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BWW Interview: How Hub Performing Arts School Is Bringing Musical Theatre Education Online

We're checking in with Executive Director Paula Chanda.

BWW Interview: How Hub Performing Arts School Is Bringing Musical Theatre Education OnlineFor 14 years, Hub Performing Arts School has been providing musical theatre education and performance opportunities to kids in the Lubbock area. In 2020, the challenge of the pandemic brought the opportunity to provide these services and opportunities to a greater population- online!

In 2021, Hub is continuing that mission by helping students to grow their skills and show them off with online fine arts classes, virtual performances, monthly master classes with Broadway professionals, virtual musical theatre competition teams and even private lessons.

Hub Performing Arts School's fun and educational setting is perfect for your Home School or Virtual students or students who are attending school in person but looking for safe theatrical opportunities after school. Find out more about Hub Performing Arts School here.

Below, BroadwayWorld checks in with Hub's Executive Director, Paula Chanda, to find out more about offerings for the new year!


In a nutshell, what is Hub Performing Arts School all about?

BWW Interview: How Hub Performing Arts School Is Bringing Musical Theatre Education OnlineOur mission at Hub is to provide theatrical education and performance opportunities for school aged kids. We aren't interested in creating stars. Instead, we want to facilitate the growth of amazing human beings. Our focus is to expose kids to the world of theatre and to help them discover amazing things about themselves and others. We believe in developing the complete musical theatre artist by focusing on training in Acting, Singing and Dance. The performance opportunities that our students receive are not chorus members in an adult production, but rather all kid productions.

How has training changed in the wake of the pandemic?

The main thing that has changed is that we are doing everything online. We are still working with students to grow their skills and providing private training as well. The online world has put a bit more responsibility on students. They must be disciplined to work on things outside of rehearsal and to turn in recordings on time. They also must be more vocal about their struggles and to speak up if they aren't getting something. We aren't able to give the hands-on direction that in person training and rehearsals gave us, but we've adapted to make sure that we are seeing what students are doing and giving them proper feedback. We've added elements to training that involve aspects such as how to record yourself and how to deal with performing for an audience that isn't physically present and responding to the camera. Really the challenges the pandemic have brought have also provided opportunities to grow our students in new ways that will benefit them in this new digital age.

BWW Interview: How Hub Performing Arts School Is Bringing Musical Theatre Education Online

Do you find that students are equally engaged in their training in an online environment?

It was hard at first as we all learned to adjust to this new environment. We discovered that there are many distractions that don't exist in the theatre rehearsal space- parents, siblings, pets, and other household items. The adjustment of not having an instructor in person has taken some getting used to, especially with younger students. They have enjoyed seeing the crazy faces they can make and what their eye ball looks like when it's the only thing in the camera. Older students have had an entirely different struggle and that is seeing themselves on screen. This is something many adults are struggling with as well as they attend meetings over zoom. Once we made it through the new discoveries, our staff and students began to discover the fun that can be had online. We are a very close community so hugs have definitely been something we've all missed. We've found new ways to have community and connection online.

BWW Interview: How Hub Performing Arts School Is Bringing Musical Theatre Education Online

Have you found any major benefits in online learning?

I really love online learning to be completely honest! There are lots of benefits (being in your pajama bottoms while you work is at the top of the list for sure!). We've been able to work with kids from around the nation and we're hoping to expand that to international. We've also had the privilege of working with Broadway professionals throughout the pandemic. Amazing artists like: Alex Hairston, Judine Somerville, DeAundre Woods, Noah Rivera, Elizabeth A Davis and more have been so gracious to work with our students.

Do you have any intention to move back to in-person training as the year progresses?

Our focus right now is on our online offerings. We have started an online academy for students doing virtual learning or home schooling. Classes are available in theatre, musical theatre, dance, technical theatre and oral interpretation. We also have a virtual musical theatre competition team. Our fall team is competed at the Junior Theatre Festival in Jan. and our Spring team will compete at Musical Theatre Competitions of America virtually.

Our area is still very high in numbers for covid. It isn't safe yet to return to in person classes. We will continue to monitor the situation in our community and only return when and if it is SAFE to do so. It is our goal to continue offering virtual classes, rehearsals, performances and private lessons from here on out.

BWW Interview: How Hub Performing Arts School Is Bringing Musical Theatre Education Online

BWW Interview: How Hub Performing Arts School Is Bringing Musical Theatre Education Online

What has been the most gratifying part of watching Hub grow over the past 13 years?

There are so many wonderful things that have happened over the past 13 years! I've had the privilege of seeing kids go from shy and hiding behind their parents to perform in front of large audiences. It's been amazing to see kids growing and learning in our annual summer trips to NYC. There's nothing better than hearing from a former student that is now an adult about how their involvement in Hub changed their lives. Many have pursued theatre as a career, but all say that participating in the arts made a difference no matter what career path they chose. That's really why we do what we do!

Find out more about Hub Performing Arts School here.




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