Tuesday, August 14, 2018     Volume: 19, Issue: 23

Santa Maria Sun / School Scene

The following article was posted on October 4th, 2017, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 18, Issue 31 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 18, Issue 31

Pioneer Valley drama students talk face to face with PCPA actor


Pioneer Valley High School drama students talked race, death, marriage, and professional theater on Sept. 29 with Derrick Lee Weeden, the Pacific Conservatory Theatre’s (PCPA) guest actor and lead in its recent production of Fences.

Pioneer Valley drama teacher Shawnah Van Gronigen said that on Sept. 21, many of her students watched Fences, a Pulitzer and Tony award-winning play that explores various intense themes, including infidelity, family relationships, and the social experiences faced by many black Americans.

“Well after we saw the play, we came back to class and started talking about it,” Van Gronigen said. “And the kids just love talking about it.”

Van Gronigen said that while Weeden spoke during her advanced acting class, all drama students were invited to attend. Weeden also talked about performing and the struggles that often come with a professional career in theater, a notoriously difficult path.

Van Gronigen said Pioneer Valley has had a few acting students go on to the PCPA, and several theater technology students. She said there are always some students interested in pursuing a serious theater career.

“But they realize how difficult that road is and that’s why it’s so cool to have someone like him who has made it,” Van Gronigen said. “He can tell them where he went to school, how to audition, and how to get an agent.”

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