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Thunder Bay Theatre Unveils New Education Initiative: TBT^2

Submitted by Phil Heimerl on April 21, 2017 – 12:10 amNo Comment


On Saturday afternoon, Thunder Bay Theatre unveiled its new educational initiative, TBT^2: Thunder Bay Theatre Theatrical Based Training.

A program that has been in development for close to six months, Thunder Bay Theatre has put together what it believes to be a four-point plan to lead young performing artists into a life in the theatre whether it be professional or recreationally.

TBT^2 has a specific mission that focuses on providing students with the best theatre training possible. TBT^2 is comprised of four programs: the annual youth production, educational tour, workshops and summer camps, and high school production.  The four-point plan consists of an introduction to theatre, preparation for the pursuit of a degree in theatre, training in a four-year university setting, and finally retention as a paid employee back in Alpena.

Students are introduced to the theatre at ten years old when they can audition for their first youth production, which is performed by students from ten to twenty-one and designed, directed, and produced at the professional theatre.  Students then receive proper training by working their way through the ranks as members of the Masquers Club, whose annual high school musical is directed, designed, and produced by the professional theatre in addition to being eligible for ensemble roles in the Theatre’s mainstage productions.

The organization believes that this experience gives them the tools to train at a four-year university pursuing a theatre degree, which will eventually lead to employment back at home at Northeast Michigan’s only year-round professional theatre before moving on to a larger metropolis such as New York, Chicago, or Detroit.

From the practical perspective, the in-house productions in which the students are directly affected are augmented by the success of the annual educational tour, workshops, and summer camps.

Artistic Director Jeffrey Mindock had this to say, “Thunder Bay Theatre and now TBT^2 serves an important need in our community. The young performing artists in Alpena have always had the passion to pursue the arts professionally, and our organization is extremely proud to reward their efforts by putting together our own commitment to their passion.  The arts live and die with each new generation, and it is our responsibility to continue to cultivate and educate performing artists in this region on the same level that students in the greater metropolitan regions are being instructed.”

Thunder Bay Theatre’s 2017 Spring Educational Tour is serving 3,000 students across the Northern Michigan region in Alcona, Alpena, Benzie, Emmet, Grand Traverse, Leelanau, and Montmorency counties.

For 2018, TBT^2 will be offering three shows and hoping to reach as far South as Saginaw, and as far North as the U.P.  The tour is supported by The Alpena County Fair, The Besser Foundation, The Comstock Fund of the First Congregational UCC of Alpena, The Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation, Family Enterprise Inc., Neiman’s Family Market, and The Petoskey Harbor-Springs Area Community Foundation.

Learn more about TBT^2 and Thunder Bay Theatre’s educational initiatives at http://www.thunderbaytheatre.com/tbt2.html.

Follow Thunder Bay Theatre on Facebook and Instagram using the #tbayt.

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