artistic Director Kevin Moriarty offered her a position in DTC's Resident Acting Company and on the administrative staff as the local casting director. 

Giles also hopes to have a continued relationship with DTC. "Let's just say, I plan on seeing a lot more of those versatile spaces under the lights at the Wyly as the years go on."
 
A Raisin in the Sun gives everybody the chance to get a glimpse of those spaces now and to see the positive effects of DTC's education partnerships. Tickets to the show are on sale now at DallasTheaterCenter.org or by phone at (214) 880-0202. The play runs in rotating rep with Clybourne Park through October 27.
 
 
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