When Kendra Thomas, Director of IH Middle School’s Theatre program, chose to perform Emmy Award-winning playwright Michael Slade’s And a Child Shall Lead, she had no idea she was opening the door to an extra-special, unique experience for her students.
You see, it turns out that IH High School’s Theatre Director, Katie Arber, has known Mr. Slade for years – so she contacted him and asked if he was interested in coming out to Indian Hill to talk with students about his work and life.
He spent two days after school with the IHMS Theatre group talking about the writing process, the play, working on character development and how to bring the show to life. What a great enhancement to an already wonderful program!
Mrs. Thomas’ favorite thing he shared with the students was, “At first, I wondered if kids this age could handle a show like this, so we began a workshop to see if your age group could do it. It turns out, these kids went above and beyond what we thought they could do. Sometimes adults put limits on what we think young kids are capable of, but you are capable of so much more than that.”
He also talked with HS Theatre students about what it takes to be a playwright. He talked about his process, how he researches, the importance of college education and training, and patience. He was awesome and the students asked great questions about how he works, his favorite play he has ever written and what inspires him as a writer.
Just one of the insightful things he said had to do with the need to understand business and contracts if you are in the arts. “Much of what you do will involve contracts,” he said. “You don’t need to know how to write them, but you do need to be able to understand them.” He stressed that having a good grasp of how business works is crucial to succeed as a playwright, and he encouraged all arts students to also pursue these classes in college.
Thank you, Mr. Slade, for sharing of your time and expertise so generously with our students!