College News

CCCC adds Theatre Appreciation course

Click to enlarge,  Theatre Appreciation will be taught on the Central Carolina Community College Lee and Chatham main campuses by Antonia Fairchild, a professional actress and member of Actor's Equity who has independently produced, directed and performed in critically acclaimed new plays and readings in New York City and has produced media in the San Francisco Bay Area and Research Triangle Region.

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Theatre Appreciation will be taught on the Central Carolina Community College Lee and Chatham main ... (more)

06.25.2019College & CommunityCollege GeneralCurriculum Programs

SANFORD - College students and community members now have an opportunity to learn about live theater from a noted performer, director and producer in a seated course just added to the Central Carolina Community College offerings for fall.

Theatre Appreciation, DRA 111, will be taught on the Lee and Chatham main campuses by Antonia Fairchild, a professional actress and member of Actor's Equity who has independently produced, directed and performed in critically acclaimed new plays and readings in New York City and has produced media in the San Francisco Bay Area and Research Triangle Region.

Fairchild says the course will combine lecture, film, video and live local performances. It will provide a broad look at theater history -- as viewed through selected plays -- as well as an understanding of theater terminology and how to read and understand a play in its context.

"And I hope to connect students to theater artists locally," she says, "to give them a window into the craft."

Though offered for college credit, seats are available for others wanting to enroll in the course as a non-credit, continuing education class. The course has been offered online in the past, but this is the first time it has been taught at the college in person.

This is a particularly good time to enroll in Theatre Appreciation, according to Scott Byington, CCCC's Dean of Arts, Sciences and Advising. Not only will the course be taught by an experienced instructor whom he describes as "passionate about bringing the theater experience to life for our students," but the community college course will transfer easier than ever before to a four-year college or university.

Theatre Appreciation was recently moved by state community college officials to "preferred transfer status." Byington said that means the course will transfer to all public universities and nearly all private colleges in North Carolina.

Byington learned about Fairchild a few years ago, while both were working on a project for Duke University's Talent Identification Program -- though he says they never actually met in person. When he learned the artist was a successful teacher and working occasionally in the Triangle region, he reached out to see if she might be interested in bringing her expertise to students at the college.

It was an appealing offer for Fairchild, someone who has spent much of her professional career making theater more accessible for people who might not fully understand the medium.

"Education is really the best way to build audiences in a community for live theater and storytelling," she said. "It's not enough to produce those events as an artist. You also have to create an appetite and incentive in the community to get local audiences to invest in and patronize theater."

Fairchild believes large audiences are ready to embrace theater. Not only are innovative musicals like "Hamilton" drawing more people to live productions, but increasingly artistic work streaming on television has created an appetite for the kind of quality storytelling commonly produced on stage.

"There's been a true renaissance in the quality of television and much of this content is written today by America's playwrights," she said. "The episodic writing that we find so exciting in shows like 'Game of Thrones' is often written by contemporary dramatists.

"If you understand, enjoy and value the storytelling you watch on your streaming services, you will enjoy the immersive experience of watching live actors on a stage."

Fairchild holds a bachelor's degree in media from Northwestern University and Master of Fine Arts from the American Conservatory Theater, a graduate program in San Francisco consistently ranked among the nation's best, with a roster of renowned graduates that includes Denzel Washington, Annette Bening and Benjamin Bratt.

Byington believes Fairchild's academic background and professional expertise combine to give local students an opportunity most people never get the chance to experience. "This is a rare opportunity to understand and appreciate theater with someone who has seen it from so many perspectives," Byington said. "I am sure Antonia will bring the theater experience alive for our students and offer unique insight about the theatrical world."

If you are interested in learning more about this course or registering for it, please contact CCCC Admissions at 919-718-7300.