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South Kansas City performing arts academy brings diverse talent center stage

South Performing Arts academy lets students work different roles within the theater industry
Posted at 6:20 AM, Nov 13, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-13 11:22:29-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo — Students from three different south Kansas City schools are stealing the show while forming part of a new performing arts academy that gives students the chance to learn more about the theater, arts and entertainment industry.

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"We wanted to bring professionals that are working in this industry to show the students that there is a long-term goal inside of our industry for a job, said Korey Childs, artistic director of Arts Asylum. "Many people just want to become a football star or an athlete and what we are saying is invest in Kansas City, become part of our theater industry and make the entire journey for us better."

With help from community partners like the Arts Asylum and the Kauffman Real World Learning, students from three south Kansas City high schools, including Ruskin, Grandview and Center, are able to meet once a week and learn from professional actors and writers while engaging with other theater students. A total of 60 students are currently enrolled.

"All of us aren't the same, but it's nice seeing new people and seeing other people because I'm not really a people person, but being around a lot of people helps," Ruskin senior Terrell McGaugh said. "It makes me respect everybody's job because [I'm] seeing what it takes to do this."

While participating in the academy, students are able to learn about each behind-the-scenes role within the show biz industry, building and assembling their own sets, how to act and what it’s like to work backstage.

"Like Exchange City where you're either the mayor or you're the bank person in here, you're either the director or the stage designer or the marketing person, and we saw this empowerment that just kept coming from the students," Childs said. "The kids of today have stories that we have never heard and while they sit at home, we don't get to hear them. But if we put them together and empower them to collaborate together and with adults, we will get better stories from yesterday and today, told tomorrow."

The academy has landed students internships and paid jobs. To donate and help support the academy, you can reach out through email.