"A Wonderful Feature of This Community"
Over the next week, as we approach our Development Review Board hearing, we thought we'd share some letters in support of Mirror Theater Ltd/GAAR. Today’s letter is by Eric Erwin, the wonderful principal of Lakeview Union School. This letter is used here with permission of the author. Previous letters can be found here. If you would like to add your support, please email us.
"To the Development Review Board of Greensboro:
Thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts about addition of a new theater for our community. I hope this letter provides the information and feedback you are interested in.
I accepted the position of principal of Lakeview School in July, 2013. I continue to be impressed with the strong community spirit demonstrated by Greensboro residents. The support of our school, and the students who attend, continues to be a wonderful feature of this community. As you may know, students attending Lakeview Elementary come from a wide variety of backgrounds, and vary in their exposure to theater and the arts. Our school addresses this disparity by providing art and music classes to all students, a choral program for grades 5-6, and a universal instrumental program for all students in fifth and six grade. We have many students who demonstrate a strong talent and interest in the performing arts, but limited opportunities to explore them. Community programs such as GAAR have stepped in to fill this gap, and provide students from Lakeview and their families new and exciting ways of participating in the performing arts and expanding their skills.
Despite these wonderful efforts, GAAR and other groups have primarily been able to provide opportunities in the summer months, and this makes it difficult for classroom teachers to explore ways of integrating the performing arts into the yearly curriculum. Research consistently shows that theater and music performance opportunities enhance student engagement, increase student learning in writing and reading, and decrease drop-out rates among at-risk populations of students.
The addition of a permanent structure dedicated to theater, funded in large part by the generosity of Andrew C. Brown, would allow Lakeview Union School to develop on-going partnerships with GAAR, participate in theater productions all year long, and increase the students’ exposure to theater productions in a more cost effective manner. Currently, we have to hire buses at significant expense to attend theater productions in Burlington.
I can envision many additional opportunities in this partnership- e.g., having 6th graders write a play for general performance, incorporating formal acting lessons into our physical education curriculum, using theater to help younger students increase their understanding of literature pieces, etc. I strongly support this project.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any further questions, or would like more information.
Eric J. Erwin, Ph.D.
Principal, Lakeview Union School"