For the past two weeks, Robinson Hall has been home base for “Tech Theatre: Lights, Sound, Action!,” a camp for middle-school girls offered through a partnership with the Dottie Rose Foundation. The Dottie Rose Foundation (DRF) is a local non-profit that seeks to close the gender gap in the fields of technology and computer science by providing girls opportunities to develop their tech skills.
Hali Hutchinson and Rachel Watkins of the College of Arts + Architecture’s Performing Arts Services designed DRF’s first theatre technology camp, which brought 15 middle-school girls to UNC Charlotte during the weeks of June 7-11 and June 14-18. Through the support of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, all students received full scholarships to attend.
“DRF has been focused primarily on STEM in the past, so we are excited that technology in the arts is now part of their offerings for these girls,” said Hutchinson.
Hutchinson, who is the Robinson Hall costume lab manager, and Watkins, who is a lecturer in stage management, put together a robust full-day schedule of activities – theatre-focused instruction in topics such as costume, lighting, and sound design, but also a wide range of other experiences, from a movement class to visits in the School of Architecture and College of Engineering, to tours of campus sites like the Botanical Gardens, the Student Activities Center, and the new University Recreation Center. They were joined throughout the camp by faculty, staff, and current and former students of UNC Charlotte.
“Since many of the girls have never been on a college campus before, we planned ‘Afternoon Adventures"’ every afternoon, so they get out of the theatre space and learn more about what UNC Charlotte and college could really be,” Hutchinson said.
The camp ends Friday, June 18, with a presentation on the stage of the Anne R. Belk Theater in Robinson Hall, at which the students will present the costumes, sound designs, and other products of their camp experience.
“It has been wonderful working with everyone from Dottie Rose to include the arts in the foundation offerings - turning STEM into STEAM!” said Hutchinson. She said plans are already in place for a second year of “Tech Theatre: Lights, Sound, Action!.”