During the month of January, West Middle School was visited by artists from the Long Island University Tilles Center for the Performing Arts as a part of the Girls Inc. Operation SMART Curriculum. The girls were first visited by Heather Drastal, the General Manager from the Theatre department and an LIU student, Logan. Heather and Logan spoke about techniques from an engineering perspective to enhance the performing arts, focusing on lighting, set, sound, costume, cast, and make up The following week, the girls worked with Lyle Cogen, who is the theater teaching artist, to foreshadow what the girls would experience when they visited the Tilles Center to see the production titled, “Jabber.”
On February 2nd, the girls took a trip to the Tilles Center on Long Island University’s campus to attend the “Jabber” performance. The girls were wide eyed and full smiled as they toured the campus and asked questions about college and how they could attend the school when they graduated high school years from now. After the tour of the campus, the girls watched the live production “Jabber” in the theater. “Jabber” is a story of a young Muslim girl who is ostracized for wearing her hijab. As the girl navigates through everyday life, the audience explores the judgement and assumptions we make based on each other’s perceived differences. After the production, girls were given an exclusive backstage tour hosted by Stephanie Turner, Director of Education and Outreach at the Tilles Center. The girls saw the types of theaters that the Tilles Center has, the dressing room, the green room, the costume room, and they were able to stand on stage and see what it takes to set up a production. Some of the girls were even interviewed by the Tilles Center camera crew. We are so thankful for this amazing partnership with the LIU Tilles Center!