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The Franklin Difference: Empowering Creativity Through Performing Arts

Matt Landry-McWilliams

As the Arts Department Chair and Director of Performing Arts, I am thrilled to share the remarkable achievements and vibrant experiences of the past school year at Franklin. Our students have truly excelled—bringing creativity and dedication to every performance, class, and rehearsal, and I am immensely proud of their accomplishments.

This year, our students performed the one-act play “The Other Room,” a poignant exploration of autism spectrum disorders. Their powerful performance earned them an invitation to the Connecticut Drama Association One Act Festival, where they shone brightly, winning seven prestigious awards. These included Theatrical Excellence, Outstanding Ensemble, Outstanding Set, and several individual student acting awards. This recognition is a testament to our students’ hard work and passion for this production.

Building on this success, Franklin Theatre Arts presented the classic Cole Porter musical, Anything Goes. Our students dazzled audiences with three fantastic performances, showcasing their versatility and talent. These lively performances, filled with humor, music, and dance, were a highlight of the year, demonstrating our students’ ability to take on diverse and challenging roles. In addition, we had an amazing team of student technicians who handled everything from stage management and constructing our three-level set to operating the sound and lighting boards, running set pieces onto stage throughout the show, and supervising the wardrobe.

Our performing arts season concluded with a vibrant vocal cabaret performance. This event was a joyful celebration of talent, featuring several of our students and even our beloved math teacher, Amy Bigelow! The cabaret was a wonderful opportunity for students to explore different musical styles and perform in a supportive and enthusiastic workshop environment.

Next school year (’24-’25), FA Theatre Arts is excited to present Will Eno’s Middletown as our fall mainstage play and Stephen Schwartz’s Pippin for our spring musical. These productions will explore themes of new beginnings and pursuing one’s passions despite adversity, highlighting how dreams can be achieved through the support and creation of community.

At Franklin Academy, our Theatre Arts Signature Program provides a nurturing and inclusive environment where students of all abilities can thrive. Our mission is to empower students to grow as individuals and community members, fostering their unique talents and building life skills that will serve them beyond their time with us. Through artistic expression, professional collaboration, technical development, and a commitment to inclusivity, we aim to develop confident, resourceful artists and technicians who aspire to academic excellence, cultural awareness, and social responsibility.

Our vision is to see graduates of our program become confident, empowered individuals who contribute meaningfully to society. We aim to challenge stereotypes, promote neurodiversity through performing arts, and create a more inclusive world for neurodivergent students.

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