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Students organize event for Plays for Living celebration

November 10, 2013


They designed and printed the nametags, planned the hors d'oeuvres menu and made sure tables were arranged to foster a comfortable mingling environment.

And judging by the way guests didn’t want to stop mingling, the reception was a success.

Roughly 50 Stephens Board of Trustees members, faculty, alumnae and students gathered at Historic Senior Hall on Nov. 7 to celebrate the partnership between the College and Plays for Living Theatre.

Students in Cindy Hazelrigg’s event and convention management class spent weeks planning the event, said Stephanie McHenry ’15, who was tasked with marketing.

“This has been a really great opportunity for us to get real world experience,” she said. “We literally planned everything out.”

The reception marked the kick-off of the Plays for Living season, which Hazelrigg’s students have been scheduling at area schools.

Stephens launched Sprouts Plays for Living last semester, an educational theatre program that uses short plays to educate children and teens about sensitive topics such as bullying and diversity.

Stephens theatre students perform a specific play called “What’s the Difference” to area fourth-graders.

Last semester, they performed the play at nine schools; however, this year, McHenry said her classmates have tried to schedule the performances at all schools, including private schools in the area.

Sprouts Plays for Living is the brainchild of Dylan Shelofsky ’13 and Sara Crosby ’76, both of whom are currently on the Board of Trustees.

Crosby is director and founder of Dakota Academy of Performing Arts Plays for Living Theatre Company in Sioux Falls, S.D. During her senior year, Shelofsky reached out to Crosby for help when trying to establish a children’s theatre program at Stephens.

Plays for Living adds an educational component to theatre. After the local performances, students in Stephens’ Master of Education in Counseling program facilitate small group discussions with children, allowing them to talk about what they’ve seen.

That model has helped thousands of youth, Crosby said during the celebration.“We’ve seen great social change in Sioux Falls, and you have the chance to do that in Columbia."

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