DREW HARVEY THEATER FOUNDER RETURNS TO YELM AND CONTRIBUTES TO ARTS SCENE!
“Since the Drew Harvey Theater closed its doors in 2003, many of the people who participated in its productions or sat in the audience have thirsted for the theater experience.
Acting classes have been available in the high schools, but for younger children, the opportunities to act in and help stage productions is limited.
Some of the schools below high school level, however, have put on performances during the year.
Several groups have formed to amp up the opportunities for youths.
The Improvable Dream, workshop, begun last November, teaches children how to act improvisationally.
Another program, Theatrical Academy, USA, is also targeted toward youths. Two plays are produced each year, each of them under the direction of Kendra Gebbs.
Gebbs said she started the group after moving to Yelm.
She said she moved here because she wanted her children to be able to participate in productions at the Drew Harvey Theater, which was affectionately called The Drew.
However, the theater closed before they got the chance to step on the stage.
Nancy Hillman, who ran the Drew Harvey Theater and directed most of its plays, is back in Yelm after spending the past two and half years in New York City.
Though many people have asked Hillman when she will restart the Drew or another community theater, Hillman said her plan is to volunteer and assist with theater programs that already exist.
‘After 10 years (running The Drew), I just got burned out,’ Hillman said.
She is currently volunteering her time to four groups, the Theatrical Academy, USA, Seasoned Readings, Yelm High Schools acting club and Rainier High Schools after school performing arts group.
Hillman said its her goal to get these groups together for a combined theatrical recital sometime in the future.
That recital would give each group a chance to demonstrate their skills and show the strength of theater in Yelm and surrounding communities, Hillman said.
Three of the acting groups were established before Hillman returned to Yelm.
Seasoned Readings was started when a group of adults sought out an avenue to perform. It is a group that will perform a series of rehearsed scripts.
Scripts will be held by the actors during a performance, though the actors will have likely memorized their lines.
Props are used in a limited fashion, or not at all, and there is no set.
Hillman, a professionally trained actor with experience on Broadway in New York, said she noticed a growing popularity for these types of plays in the Big Apple.
She said her goal is to raise the standard of art education. Often, she said, schools have limited time and resources to commit to the performing arts.
Hillman said she also prefers to provide a service rather than make a good living.
‘When I worked as an organizer, I made a lot of money, but it only really benefits the one person youre working for,’ Hillman said.
‘When you work with teachers, they never do it for the money. They do it for the enrichment of the community.’
Hillman said she is working with Rainier High School drama coach Ted Fredericks, and Yelm High School English and drama teacher Anna Garrison.
Both teachers warmly accepted the volunteer help offered by Hillman.
This is the first year at their respective schools that the teachers have taken on the drama programs.
Theater programs are important because they provide life-long lessons for children. Primarily, self-esteem, self-expression and communication skills are built.
‘When they study theater, they apply it to everyday life,’ Hillman said.,” quoting the Nisqually Valley News.
THE YELM COMMUNITY BLOG WELCOMES BACK THE TALENTS OF NANCY HILLMAN TO YELM AREA ARTS!