A few weeks ago I was having a discussion with my New Haven raised grandmother about her life growing up. Being very nostalgic she talked of the theater experiences she had as a child. She would go see plays at The Palace and other various theaters around New Haven, but when mentioning the Shubert a unique smile ran across her face. She expressed to me that the Shubert Theatre was always a treat, it was one of her favorite places to go. Two generations later I am able to call the Shubert one of my favorite places, but not solely for the lovely building and the exciting shows. The Shubert is one of my favorite places because of the wonderful opportunities I have benefited from.
I recently graduated from Cooperative Arts and Humanities high school and I can not properly discuss my high school experience without highlighting the education I was given by the Shubert. My junior year is when I started to take advantage of some of the opportunities that the Shubert Summer Theatre gives to Co-Op students. I first worked as a volunteer usher at co-op shows and larger shubert productions. I went into this excited to watch some free shows but I greatly benefited from the usher program as a whole. I was taught through experience how to work with a group of co-workers and be successful in a work environment while working with the unpredictable attitudes of theater audiences. That summer I took up the technical apprenticeship at the Shubert Summer Theater and Arts Camp. Over the four week period Kelly Wuzzardo taught me the basics of the technical side of theater and then I worked on an actual show produced by the camp. Not only was this my first paying job but I also received fantastic hands on technical experience which allowed me to be hired throughout the year for show rentals at Co-op.
Photo of David by Jessica Lipinsky
Currently I am working at the Shubert Summer Theater & Arts camp again but this time as a teachers’ assistant for two visual arts classes. This is giving me experience with middle school age kids and how to be a friendly authority figure. This is another paying job so I am able to earn more money for college expenses. Through working here I can see that the Shubert gives wonderful art opportunities to the younger generations also. Middle schoolers from all over Connecticut can come to Co-op and be immersed in a fun learning environment of the arts of their choosing. I work in a photography class in the morning. In this class each of the young photographers are given their own basic digital cameras and taught the basic design techniques of taking pictures then they are allowed to apply what they learned in downtown New Haven to create art. Below are some examples of photos my students took during the class along with photos they took of campers in other arts.
I hope that the students I help teach continue to take these opportunities to further their arts education. The experiences that the Shubert Theatre has given me and continues to give the younger generations is unequivocal in a world where arts education is often put to the side. I feel that I am a more educated and well rounded person because of the Shubert Theatre. My life will forever benefit from what I’ve learned from the Shubert Theatre.
Guest Blogger: David Raccio
Photo of David and Shubert Summer Campers during his Teaching Assistant days by Danielle Boulanger
Sky photos by Analyn Violano: