FutureBuilders /Trollwood Performing Arts School (Fargo, ND)

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Large cast ensemble in larger-than-life masks and body puppets

Larger-than-life masks and Fruma Sarah body puppets, created under the direction of Louay Al Assaf, used to enact Tevye’s fate-changing dream sequence in Trollwood Performing Arts School’s productions of Fiddler on the Roof. Photo by David Samson

As a past winner of a Coming Up Taller Award from the President’s Committee on Arts and Humanities in 2002 and the North Dakota Governor’s Award for the Arts in 2003, the Trollwood Performing Arts School (TPAS) knows something about providing arts training for students in grades 1-12. Since 1978, TPAS has provided its community with quality performances, which currently include a two-show youth performance season, a middle school pre-show performance, and a free community event with student performances in addition to summer classes and an arts workshop during the school year.

In FY 2006, FutureBuilders received an NEA Summer Schools in the Arts grant of $35,000 to support TPAS’s Summer Mainstage Musical Program. Each year students ages 13-18 are given the opportunity to act, to play in the orchestra, and to work as technicians to present a classic or contemporary professional musical. The program began with the audition process in mid-May, when 122 students were chosen for the cast, orchestra, and technical crew for a production of Fiddler on the Roof. All of the students received intensive training by professional artists, whether they were actors taking vocal, acting, and dance classes; musicians taking master classes; or technicians learning set and costume construction. The students presented fourteen performances July 12-15, July 19- 23, and July 26-30 for a total audience of 16,735.

(From the NEA 2006 Annual Report)