Samford’s School of the Arts begins its 2017-18 theatre season with the Emma Taylor Theatre for Youth Series presentation of How I Became a Pirate Sept. 29-Oct. 1.
Directed by Associate Professor Laura Byland, the 60-minute fast paced musical features Samford theatre students and a local 12-year-old, Joshua Rauterkus, in the title role of Jeremy Jacob. “It is a wonderful story for the entire family,” explains Byland, “full of laugher, acting and dancing.”
The production will open with its second annual FirstNight invitation-only celebration. Byland has invited several local agencies serving families in need, including Lovelady Center, Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Birmingham, King’s Home, and Alabama Baptist’s Children’s Homes, to take part in this festive event which offers pre-performance entertainment and refreshments. “Bringing live theatre to the Birmingham community is a big part of what we do,” says Byland.
Samford’s School of the Arts theatre for youth degree is now in its second full year and is unique in an undergraduate program. According to Byland, “The program was a perfect fit for Samford given its outreach and mission approach. It allows students to share their passion for theatre with children.”
In developing the program, Byland wanted to combine outreach, mission, education and promoting the art of theatre to younger audiences. She notes, “It has allowed for cross-curricular experiences as well as significant community outreach opportunities for our students.”
The production is one of several events during Samford's annual Family Weekend. Public performances take place Sept. 29-30 at 7:30 p.m. and Oct. 1 at 2:30 p.m. in Harrison Theatre.