Highland student attends theater camp

Wednesday, August 29, 2018
Pictured are Highland student Lillie Hall and former Highland Drama Department teacher John Smith. Smith traveled to Fayetteville to show support for Hall while she was at camp.

Highland High School Sophomore, Lillie Hall, was one of 20 students across the state to be invited to attend SUMMERSTAGE at TheaterSquared in Fayetteville earlier this summer.

According to the group’s website, “SUMMERSTAGE is an eight-day, full-immersion residential AEGIS program made possible through a grant from the Arkansas Department of Education, and offered at no cost to all accepted participants,” the site reads. “This program is designed to offer students a unique exposure to nontraditional methodologies of creating theatrical performance, placing them in the dual role of writer and performer. Students will work with professional playwrights, poets, directors, musicians and actors to explore the process of creating a unique theatrical performance, working collaboratively as an ensemble to devise an original script that will be rehearsed for an end-of-session showcase.” 

Hall said in order to be selected, she wrote and performed an original song, which she recorded with the help of A.K. Barnes.

“I put the recording on YouTube and sent it in and that was my audition. It was a basic teen love song,” Hall said.

On July 7, Hall traveled to Fayetteville to begin the eight-day event filled with classes and professionals with a desire to help students grow in their talents and skills.

“Theater is an open space where you can say what you want, think what you want without it having to be a fact or reality. There’s freedom in it. The first production I’d ever seen was when I was in elementary school when the high school put on Annie. After that I started asking my parents if we could go see plays, musicals and any type of shows,” Hall said.

Hall said she hopes to grow into an acting career whether it be on stage or on screen.

“While I was there, I learned a lot. For example, doing improvisation, they taught us not to try to be funny, to just let it flow and if it happens, it happens. With creative writing, they taught us to put more emotion and that it’s not a bad thing to show emotion,” Hall said. “My favorite part was to be around so many talented people. We all have the common interest of theater and the arts and singing with them was amazing. We have a group chat and keep in touch.”

Upon returning to school for the semester, Hall said she has been able to share some of the things she learned with her peers.

“Anyone who is interested in theater really should try out for it. It’s a great place,” Hall said. “Wherever I go in life, I just want theater to be a part.”

More than 800 applications were submitted by students from around the state to attend the camp.

Hall is pictured on front page with former teacher, John Smith.

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