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Posted: 10/16/13

ATWAS forms partnership
with Stratford professionals

CAST students also perform at
Disney World's Waterside Stage

Observer Special Writer
      Student performers and the staff from All The World's A Stage (ATWAS) have earned recognition from some big names in the industry.
       ATWAS, a school of dramatic and performing arts located in Romeo and Clinton Township, recently formed a partnership with world renowned theater professionals and trainers from Stratford. Stratford is best known for its dedication to preserving the plays written by William Shakespeare and other artists from the classical era. For over 60 years, the works of Shakespeare and others have been performed every summer at the Stratford Festival, in Stratford, Ontario Canada. In addition, Stratford is dedicated to educating actors and actresses of every age in the classical theater repertoire. Although students from all over the world attend classes and workshops at Stratford, it is a big honor for ATWAS to be chosen as a partner for their training.
       "Most of the schools they partner with are Ontario schools," said Lou Fazzini, executive director and founder of ATWAS. "So we are thrilled that they recognize us as more than just a small local theater group here in the U.S."
       At the beginning of September, Fazzini, artistic director, Lisa Dobbin, and Mary Kay Hake, the associate director for ATWAS, went to Stratford for a 3-day training workshop. About 24 students from ATWAS then traveled to Stratford to attend a Sept. 7 workshop, where they had group and one-on-one classical theater training. The students were also treated to a performance of Romeo and Juliet.
       Sometime this month, actors from Stratford will be coming to Michigan to train the ATWAS students in their own studio and prepare them for a performance they will then give in Stratford in November.
       "We don't know the exact date yet, but it will be this month so the kids have time to practice what they learn from the Stratford actors," Fazzini said. "It is a 4-tier training program, ending with the students' performance."
       Fazzini said the training the kids receive from the Stratford actors will benefit their future endeavors in theater arts education and performance.
       "Being trained at Stratford will look good on their college applications and resumes. I feel good about the impact this has on their future."
       A group of 24 students from the school's Community Arts Service Troupe (CAST) also traveled with their parents and ATWAS staff to perform at the Walt Disney World's Waterside Stage.
       "This was the highlight<for all of us it was a culminating thing. It made all of our work worthwhile," Fazzini said.
       Fazzini had to send an audition tape to be considered for a performance. The CAST has been performing its 25 minute tribute to Walt Disney theme songs at numerous local events over the past couple of years with the goal of performing it on a Disney stage. On a hot, Aug. 9 afternoon, that goal became a reality for the students.
       The students also attended a Broadway Magic Theater workshop while they were at Disney, where they worked with a Disney director, learned the choreography and music from a scene from "Mary Poppins" and performed it for their family and friends at Disney's 400-seat performing arts theater in Saratoga Springs.
       "We just got to sit back and watch. And they were incredible," Fazzini said.

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