BY SARAH STEPHENS, OWNER/EDITOR EAN
You could almost say it is Christmas in February for the Stanhope Elmore High School Theater program!
The school received word this week that the SEHS Mustang Players Theater group has been given a $15,000 grant that will allow them to do a multitude of things to advance their program.
Thanks to the talents of SEHS Teacher Susanne Harrison who penned the grant, Theater Director Brady Walker is over the moon with excitement on receiving the funding.
“Susanne wrote a grant to the Daniel Foundation for $15,000 for our theatre program to help purchase props, sets, costumes, lights, sound equipment…anything to advance the theater program. It will allow me to also use this as a teaching tool,” Walker said. “With high school theater students, they can be exposed to acting. But they don’t always get much of the other side, the behind the scenes activities that most people never see. Everyone that works behind the scenes makes the production a success. This will allow me to teach technical theater, lighting design, to the students. This grant also requires me to do a summer camp with students this summer. And we can apply again for this grant. We have to spend all $15,000 by October so we can reapply. We have to document everything and stay true to the grant to keep it coming.”
Walker has his hands in a lot of theatrical pies, so to speak. On top of his work with SEHS, he is also going to be working with a Children’s Workshop with the Prattville Way Off Broadway Theatre in March. He is also going to be direct the play “Murder on the Orient Express” through WOBT.
“It has been very crazy and busy, but I am loving every minute of it,” Walker said. “I do a lot outside of schoolwork in the community. But nothing beats seeing kids succeed and love what they are doing.”
The check for the grant arrived today, Feb. 11, as well as scripts for the Players’ next two productions.
“It really was like Christmas in February today,” Brady said laughing.
Add to that…one of Walker’s students, Will Walker, recently learned he has received a $32,000 scholarship to attend AUM, majoring in Theatre, with a secondary major of English Language Arts Education. He will sign his letter of intent Feb. 12 at the school. (We will be covering that and have much more information.)
And, Walker said that Harrison is not satisfied with the one grant for the Arts at SEHS, and is working on applying for a second, separate grant. Susanne’s husband, Lonnie, is a theater director at St. James, so Susanne is a huge supporter of the Arts.
“I cannot even express how proud I am of my students. I love seeing kids succeed. Whole foundation of teaching. It is a calling,” Walker said.
The Players are now working on their last two shows for this year. The “Carol Burnette Dinner Theater” event and the musical production “She Loves Me” are in the works and we will have more information to come on those events in future articles.