On Tuesday, April 8, 2014, Newman’s lower and middle school students boarded a mysterious flight to a fantastical world, courtesy of Artspot and in commemoration of Andrew Elkins Day.
Flight was an experimental theater production exploring and interpreting the concept of flight through pantomime, dance, and music. Passing through a realistic “security checkpoint” in Krohn Foyer outside of the Henson Auditorium, students entered a strange world that challenged their imaginations. To begin the play, they were encouraged to flap their wings and visualize themselves ascending to the sky. Then they were treated to a story of a harried family in an airport lounge, each member daydreaming about flight in its various meanings. The performance was punctuated by bursts of guitar music and multi-part harmonic singing. Students were delighted by the off-beat production, staying behind for a question-and-answer session with the Artspot director and company.
After the show Artspot spent the early afternoon conducting master classes for middle school students. Divided into two groups, the students were challenged by Artspot company members to express “flight” using movement or to sing some of the beautiful harmonies featured in the theater performance. At the end of the class, the two groups came together to perform the pieces they learned, weaving movement and song into a multisensory tapestry.
The day’s events were funded by the Andrew Clayton Elkins Memorial Fund for the Creative Arts. The fund was established by Andrew Elkins’ family, friends, and classmates to honor his memory. A member of Newman’s Class of 2005, Andrew was a young boy of great promise, creativity, and joy. As a meaningful and lasting tribute to Andrew’s spirit, friends of the family established the Fund, which provides the resources for Newman to invite visiting artists to the School to teach master classes and enrich the arts program.