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Fantasy Playhouse technical theatre full STEAM ahead with $25,000 grant

HUNTSVILLE – It is the less flashy but crucial behind-the-scenes part of show business – sound engineering and design, lighting design, color theory, rigging, set, and costume design.

It is called technical theater and now, thanks to a $25,000 grant, Huntsville’s Fantasy Playhouse Children’s Theater & Academy is launching a FPCTA Technical Theatre STE(A)M (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) Lab. The lab will provide students with hands-on learning opportunities in the basics of technical theatre.

The grant was made possible by State Sens. Tom Butler (R-Madison) and Sam Givhan (R-Huntsville), and Rep. Howard Sanderford (R-Huntsville), and the Alabama Mountains Rivers Valleys Resource Conservation & Development Council.

The funds purchased a teacher workstation, student workstations, computer towers, monitors, microphones, tablets, sound mixers, and software.

FPCTA Executive Director Karen Mockensturm said she is excited to use the technical theatre learning lab and provide industry-level performing arts education.

“We’ll be able to teach audio engineering, sound design, set design, color theory for costume design, and many other skills with this equipment,” said Mockensturm. “I would like to thank RC&D and the Madison County legislators for all their support in helping to fund this program and other programs we’ve offered over the years.”

Butler thanked FPCTA for taking the initiative to seek funds for the offstage aspects of live theater. He said he supports providing additional tools to help mentor younger generations interested in art and production.

“I’m happy to see that these funds are going to Fantasy Playhouse,” said Butler. “They have a wonderful program, and I look forward to seeing all of their continued progress and success.”

Givhan commended the FPCTA staff for its hard work and thanked RC&D for the funding.

“We see that your program is continuing to grow, and as more young people walk in your doors, it’s just an opportunity to teach them STE(A)M skills that are in high demand in North Alabama,” said Givhan. “We like working with RC&D to invest in the future and believe this will have a lasting impact.”

Sanderford said FPCTA’s program has touched several counties and is “an asset to the entire North Alabama theatrical community.”

The RC&D program empowers people in rural areas to tap into natural resources in surrounding communities for economic improvement and community betterment.

AMRV RC&D serves Cullman, Morgan, Lawrence, Limestone, Madison, Marshall, Dekalb, and Jackson counties.

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