Shelby Carl recently combined her love of theatre and teaching to bring creative arts to students at McNeil Elementary School.
“I wanted to bring the two things that I love together,” said Carl, a senior theatre major and English minor at Southern Arkansas University, Magnolia. “I approached Deebe Milford about doing something with the arts for my senior project. This was a way to help her and provide students an opportunity to participate in creative arts.”
Carl and several other students worked with about 119 students for four Fridays at the school.
“I had lots of help from the College of Education,” said Carl.
The first week, Carl introduced the students to what a play is all about and presented each class with the classic “Hansel and Gretel.”
“A lot of them had never seen a play before,” she said.
During the second week, Carl discussed the characters and had the students recreate the characters on butcher paper. The drawings are now on display in the cafeteria at McNeil Elementary School.
Students then talked about the plot and theme of the book, and during the final week they learned about voice and movement.
“My goal was to enrich reading and writing through drama,” said Carl. “And I think we accomplished that.”
When the McNeil students visited the SAU campus for a learning fair, they were treated to a performance of “Hansel and Gretel.”
“I wanted the students to be familiar with the people who played the characters in the play,” said Carl. “I wanted the students to realize that the actors were real people and not any different than they are.”
Carl would like to give a special thanks to Bobby Ford, the principal at McNeil.
“He backed me 100 percent from the beginning,” she said. “His enthusiasm and dedication to his students made this project so successful.”
Milford will present the whole project at the national Kappa Delta Pi convention in Orlando, Fla., in the fall of 2005.
After graduating in May, Carl will serve as an intern this summer at the Virginia Reperetory Theater. She will student direct and perform in the ensemble of “The Beauty and the Beast.”
In the fall, she will attend Old Dominion and pursue a master’s degree in early childhood education.
While at SAU, Carl has served as a President’s Ambassador for two years, performed in a variety of plays, sung in the choir, and was inducted into Sigma Tau Delta, Alpha Chi, and Kappa Delta Pi.