A PSU education professor helped create a very successful cross-cultural musical theatre presentation that wrapped up last month after a series of performances in New Hampshire and South Africa.
“We profoundly affected some young lives,” said PSU Education professor Dr. Patricia Lindberg. Lindberg, a veteran educator and children’s theatre director, developed an inspirational musical revue, “Hope is like a Feather,” after soliciting writings from both U.S. and South African teenagers about their hopes and dreams.
“I culled through the responses and wrote a script,” said Lindberg. “Our world really does need much more hope in it, and these talented kids really believed in what they wrote.”
Lindberg invited ten South African students to New Hampshire earlier this summer to participate in the revue; the South African students were from all walks of society, including some that consider running water and indoor plumbing a luxury.
“A true cross cultural exchange is face-to-face learning, an opportunity to see how other people live, this changed the way both groups of students see themselves and their world,” noted Lindberg.
After several weeks of rehearsal, they staged a series of five shows at Kearsarge Regional High School, as part of the Kearsarge Arts Theatre Company for Children that she founded. PSU graduate students also assisted with the production, doing everything from stitching costumes to building sets to publicity.
In early August, the troupe then traveled to South Africa, performing at a variety venues, ranging from Pretoria’s State Theatre to a run-down school in a rural community. At each performance, though, the reaction was the same.
“It was really gratifying because everywhere we went, people responded to the message of hope,” said Lindberg. ‘At our last performance, in a trailer that served as a schoolroom, the kids were really touched by our heartfelt message because they have nothing but hope. For the Americans, it was such an eye-opener for them to see poverty, for them to realize how much they should be grateful for.”
The American students returned home in mid-August, preparing for another school year, but already much wiser in their understanding of the world around them.
As for the South African students, Lindberg says the revue offered them a view of the possibilities of a better life.
“They’re daring to hope that one day, their dreams will be realized. Hope is Like a Feather helped all of us to see our lives a little clearer and to dream a little more.”
For more information about this release, contact Bruce Lyndes, PSU Media Relations Mgr., (603) 535-2775 or firstname.lastname@example.org