Eboni Edwards, a junior Performing Arts and Musical Theatre major at Southern Arkansas University, will be attending Artists Striving to End Poverty (ASTEP), a weeklong workshop program held annually at the Julliard School in New York City.
Edwards, of Pine Bluff, Arkansas, will attend the program June 3-9. It will be her first time in New York.
ASTEP uses art to transform lives by connecting underserved youth with visual and performing artists. According to the Web site, ASTEP awakens imagination and fosters critical thinking among young people.
That would almost be enough in itself, but this is also a chance for me to grow my artistry
“We will have workshops with actors, cinematographers, and other artists, and we will be going to see a Broadway show,” Edwards said.
She looks forward to the experience of being in New York. “That would almost be enough in itself, but this is also a chance for me to grow my artistry,” she said.
Edwards, a graduate of Watson Chapel High School, said this is her year to go to New York after Alycya Thomas, a senior theatre major, received a travel scholarship in her sophomore year to attend the program’s Artist as Citizens Conference. Thomas was awarded the scholarship through Southern Arkansas University Foundation.
“I’ll be thinking of what I can learn and bring back to my fellow students at SAU,” Edwards said.
“I came to SAU because of the theatre department,” she said. “I love the small-town atmosphere, and the hands-on approach to musical theatre.”
She has had roles in SAU productions of “Madagascar” and “Hairspray,” and has also participated in local Magnolia Arts performances.
My degree will be a foundation for me to build on
Edwards has a passion for all aspects of acting, and her interests are expanding at SAU, as she has learned such behind-the-scenes skills as lighting and scenic design.
“My degree will be a foundation for me to build on,” she said. “I see myself getting into television and film, but I want to be kind of a jack-of-all-trades.”
Her theatre major is not only giving her the performance tools she needs but teaching her how to apply them in the real world. “I think it is preparing us for Broadway,” she said.
Edwards said the arts are a vital part of people’s lives, helping communities to bond and unite emotionally. “I want to be part of that,” she said. “SAU is helping me get where I want to be.”