Orlando Family Stage (Orlando REP) is proud to announce a new and exciting partnership with the University of Central Florida (UCF). Undergraduate students in the BA Theatre program can now enroll in the “Orlando Family Stage Experience.” This unique collaboration allows students to register in independent studies that focus on giving them professional teaching artist experiences at Orlando REP. This opportunity not only strengthens the already established partnership between both institutions, but also expands on the commitment and core value that Orlando Family Stage has to provide exceptional quality training to teaching artists in our community.
This is not the only partnership Orlando Family Stage has with UCF. For 15 years MFA students in the Theatre for Young Audiences program at UCF have gained professional experience as working artists at Orlando Family Stage. This exclusive program has always been limited to graduate students, so being able to extend a new and different opportunity to UCF students has added a new level of Teaching Artist training to the Orlando REP’s repertoire of professional development. Elizabeth Brendel Horn, an Assistant Professor in TYA at UCF and lead coordinator for the Orlando Family Stage Experience, has championed this partnership to fruition. As a former student in the MFA TYA program herself, she understands the importance of collaboration and believes that “UCF graduate students in Theatre for Young Audiences receive incredible opportunities through our partnership with Orlando REP; it seemed like a natural fit to think about how we could create a formal experience for undergraduate students, too. Orlando Family Stage provides thorough training to its teaching artists and innovative educational programming. Helping students develop those skills and build connections with Orlando Family Stage staff members and teaching artists is already proving so valuable to their education and career goals.”
The students chosen for this pilot semester will receive a vast array of experiences and opportunities that include working as Teaching Artist assistant in the classroom, participating in professional development workshops, observing story drama lessons in the community, coaching on how to create lesson plans, and so much more. Mia Strickland, a participating UCF student, shared that she is “excited to learn more about my own abilities to teach and create art, and Orlando Family Stage is the perfect place to accomplish this, as it provides me the opportunity to learn and teach throughout the semester.” Michelle Hamilton, another participating UCF student, shared that her “personal goal this semester is to really connect my own experiences to what I’ll learn while working with Orlando REP, as well as have a better understanding of how that relates to Theatre for Young Audiences.”
Being that Orlando Family Stage is the only professional theatre for young audiences in the state of Florida, it is very important for all teaching artists-in-training to receive as much hands-on experience and feedback as possible. Participating UCF student, Megan Ramsey, shared that “it is one thing to watch or shadow a teaching artist, but I have already gained valuable hands-on experience teaching theatre.” The staff at Orlando Family Stage prides itself in creating a safe community culture where vulnerability, voice, and risk-taking are both embraced and encouraged. Participating UCF student, Cameron Silverman, shared that “I know everyone here wants to help my peers and I succeed. The knowledge and passionate staff along with Orlando REP’s fantastic resources will definitely help me achieve my goals.”
|Michelle Hamilton is very excited to work with the Orlando Family Stage Theater! She is currently a first-year transfer and junior at the University of Central Florida. Michelle is majoring in Theatre Studies and minoring in dance, and plans to have a career in directing and choreography after graduation. She hopes to one day travel the world and share her love for theatre with others. She is very grateful for her opportunity to independently study at Orlando REP!|
|Megan Ramsey is a senior at the University of Central Florida studying Theatre in the School of Performing Arts with a minor in Creative Writing. She is the current Vice President of Theatre UCF’s sketch comedy team Quadruple Stuffed Oreos, she performs with the musical improv troupe Murphy Bed Surprise, and she previously completed a week-long residency with the touring cast of The Second City- Chicago. Megan also has previously worked with Patel Conservatory and Abba Dabba Entertainment as a teacher’s assistant. She is excited to spend her semester with Orlando Family Stage and explore what it means to teach theatre!|
|Cameron Silverman is trilled to begin working with the amazing Orlando REP! He is currently a Sophomore studying Theatre at UCF and plans to continue in the Theatre for Young Audiences field. He was worked with the education department at the Lake Worth Playhouse in South Florida over previous summers and is excited to enter the world of TYA in Orlando. In addition to theatre education, Cameron is interested in performing as well and can be seen in shows throughout the Orlando area.|
|Mia Strickland is a BA Theatre student with a minor in Performing Arts Administration at the University of Central Florida, graduating December 2020. She is originally from Clearwater, Florida where she attended the Pinellas County Center for the Arts. She has previously worked at Ruth Eckerd Hall and the Patel Conservatory at the Straz Center. Past theatrical credits include Evita, Pippin, All the Way, and Les Miserables. Following graduation from UCF, she plans to pursue a master’s degree in arts administration.|
Through these one-of-a-kind experiences, students can graduate with knowledge and teaching artistry experiences that provide them with a unique skill set as they step into the workforce. Orlando Family Stage is hopeful that this partnership will only strengthen its already robust teaching artist training program and provide more opportunities in this area of specialization for artists throughout the Central Florida community.
To learn more about the REP Experience, Internships, or Teaching Artist positions, contact [email protected].