FERRIER FILES: TPAC brings Disney magic to Metro Nashville students

(Fox 17 News)

There is something more exciting than seeing the Little Mermaid at TPAC, and that's being part of the production.

TPAC and Disney Musicals in Schools have partnered with Metro Nashville Public Schools to help mentor productions.

“We train teacher teams to be choreographers, directors and everything that is needed to support the students and the students can really shine,” said Kristin Horsley, TPAC Senior Director of Education. "We are here to help them for three full years."

TPAC and Disney Musicals in Schools are in 17 Metro Schools. You can really see what it does when you visit Oliver Middle School, where TPAC has been helping for three years.

“Its been huge," said Caroline Sharp, Oliver Magnet school drama teacher. "It's been a game changer because we started in a little portable with 25 kids. The next year we applied for Disney grant and got it, and it changed everything. We had 150 kids try out that year! It has been like that ever since."

Sharp has had a front row seat to magic of what theater does to young lives.

“They just find a home," Sharp said. "They belong. They want to go to school. They want to be here for afternoon rehearsal. There are times when we say let's take a Friday off and they say no."

Having theater in their lives invites so many other things like teamwork, collaboration, relationship, hard work, and the kind of bonding that you only get with this kind of intense experience.

“I had a student last year, when Mary Poppins was over, she said I feel like there is a huge place in my heart that is filled now," Sharp said. "We have that. Kids feel like they belong for the first time."

Powerful words that are easy to believe when you look into the eyes of this young cast and crew, loving every moment.

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