Loudoun's high school theatre programs pivot to produce creative productions

Student actors at Woodgrove High School rehearse “Moonshine Murders,” written and produced with StageCoach Theatre Company.

Editor's note: A previous version of this story's headline incorrectly stated that both teachers teach drama. One teaches drama, and the other, music.

Wolf Trap National Park for Performing Arts has awarded grants to two Loudoun County fine arts programs for upcoming projects.

Addie Schafer Benko, a drama teacher at Woodgrove High School in Purcellville and Ashley Driscoll, a music teacher at Independence High School in Ashburn, are two of eight grant recipients in the Washington, D.C. area. 

Benko is working with her students to create a pop-up Purcellville museum which will connect art with dramaturgical research, while presenting a pre-show experience for their outdoor performance of "Oklahoma!" in mid-May. 

Driscoll, in conjunction with orchestra programs from all 17 county high schools, will meet virtually with guest musicians specializing in violin, viola, and cello to explore topics such as bow strokes, tone production, and vibrato.

As part of Wolf Trap's grants for high school performing arts teachers program, Wolf Trap will showcase these projects on its virtual stage platform.

“The arts teach resiliency, fosters collaboration, can be a forum for self-expression, and helps create a pathway toward a future career,” said Cate Bechtold, Director, Internships and Community Programs, Education for Wolf Trap in a prepared statement.

“The high school grants program goal is to recognize teachers who are developing creative, innovative programs for their students and providing them with support to help make the projects possible,” Bechtold said.

Awardees receive a financial grant in support of special projects that align with Wolf Trap’s performance and education priorities, including artist residencies, commissions, master classes, and technology in the arts. For more information about Wolf Trap’s High School Grants Program visit wolftrap.org/grants.

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