Contributed by Director of Visual and Performing Arts Matthew Neylon

Each year, the theatre season kicks off with a weekend-long event called Drama Bootcamp.  This is a chance for directors to meet new students, for students to meet new directors, to prepare for Fall auditions, and get excited about all the opportunities the year has in store. This year was unlike any other because we were not on campus! 

The weekend began with virtual improv sessions facilitated by professional improv artist and annual MV Arts guest artist Tommy Futch during the Opening Ceremonies on Friday night.

Saturday boasted 14 virtual sessions and 3 outdoor sessions at Pernoshal Park in Dunwoody. Starting the day with movement, Dance Instructor Brittany Maxwell hosted a mindfulness session while LS Performing Arts Instructor Amanda Lower led an outdoor choreography session. As the day unfolded, students had the opportunity to build skills in Hip Hop Dance, Shakespeare, Stagecraft+Design, Puppetry, Film Editing, Slam Poetry, to name a few. LS Teacher Emily Edwards even taught choreography from the hit musical Hamilton in “The Zoom Where It Happens”. 

One of the most innovative moments of the day was when Director of Theatre Arts, Clark Taylor shared an audio file and a bag of props with students at the 2:00 sessions Improv Everywhere: the mV3 Experience. Inspired by the NYC Performance Group, Improv Everywhere students performed coordinated movements and tasks as they listened to the audio track for the first time. Needless to say, it surprised the unsuspecting Dunwoody residents that happened to be at the park, and was a great bonding moment for our students to go way outside their comfort zone. 

Over 50 students and faculty had the chance to meet, ask questions, build skills, and reconnect after many months apart. Some of the most exciting moments were meeting new students whose talent and passion burst through the screen in incredible ways. 

“I am personally energized by the students’ excitement. Reading about the things they can’t wait to do gives me the energy to help make it this year special for them.” – Matt Neylon

Inspired by the quote “life begins at the edge of your comfort zone”, both students and directors pushed themselves to be brave, try new things, and appreciate each other’s talent. Over the course of the weekend, one thing became extremely obivous – not only will this be the most innovative and dynamic MV Arts season, but we have the perfect team of directors and students to explore the unknown and create impact through art together. 

This week, we kick off our 72 Hour Play with a brand new twist! Instead of performing our one-act plays on Saturday evening, students will have their plays read by professional Atlanta-based actors and have those readings recorded for their portfolio. If you’re interested in 72 hour play, sign up for Wednesday’s informational webinar and join us Thursday through Saturday for the event that has is a consistent-fan favorite and a great way to dip your toes into Upper Campus theatre. 

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