SOUTH FLORIDA CAPPIES Continues to Inspire and Train HS Theatre & Journalism Students During Pandemi
One of 12 active chapters through the United States and Canada, the South Florida Cappies is a writing and awards program that trains high school theatre and journalism students to be expert writers, critical thinkers, and leaders. Student critics vie to be published in local media outlets by attending productions at other schools and writing critical reviews.
"Our organization is open to any public, private or parochial school and, last year, 25 different schools participated. Each school selected three to seven student critics, one faculty mentor, and one 'Cappies' show for review and awards evaluation by critics from other schools," explains Program Director Lori Sessions, theatre teacher at J.P. Taravella High School in Coral Springs. "We have up to 50 student critics attend each of the 'Cappies' shows and then write 300-400 word reviews, of which more than 1,100 were published on Bill Hirschman's popular website [http://www.SouthFloridaTheaterOnStage,com]
The South Florida Cappies was the only chapter in the international organization to complete its show season. While proms and graduation were being cancelled last March due to COVID, 152 student critics gathered on Zoom to evaluate all the written reviews and select the season's five best.
With support from NSU University School, a live-streamed Cappies Gala was held on May 19, where awards were presented virtually to winning students by such Broadway stars as Erich Bergen, Stephen Buntrock, Erin Dilly and Rob McClure, Dana Steingold, Nathen Tysen and more.
"We knew the students were faced with so much disappointment at the end of the year so we just pushed to make our digital production the best it could be, and it attracted thousands of unique viewers online," says Sessions.
Last fall, with so many students homebound and the theaters all closed, the local organization launched Cappies Connect as a way to keep students engaged and celebrate high school theatre. The Cappies Connect Zoom sessions covered such subjects as evaluating digital content, evaluating a directorial or design concept, review writing, and critical discussion.
Available for Interview:
Lori Sessions, Program Director
South Florida Cappies