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PPS Theater Students Enrich Their Craft in Workshop with Theater Artist Kynnedi Moryae Porter




Three theater students from Portland Public Schools recently had the unique opportunity to participate in an immersive dance workshop facilitated by Kynnedi Moryae Porter, a member of the touring production of Hairspray. The workshop, hosted and provided free of charge by the Wharton Center of the Arts and Michigan State University, allowed these aspiring young performers to hone their skills alongside a seasoned professional.


The workshop participants, Josephine Polasek, Evelyn Johnston, and Rosie Johnston, are all members of the upcoming production of Disney’s The Little Mermaid, performing at Portland High School in March. These students were extended this experience due to the PHS Drama Club’s involvement in the Sutton Foster Awards competition, which opens doors to interactions with industry professionals.


Kynnedi Moryae Porter, a performer and cast member of Hairspray, shared her expertise and insights with the students during an engaging session focused on the choreography from the hit production. The workshop provided a hands-on experience, allowing the students to delve into the world of dance and performance under the guidance of a seasoned artist.


Following the workshop, the students had the privilege of engaging in a question-and-answer session with Ms. Porter, gaining valuable insights into the industry and the life of a professional theater artist. This interactive session not only enriched their understanding of the craft, but also served as a source of inspiration for their own artistic journeys. The day culminated with the students attending that evening’s performance of Hairspray, allowing them to see Ms. Porter and the rest of the cast in action, and deepening their understanding of the art form at work.


Portland High School Drama Club’s commitment to fostering the growth and development of its theater students through initiatives like the Sutton Foster Awards has once again created opportunities for these young talents to interact with and learn from seasoned professionals. “Our partnership with Wharton Center is incredible; it provides our theater artists truly valuable life experiences.” says program Director, Chandra Polasek. “They are provided training and exposure beyond what kids would get in our school, which is such a gift to our artists and program.”


These students and close to 50 of their peers will share their talents in the upcoming production. Look for tickets to PHS’s production of Disney’s The Little Mermaid to go on sale in February. 

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