Performing Arts Student Council offering virtual masterclasses to high school theatre students


Khánh Nguyễn

The Fairmount College of Liberal Arts hosted their ninth installment of their “Perspectives on the Pandemic Part II” series on Wednesday, September 23. This latest edition brought to attention the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the performing arts and its audiences.

The Wichita State School of Performing Arts Student Council is offering virtual masterclasses to high school students. 

Caroline Boesen and Emerson Ross are High School Outreach Co-Chairs for the council. They originally planned to physically teach classes at the high schools, but COVID-19 has forced them to do so virtually. 

“[Virtual classes have] actually proven to be pretty cool, because there are a lot more opportunities to join our class since it doesn’t take all of the coordinating of ‘Oh, we have to drive there. Oh, what time? Let’s check in with the office.’ It’s much simpler,” Boesen said. 

They are offering a wide variety of classes, including, but not limited to, acting, musical theatre, basic stage makeup, and dance workshops. 

“We are wanting our classes to be reflective of what the students are being taught at the high schools…as well as just working with the curriculum that teachers already have in place and the projects that the students are working on,” Ross said. “…If they want to learn more about theatre as a career or just theatre in college, or WSU even, we are offering that as well.”

Offering strictly virtual classes has also made it more accessible for other high schools, specifically when it comes to reaching out to schools who are in minority communities, Ross said.

“Minority communities usually aren’t aware of the many opportunities you can get in regards to a career in the arts and also aren’t given a lot of opportunities to learn about them in the first place within high school,” Ross said. “…Performing arts can be notorious for only having opportunities for more privileged people…We just [want to] give [the students] the knowledge that they can pursue arts and that it is something feasible to do regardless of their situation.”

Boesen and Ross also hope to bring more attention to WSU performing arts programs to Wichita area high school students.  

“We are pretty passionate about telling Wichita area kids that if you’re trying to pursue musical theatre or dance, then check out Wichita State because they have a great program and it is possible to pursue what you love,” Boesen said.  

If you’re a high school theatre teacher who is interested in scheduling a masterclass, contact either Emerson Ross at [email protected] or Caroline Boesen at [email protected]