“Four kinds of theater: bad, good, great and electrifying”.
Dr. Doug Erwin, McCluer High School – Florissant, Missouri
Third Place winner of the inaugural Grosh Cares Grants for the Performing Arts program
While Grosh was preparing to reach out to Dr. Doug Erwin and the McCluer High School drama department to discuss their award win, we came across this article and found it interesting so we wanted to pass it along: Theatre Sales or Teacher’s Wallets?
In addition to this story, here’s what we learned from Dr. Erwin:
“The community of Ferguson Missouri is NOT what people saw on the news. It is a vibrant, wonderful, family-oriented place to live. [The kids are incredible] at McCluer! The school has the largest number of Gates Millennium Scholarship winners in the United States, …alumni who have performed on Broadway, in Las Vegas and internationally and one of the alumnae was actually a soloist at Barack Obama’s inauguration.” McCluer High School “has the largest African American High School theatre program in Missouri,” as well.
“The kids are dedicated and run like a family,” Dr. Erwin is even called “Dad” by some students. This is because Mr. Erwin puts extreme effort in getting to know them, “[the kids] have most of the answers. When they know you have their backs, they will do anything for you.” He also puts tremendous amounts of trust in the students by allowing them to have substantial choice in the selection of their play and how it is produced. Their winning production of The Color Purple was based on student preference.
Grosh loved Dr. Erwin’s thoughts surrounding our award, as well. “I don’t like to think about awards. I was taught that there are four kinds of theatre: bad, good, great, and electrifying. Electrifying theatre makes an impact so that people talk about it for months afterwards. THAT is always my goal. I want the kids to feel good about what they did and their work but also to KNOW that it is outstanding.” Grosh wants students to feel validated for their work and as Dr. Erwin affirmed, the award opens doors. The money from the award increases the production value for future sets, reducing the difference between production and performance quality. Dr. Erwin and the students of McCluer High are changing the community, making tremendous impact through the arts and Grosh is pleased to help with the progress they are making.