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Bringing Literature To Life

March 24th, 2014 Back to Browse Stories

A $25,000 grant from the Community Foundation will double the number of Page to Stage theater productions offered to students by the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts. The grant will also help support reduced student ticket prices.

The Page to Stage program presents original theatrical productions based on characters from history and literary classics, and offers study guides for classroom use. Most productions include a question-and-answer period with the actors after the performance.

Five-dollar ticket prices ensure that these high-quality live performances, featuring skilled professional actors, are within the reach of thousands of students. Educators say they notice an increased interest in the history and literature they are studying after students attend a performance.

Black Boy, a production inspired by Richard Wright’s autobiography, was followed by a workshop for students from Clintondale High School in early February. Students were asked to define what they hunger for — just as the young Wright had hungered for so many things in his life. “I have hunger, but not for food; I am hungry for the ability to understand and speak freely without being judged,” said one student.

The Macomb Center for the Performing Arts is part of Macomb Community College, but it reaches far beyond traditional community college boundaries. Through extensive collaborations with community groups, schools and cultural organizations, it hosts more than 100,000 visitors annually and offers arts programs and activities for all ages. A 1,200-seat auditorium provides a Macomb County destination for national tours of major productions, as well as musicians and comedians.

“The Macomb Center for the Performing Arts is the arts and culture hub of our county,” says Christine Guarino, director of Cultural Affairs at Macomb Community College. “These are the kinds of institutions that people take into consideration when deciding where to live and work. They add immeasurably to quality of life and economic vitality.”

Watch an excerpt from the production: