Today’s spotlight is on former Blake High School teacher Nelson Torres.
Torres will be presented with the Broadway League’s Apple Award today at the Straz Center’s board meeting, and recognized at the Spotlight Awards this Wednesday, for his dedication to the partnership between Blake and the Patel Conservatory.
As part of last year's Broadway Education Project, Torres worked with Megan Byrne, Patel Conservatory production coordinator, to conduct a scenic design workshop for theater students at Blake. During the course of the workshop, students studied In the Heights, and attended a performance of the show at the Straz. They also designed sets based on their own neighborhoods.
During the course of the workshop, Torres saw the opportunity for growth in the partnership between Blake and the Patel Conservatory, seeing the potential for Blake student involvement in the technical aspects of Patel Conservatory Youth Theater productions.
Torres was an essential part of the team for last year’s PCYT production of Fame - the Musical, guiding his students through building the set for the show. Students got the opportunity to learn about and participate in the process of set design, taking ideas on paper to a fully realized production in Ferguson Hall.
Since working with Torres and his technical theater students, the Patel Conservatory has since developed credited internship opportunities for Blake students in the areas of administration, technical theater and production for the Patel Cconservatory Youth Theater program.
By integrating theatrical projects and performances in his curriculum, Torres was able to give his students real life experience and open their minds to the possibilities in the arts.