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Drama Students Reach Out To Community

Although drama students welcome all people to attend their productions, the school play isn't the only way that drama students interact with the local community.

Some high school drama departments perform for local elementary schools. At W.T. Woodson High School in Fairfax, the Drama 2 and 3 classes have an outreach program named "Takeout Drama." Students adapt folktales and fairy tales, send out a list or menu of their adaptations to K-3 school teachers, and teachers can then decide which tales to present, said drama teacher Terri Hobson.

At Vienna's Madison High School, drama teacher Natalie Vandever says that students are trying several new outreach opportunities this year. They recently formed a partnership with Thoreau Middle School, where high school students will help middle school students with acting. They will also perform for the Northern Virginia Adult Vocational Facility for people with special needs. The goals for that performance, said Vandever, is for students to perform in a different space and interact with people they wouldn't normally come into contact with.

"I feel that it's a really good opportunity," said Vandever. "Theater 2 students and the facility's social coordinator will work together so the audience can see their lives acted on stage."

Students at Oakton High School present "Tiny Tots" in December. Performed by drama, orchestra, and choir students, Tiny Tots invites area day care centers for $3 a child, said Oakton senior and drama student Kathy Cortes.

Other schools encourage their students to interact with the community by working on local productions and networking. Musical theater teacher Michael Replogle at Fairfax High School's Fairfax Academy requires students to try out for local productions in the area.

"I need them to know how to get a job," Replogle said. Fairfax Academy is a magnet school for the communication arts.

In addition to trying out for local productions, Fairfax Academy drama students perform at local malls and for other holiday events. Replogle says he would also like to take some of their productions to nursing homes and hospitals.

"They only get better by performing," Replogle said.