Columbia families this summer will be treated to free plays, musicals and entertainment, courtesy of Stephens College’s annual Summer Theatre Institute.
The season kicks off May 17 with a beloved children’s classic. Students in the School of Performing Arts will present “Story Theatre,” a play adapted from Brothers Grimm fairy tales and Aesop’s Fables, at 7:30 p.m. in the Warehouse Theatre. The event, like all STI shows, is free and open to the public.
Although “the grandmamma of children’s theatre,” Story Theatre is a show for the whole family, said Lamby Hedge, the artistic director of STI and an associate professor. Performers use improvisation, pantomime and storytelling to bring a theatrical depth to classic tales that still have relevance today.
“Everybody will walk away with something,” she said. “It will be a full evening of entertainment.”
The show begins what will be a well-rounded season of STI performances. On Friday, May 24, Stephens performers will present “Slaphappy!,” a compilation of some of the greatest theatrical fight scenes in history. Master Fight Director Martin English and guest director and actress Cynthia Hyer will work with Stephens’ students teaching them the techniques and slight-of-hand tricks behind stage fighting—making sure punches and slaps and kicks look and sound real without actually hurting anyone.
“That’s a foundational and sought-after skill,” Hedge said.
Check the Stephens website weekly for updates about current shows. All performances are free, open to the public and begin at 7:30 p.m. Other than the musical revue, which will be at Macklanburg Playhouse, all shows will be held at Warehouse Theatre.
Here’s a quick glance at the STI season:
- May 31: “Blown Sideways Through Life” is a compilation of tales from one woman’s struggles waiting for her “big break” in show business.
- June 7: “Devising Mischief” will be an original comedy created by students with the help of Guest Artist Matt Weiss, a Ringling Bros. trained clowning specialist and cast member in the CBS hit “Elementary.”
- June 17: “A Little Show Music” promises an evening of Broadway song and dance for the whole family.