After years of intensifying interest in musical theatre, a school’s officials in Chile reached out to Texas State for help with starting a program for their own students.
The Pro Jazz Institute’s School of Music had already been working with Texas State’s Jazz Studies Department for years when they decided to start a musical theatre program.
A member of the jazz studies faculty referred those at the Chile institute to Texas State’s musical theatre program. Those at the Chile institute then looked at the musical theatre program’s YouTube channel. They decided to contact professors Kaitlin Hopkins and James Price, senior lecturers in the Department of Theatre and Dance, for help founding the new program.
“We worked with them for about a year via email and Skype,” Hopkins said. “Then we went down there for a week and got to interact with the faculty for a day and help prep them and talk to them about the curriculum at Texas State.”
While in Chile, Hopkins and Price helped open the building in which the musical theatre training program will be housed. Hopkins and Price additionally brought books the program would use and taught several classes to students once its first semester began.
“We got to teach the first class there, which was really exciting,” Hopkins said. “We had about 70 students show up for it.”
A grant provided by the U.S. Embassy in Chile funded the professors’ trip and the supplies they were able to bring to the Pro Jazz Institute’s program.
Being a music school, the Pro Jazz Institute already had faculty ready to teach singing. However, it needed to obtain acting and dancing teachers to begin a musical theatre training
The program will be the first of its kind in Chile, Price said.
“We can show them productions of existing American musicals, but I’m very interested in helping them develop their own indigenous art form and telling their own stories,” Price said.
Chileans are already starting to put their musical theatre knowledge to use. Hopkins said one company is starting to write and produce its own musicals in Spanish.
“Helping a country start a journey to explore what is a relatively new art form to them is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Hopkins said.