Welcome to Playbill's new initiative, PLAYBILLder Spotlight, highlighting shows and events from educational institutions around the country (who have used Playbill's program building service). By welcoming these PLAYBILLders center stage, we hope to give our readers a more in-depth look at theatre programs that are fostering the love of the performing arts in the next generation.
First to be featured is Clearfield High Theatre, of Clearfield Utah, and their production of The Yellow Boat. Based on the true story of playwright David Saar and wife Sonja's son, Benjamin, the play celebrates the child's talent for the visual arts and strength as he battles congenital hemophilia. Though Benjamin succumbed to AIDS-related complications in 1987, his story about art's power to transform is one of hope.
Fine Arts teacher Alyn Bone shared with Playbill why she feels lucky to be an arts educator right now, her advice for students as they take the stage, and how she and her students used PLAYBILLder to colorfully celebrate Benjamin's story.
Tell us a little bit about yourself. How many years have you been teaching?
Alyn Bone: I have been an educator for 27 years.
What is the most rewarding aspects of teaching the performing arts to today’s students?
I loved producing The Yellow Boat as it is about the power art has to transform thought and life. My students ran with this theme, and I believe they had an amazing experience. They allowed the art we made to transform them into better humans.
Can you share a little bit about the value you see in having a performing arts program in schools?
My job as an arts educator is to provide experiences where my students can participate in the humanities and become better citizens of the world through art. I love teaching theatre and directing. How lucky I am to have these student actors as my medium. I feel that they are such good story tellers, and have a vulnerability and sincerity on stage. It is nice to see them communicating something tangible with an audience.
I would love to see my program grow and involve more diversity and students. I am looking at ways to make our program accessible and exciting to a more diverse population.
Tell us a little bit about the production. Why did you pick The Yellow Boat?
We picked The Yellow Boat because it had ways to creatively incorporate an ensemble into the story. I choose plays that not only have characters that [the students] can relate to and perform, but also enable them to be actively involved in the production and have a significant amount of stage time.
What did your students love about this show, and what advice do you have for them as they take the stage?
My students love to create the visual pictures Benjamin talks about on stage using a variety of mediums. I want my students to focus, to have fun, and to share their story with their audience. As they take the stage, I often say, "Focus and have fun. It's called a play for a reason. Play!"
How did the students participate in the design or production of their Playbill?
I had a student, Cole Flinders, design the cover. Our theatre council secretary, Lizzy Handy, was very instrumental in including the names of each person and information about the play. The students designed the back drop for their headshots, which looked great with our sweatshirts this year. They loved this Playbill particularly because we designed it all in color. Benjamin was a colorful person, so we wanted that to show in all parts of our production.
To design Broadway-quality programs for your next show, head to PLAYBILLder.com. Who knows, you might just be featured in our next PLAYBILLder Spotlight!