Pensacola Little Theater Arts Education Fundraiser Departure Is Here
Actors are known to be able to transform into a completely different person on stage. However, acting can sometimes also help a person change the scene.
Sid Williams-Heath, executive director of Pensacola Little Theater, has seen students stand up a little taller and speak a little louder after just a few acting lessons.
“Having a background and a foundation of integrating the arts into education is something that changes the way kids grow and think,” Williams-Heath said. “And so we want people to have both access and awareness that these things are in your backyard at the little local theatre.”
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Pensacola Little Theater has hired Topher Warren as its new Director of Education and Kimberly Scott as its new Director of Community Outreach. The recent hires, along with the theater’s upcoming severance fundraiser, are all part of an effort to make theater more accessible to all children from all walks of life.
Meet the new Director of Education
Warren has a few goals he wants to implement as director of education. Currently, the Theater Education program offers several theater classes divided by age groups, as well as an Advanced Improv Academy class.
Warren would also like to push for an expanded adult theater class and new classes focused on stage management and lighting, stage and sound design.
He would also like to break down acting classes into non-musical plays — for classic works of Shakespeare or Greek tragedies — and a musical theater class that incorporates song, dance and acting.
The theater has always been a safe haven for Warren.
He grew up in Gulf Breeze and was part of Little Theater from elementary through high school. He went to the University of West Florida and later toured the United States and Canada with the Missoula Children’s Theater. He then moved to Atlanta where he played and acted and got his first teaching job.
After three years, he returned to Pensacola and reconnected with the PLT community. When he heard that the Little Theater had an opening for a director of education position, he applied and got the job.
“I really wanted to create a space where kids felt comfortable so they could discover who they are and really explore a side of the arts that I think a lot of people find intimidating,” Warren said. “For me, that’s where I really have to create the best relationships because theater is such a vulnerable thing and that’s where you can kind of build those relationships with other people by sharing this common task, which is the theatre.”
Meet the new Director of Community Outreach
Scott is from Virginia but traveled to Pensacola to play basketball at Pensacola Christian College. After graduating, she spent three years teaching drama at the Dixon School of Arts & Sciences.
Her time in Dixon allowed her to introduce more people to theater and build a foundation as an artist, teacher and community advocate. This experience, along with her love for the arts and community interactions, motivated her to apply to Pensacola Little Theater.
“I’m so excited to be in this role as a black woman because I can provide perspective. And I love that they embrace that about me and I love being somewhere where I can be myself. “Scott said. “And being Black and working in the school system has given me ideas that help me work and move forward with different communities.”
Scott’s goal is to reach as many demographic groups as possible and find ways to incorporate them into Little Theater classes and experiences. She said she plans to visit local schools, libraries and organizations to talk about the program and said she will bring the spirit and energy of theater with her.
Scott said she hopes her efforts will result in a more diverse cast in Pensacola Little Theater productions and inspire others to get involved, especially young children.
“I think theaters should reflect the communities in which they perform,” Scott said. “I remember how encouraged and inspired I felt as a young performer when I saw a black person on stage, and I want our community to see themselves in our theater as well.”
prepare for departure
PLT will host its annual arts education benefit event, depARTure: A Cut Above the Rest, 5:30-7:30 p.m. Sept. 15 at the Pensacola Little Theater, 400 S. Jefferson St.
The event will have someone take home a $10,000 diamond from Elebash Jewelry Co. in a game to find the real diamond among the fakes.
The event will also feature the return of an annual travel giveaway, which this year includes a three-day trip to New York and a behind-the-scenes tour of Cartier and Nieman Marcus’ gemstone collection. Flights and hotel are included. Participants must be present to win the diamond but not the trip to New York.
For more information and to purchase departure tickets, go to pensacolalittletheatre.com/departure.