By Tim Smith
It is not too often that I single out an organization for a majority of this space, yet this week, I will make an exception as TheatreSquared, (T2) Fayetteville, Arkansas is making an impact not only on theater production in Northwest Arkansas, but on the professional not-for-profit theatre landscape.
I am particularly impressed with their stated commitment to education where at a recent celebration, they raised funds that will support the programming highlighted below.
Before beginning that bullet point summary, for my newer readers, I will always embrace the opportunity to share that I began my career out of college, Drury University, Springfield, Missouri, teaching theater arts at the high school in nearby Rogers, Arkansas. I would later earn a master's in theater from the University of Arkansas, located as well in Fayetteville.
Each of those experiences built the foundation for work that included professional theater and eventually to a second career in human resource management, with an emphasis in training and development.
Returning to the T2 celebration that focused on the following. (Information provided by T2)
Arkansas Schools Tour: T2 brings original plays to 85 schools and 20,000 students each year, from Southeast Missouri to Northwest Arkansas to the Delta.
Word/Play: Professional artists go in-depth in the classroom during semester-long residencies.
Teacher Training: T2 artists work with Arkansas teachers, sharing theater-based techniques to help them engage students in every subject area.
Lights Up: 10,000 free and discounted tickets for students and low-income community members for every performance, all season long.
Theater is alive and well in NW Arkansas, and I could not be prouder than to have been a small part of that emerging history.
"A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood," a new film on the lasting impact of Mr. (Fred) Rogers will be opening on November 22nd and I ran across a quote from Fred Rogers when he was being inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in February 1999:
"But how do we make goodness attractive? By doing whatever we can do to bring courage to those whose lives move near our own – by treating our 'neighbor' at least as well as we treat ourselves and allowing that to inform everything that we produce.
“Who in your life has been such a servant to you...who has helped you love the good that grows within you? Let's just take 10 seconds to think of some of those people who have loved us and wanted what was best for us in life-those who have encouraged us to become who we are tonight-just ten seconds of silence. No matter where they are – either here or in heaven – imagine how pleased those people must be to know that you thought of them right now."
This week's art definition is attributed to Michelangelo from Art's Responsibility: "Above all, artists must not be only in art galleries or museums – they must be present in all possible activities. The artist must be the sponsor of thought in whatever endeavor people take on, at every level."
"Breaking Inquiry" (??): Late on the afternoon of Tuesday, November 12th I received a text from one of our sons asking if we had signed up for (the new streaming service) Disney +. I shook my head in wonderment at how far out of the digital age I somehow had strayed.
Stay 'tuned in' on the Disney organization's trend-setting entry into what appears to be an already saturated marketplace.
Passing thought: What did intrigue me a short time later is that our son seemed excited about the fact that he could watch so many of the Disney classics that he grew up with – he was paying attention all those years ago. I think Disney understands that, we shall see.
Celebrating the foundations that sustain us, in and around our towns.
Welcoming you into the room and provoking conversations since '06 (for HP)
See you in the paper.
t A s