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Home » Santa Clarita News » Theatre Project Brings Pro Arts Education To SCV

Theatre Project Brings Pro Arts Education To SCV

Sponsors come on board to help offer outreach programs.

In the 2008/2009 season, The Theatre Project SCV will continue current educational programs with plans to expand their outreach. McDonalds of Santa Clarita and Lou and Rita Garasi have pledged their support.


Launched in August of 2006, The Theatre Project SCV goal has been to bring professional theatre artists to the community. Producers of An Evening with Stephen Schwartz, starring Ben Vereen and The World Goes ‘Round, directed by Kay Cole last fall, the company has developed several educational programs to support their mission.


“As a teacher in the Santa Clarita Valley for over six years,” says Mark Salyer, Co-Producing Director, “ I have always been impressed with the talent level of the local students I have encountered. Our vision includes professional training for this community.”


Master Classes and Workshops

Last summer, The Theatre Project SCV provided Master Classes and workshops for the College of the Canyons summer theatre production course. National and internationally known teachers, including Jean Louis Rodrigue (Alexander Technique, Broadway’s The Syringa Tree), Will Kilroy (Director of the Michael Chekov Institute) and Tony Abatemarco (Actor and Director of Broadway’s Lucifer’s Child with Julie Harris), provided outstanding, extra instruction for students.

Andrea Slominski, Co-Producing Director said, “We were so delighted with the program last year. More than 80 students participated in the COC Theatre Department’s summer production! It was a huge success and incredibly rewarding for students and instructors alike!”


This year’s program features many returning artists with additional teachers including Kay Cole (original Maggie in Broadway’s A Chorus Line), Georgia Stitt and David Kirshenbaum. COC Presents and the COC Theatre Department will present a workshop of Stitt and Kirshenbaum’s new musical Sing Me a Happy Song on June 14 as part of the class with The Theatre Project SCV as Educational Sponsor.

McDonald’s of Santa Clarita, sponsored The Theatre Project SCV’s artists last summer and has agreed to co-sponsor again this year. In addition, Lou and Rita Garasi and Jerry and Melissa Wharton have signed on to support the classes.

The Whartons, co-founders of Appalachian Children’s Theatre in Virginia, are sending one of their students to participate in this year’s program and the two organizations are partnering to bring similar programs to underserved communities nationwide.


“We’ve been so happy to support the College of the Canyons summer program with our artists,” said Salyer.  “The COC program is inclusive and affordable to students. We hope to be able to bring this same dynamic to our nationwide program.”


Professional Internships

In 2006 and in 2007, The Theatre Project SCV provided professional internships to high school and college students in the area. Mission View Public Schools was one of the sponsors of the program which, since its inception, has given over 30 young people the opportunity to work with professionals in areas of performance and production.


“We believe in paid internships as a means to pass on the art of theatre to the younger generation. To have a student on stage with Stephen Schwartz or Ben Vereen or to be in rehearsal with a Broadway artist like Kay Cole…it’s an experience they will never forget,” says Slominski.



Annie Schwartz, co-owner Origin Talent, will launch The Theatre Project’s Career Seminars on June 28 with an afternoon for young people 13 – 21 who are considering working professionally in theatre, television and film.

Schwartz, who has over thirty years of experience as an agent, will offer information and advice on agents, managers, headshots, training and cold readings. The company hopes to produce similar seminars throughout the season to allow students to be exposed to the business aspect of working professionally.


Many other educational programs are on the horizon for The Theatre Project SCV, including the development of a conservatory for professional training, artists in the schools, free performances for local schools, a year-round paid internship program and after-school enrichment courses.


“We have such a great opportunity to bring the best of the best to this community, “ says Salyer. “We can’t begin to thank all the individuals and corporations who share our vision.”


For more information regarding any of The Theatre Project SCV’s programs or to inquire about becoming an Educational Sponsor, visit the website

Theatre Project Brings Pro Arts Education To SCV

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