Parent Teacher Magazine Union County Public Schools March/April 2018 - Page 15

PRMS musical emphasizes inclusiveness, both on and off the stage On Feb. 8, the Porter Ridge Middle (PRMS) musical theatre troupe took to the stage and performed Shrek the Musical Jr. for more than 1,000 Union County Public Schools (UCPS) students. With their award-winning acting chops on full display, the actors danced across the stage and belted out songs that emphasized confidence, self-empowerment and the importance of simply being yourself. It’s a powerful message that PRMS chorus and musical theater teacher Bridget Burrows is passionate about and one that she wants all students to know. And it’s a message that has been incorporated into every part of the production, which also includes a cast of students in sixth through the eighth grades who have varying types of abilities. “We chose this musical because I wanted to do something different but also something that the kids could really buy into. So when I read Shrek and looked at the plot summary, I just felt that it is so parallel to what’s going on in our society today,” Bridget said. “Everyone feels judged and everyone is so judgmental, and there On Feb. 8, the Porter Ridge Middle (PRMS) musical theatre troupe took to the stage just needs to be equality with all of our kids.” and performed Shrek the Musical Jr. for more than 1,000 Union County Public Schools To help make the entire Shrek Jr. production (UCPS) students. an inclusive and interactive experience for all students, Bridget and the PRMS theatre troupe hosted its inaugural Shrek Special Music Festival in December, where they put on several workshops and performances for students who have disabilities. The event was made possible through a LIFT grant provided by the Union Education Foundation. at Eight Legs Gallery - 310 E. South Main St., Waxhaw The success of that event as well as the overall success of Ages 8-12 D Monday - Friday D 10-1 the diverse cast, which recently received an Excellence in Acting Camps start June 11th D 6 Sessions to choose from award at the Junior Theater Festival, is even further proof that the benefits of musical theatre are far-reaching for every student. “Our children need more than just inclusion; they need to Regist be able to interact with each other. And when you’re in musical er theatre and on stage, you have to interact with each other,” Early! Bridget said. “Theatre teaches all kinds of life skills that every Spaces student should have, and having the opportunity to offer this L imited experience to students of varying abilities is fantastic. This just ! shows that you should never put a limit on a student’s abilities.” After the performance, sixth grader Will VanCleave said that since getting to know each other during rehearsals and preparing for the show, the cast has grown to be much more than just casual friends. “We’re all so close now,” he said. “I only knew two people at first, but now we’re all like a family.” And when asked what she hopes students take away from the Work show, eighth grade cast member Carson Elliott said she hopes with a people realize that they never have to change for anyone else. Call To Register variety of “Just be yourself, that’s what we want people to take away s m iu d e m from the show,” she added. “And to remember that what makes Art Scouts Summer Camp us special makes us strong.” –This article was provided by the Union County Public Schools Communication Office. 704-771-6121 Belinda Muth, instructor Parent Teacher Magazine • Mar/Apr 2018 • 13