It’s a small world, after all…

It’s hard to believe, but it’s been 25 years since I was in high school. But I’m still in touch with my theatre teacher from way back then. Don McNeil was the most influential teacher I had.

Despite the fact that I attended his “retirement” party a few years back, he’s now teaching at the Yew Chung International School in Huangdao, China. Just a minor change of pace from life in the Ontario school system.

Over the years Don has been a great supporter of our plays, having performed several when he taught in Brockville, and now in China. Lindsay’s dream for Shout! An A Cappella Musical was that it could be performed by any school anywhere. What better testimonial could we get for the play than to have it performed in a school foyer in China. If they can do it, pretty much anybody else can too!

Just finished “Shout” with my Key Stage Three Drama class (27 students, Years 7-9) here in Huangdao, China. The show was well received by the audience of parents and friends who remarked on the vocal strengths and presentation of the cast. It fit in perfectly with our Character Education topic of “risking in friendship” and the value of “hard friendship”.

It was the first play in our new campus and adapted well to the “Foyer Theatre” now named and christened with “Shout”. I admire the understanding inherent in this type of show that stretches the cast in many ways and makes them realize that the script is really just marks on paper. They must give it value; they must bring themselves, their understanding, their knowing to it before it becomes art and gathers form. I have found, over the years that Lindsay’s writing allows this, demands this. Thanks for the “words” that you have given which have allowed so many young people to realize themselves as the instrument in this beautiful art form.

Photos from the Yew Chung International School (Huangdao, China) production of Shout! An A Cappella Musical. Directed by Don McNeil.

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