They already moved the school a few miles up the interstate, so what are a few more for student performers?
Actually, it’s more than just real estate.
“Growing up in Rock Hill and having Charlotte right beside it, it’s like nothing else,” said St. Anne High School acting major Will Suaso, set to play Prospero in an uptown production of “The Tempest.”
“You always think, ‘you go to concerts in Charlotte, you go see performances in Charlotte,’ but you never think of yourself as performing in Charlotte, so you know it’s an honor.”
St. Anne High School in Fort Mill is partnering with the Blumenthal Center for the Performing Arts to put on “The Tempest” in uptown Charlotte. Performances at the Stage Door Theater are Nov. 11-12. Tickets are $10, $8 for students, and available through carolinatix.org.
The partnership has the Blumenthal hosting “multiple future events” with the school’s award-winning John Paul the Great Program for the Arts. The first features the Shakespeare story of Prospero and his daughter Miranda, stranded on an island for a dozen years. The audience meets a monster named Caliban, the sprite Ariel and others in the fanciful world. The cast and crew feature students from Fort Mill, Rock Hill and other parts of York County.
St. Anne School has a 65-year history in Rock Hill, now serving grades K3-12. The high school portion opened in 2014 and soon will graduate its first class. This fall the high school moved to St. Philip Neri Church in Fort Mill. The John Paul the Great arts program launched in 2015. Concentrations are offered in visual, literary and performing arts.
Getting to perform uptown is just another milestone for high school students.
“It’s really exciting,” said assistant director Grace Rea, who thinks performers can “add some really cool elements” to the show by taking it to Charlotte. “We’ve always just done it in our gym here.”
Alex Rainier, a Fort Mill student playing Caliban, is ready for a new challenge.
“This space I’ve been with for like 15 years,” he said of the Rock Hill performances. “It’s a little interesting to do theater in a completely different area, which will be a lot of fun.”
Plus, he said, people who aren’t familiar with his school are familiar with the name Blumenthal. Acclaimed shows of varying size come to Charlotte each year to perform at a Blumenthal venue. Rainier figures there are bound to be a few Shakespeare fans willing to give the school performance a chance.
“Now we can actually get people (from) outside of the school,” he said.
Seating at the Stage Door Theater is limited. Show times are 8 p.m. Nov. 11 and 2 p.m. Nov. 12.
For more on the school itself, visit stanneschool.com.