Theatre Students Journey to the State Capitol

performing-arts-message-logo1Members of the Advanced Theatre Arts class and their teacher Mr. Patrick Williams journeyed to Sacramento for the California Youth in Theatre Day (CYIT) on March 12, 2013. Mater Dei attended CYIT because our scene from The Great Gatsby won first place at the CETA festival in January.

CYIT is a statewide celebration honoring the youth of California for their accomplishments in theatre arts and to acknowledge the many individuals and organizations that support and contribute to theatre education for all grade levels – school administrators, teachers, parents, legislators and other officials. Many students from Orange County will be heading up to Sacramento to speak with legislators about the importance of the Theatre Arts in our schools.

Enjoy some student perspectives from the trip as well as photos.

IMG_0129From Massimo Napoli (Nick Carraway in Gatsby), junior at Mater Dei High School

“Along with a speech from the event coordinator, Gai Jones, we heard speeches from politicians in support of the arts. They carried a similar theme, whether they did theatre in high school or wish they did, that knowledge and experiences in theatre are useful tools to have for politicians; echoing ideas pass to me by my theatre teacher Mr. Williams, that there is not a job in the world that does not utilize skills learned from working in theatre.

Advocates for theatre in school gave speeches fighting for a credential for theatre teachers and the continuance of theatre in all schools. One speaker, Craig Watson (Director of California Arts Council) was especially motivating, advising us to “not let anyone tell you theatre is an extra”; resulting in thunderous applause from the audience. 

At our first appointment with Senator Mimmi Walters we were surprised to find her in a meeting with the new bishop of our diocese, Bishop Kevin Van. Coming from a Catholic school, it was a great honor to meet and take a picture with our Bishop.”

IMG_0094From Austin Kendrick (Daisy Buchanan in Gatsby), sophomore at Mater Dei High School:

Monday afternoon March 11
“So far, it hasn’t really hit me that I’m going to the state capitol building to perform and advocate theater. All I’m thinking is, “Wow, I’m having such a great time with my friends” rather than “Wow, I’m about to perform our award-winning Great Gatsby scene and meet some of the most powerful people in the state of California.”

Tuesday afternoon March 12
I was almost surprised as to how many representatives have backgrounds in theater, and the advice they gave us about it. I especially took a close listen to my assemblyman from Huntington Beach, Travis Allen, who advised us who want to pursue theatre professionally to read up on as many books as possible and really educate ourselves on our craft.

Tuesday night March 12
It’s incredible to see how many people have been affected by and really do care about the arts. Likewise, it’s also incredible to see how easily they get cut when money is tight. But I hope that getting to express how theatre has changed my life has shown them why we need to keep theatre and the arts alive in our schools, and hopefully they’ll do just that. I was really inspired when Mr. Craig Cheslog the Principal Advisor to the California Sate Superintendent of Public Instruction he told everyone, “Students are important.”

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