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Students From Pawling Join State Theatre Conference

From left, Stephanie Rubino, executive director with Spotlight Arts, with students Cecilia Guida, Megan Campbell, Erin Vaughan, Cati Conway, Grace Curley, Sarah Borsari and Jessica Tocci.​ Photo Credit: Spotlight Arts
Grace Curley, a student with Spotlight Arts, participates in a workshop for "On Camera Acting" at the NYSTEA conference. Photo Credit: Spotlight Arts
Spotlight students Erin Vaughan, pictured on far left, and Megan Campbell, pictured on far right, participate in an "Alexander Technique" workshop, which was at the NYSTEA conference. Photo Credit: Spotlight Arts

BREWSTER, N.Y. -- Spotlight Arts Inc., a local youth theatre company based in Brewster, recently sent high school students from Brewster and Pawling to represent the theatre group at the New York State Theatre Education Association's 20th Annual Student Conference.

This is the second year that Spotlight Arts has sent students from Brewster and Pawling to the conference, which was held on Jan. 6 -8 at the Villa Roma Resort in Callicoon, N.Y.

NYSTEA -- a strong, statewide organization of theatre educators -- promotes and supports theatre education for students in grades pre-K through 12, according to a release from Spotlight Arts.

The conference creates an opportunity for approximately 800 high school students from all over New York State to come together for a full weekend of learning and peer interaction, the release said.

These students attend workshops given by colleges, universities and other theatre professionals, as well as networking with one another and experiencing a variety of performances throughout the conference.

For Student Conference delegates, this conference is a highlight of their high school career. In the more than 100 workshop offerings, students receive expert instruction in technical theatre, acting, dance and voice.

Meeting and sharing interests with other similarly-minded students from every region of the state is paramount in working collaboratively, gaining self-confidence and exploring new areas of learning, according to the release.

Spotlight Arts’ group of students each requested which workshops they wanted to participate in and were given their schedules on day one of the conference.

“My favorite workshop was my improv workshop because I got to act spontaneously with a lot of people I didn’t know the personalities of," explained Brewster High School sophomore Sarah Borsari. "It added a whole new perspective."

Grace Curley, also a Brewster High sophomore, said, “I learned so much from the NYSTEA conference and I now feel so much more confident with my acting skills and am inspired to continue to pursue it.”

NYSTEA believes that theatre is an essential component of a pre-K through 12 education for all students. Studying theatre in schools develops abilities needed for the 21st century, including critical thinking, problem-solving skills, applications of technology, social responsibility and creativity, the release said.

Spotlight Arts Inc. holds very similar values in its acting and musical theatre programs held in Brewster.

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