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Theater Director Celebrates 10 Years at Flint Hill

When drama teacher and theater director, Carlo Grossman, began working at Flint Hill School, the school was only two years old, with a new campus on the corner of Chain Bridge Road and Jermantown Road in Oakton. The music/drama room on the second floor — about the size of a double classroom — served as a school meeting place, a classroom and a theater. There was a small stage at one end of the room on which tall actors were in danger of hitting there heads on the ceiling, and a crowd of six actors could completely fill the stage. Ten years later, things have changed for Flint Hill and Grossman.

In 1997, the 299-seat Olson Theater was completed as part of the school's activities center, and productions of larger scope and breadth were able to be mounted. Beginning with a school-wide production of "The Wizard Of Oz," Grossman has directed a wide variety of plays — from Shakespeare's "As You Like It" to Beth Henley's "Crimes of the Heart." With plans in development for the construction of a new performing arts center on the recently completed upper school campus on Jermantown Road, Grossman anticipates a new and expanded level of production.

Prior to coming to Flint Hill, Grossman was a professional actor, director and company manager. For 15 years, he was a member of the Magic Carpet Theatre of San Francisco, a company that toured across the United States and performed at international theater festivals. He came to the Washington area to become the artistic coordinator for Peace Child Foundation, an international exchange program that brought American and Soviet students together to create and perform musical plays about nuclear disarmament, world peace, and the environment.

Grossman has directed programs in Russia, the Ukraine, Hungary and Czechoslovakia. For three years, he was director of City at Peace, the Washington, D.C., performing arts program that brings together young people of diverse backgrounds for racial understanding, conflict resolution, and local youth issues. His television credits include a series on Nickelodeon.

In his 30 years of working with young people, perhaps his strongest memory is of the first time he directed in the Soviet Union in 1988. "I was leading a group of idealistic students and a small staff. We were led to believe they were an 'evil empire.' When we met with our Soviet counterparts, we all knew that we had been misled. We embraced each other and went on to create a beautiful show that made Soviet audiences weep. This I will always remember."