A group of students bring China to Region 8

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT)-Students at the Visual and Performing Arts Magnet school in Jonesboro are stepping into China.
The VPA production of Mulan opened Monday, November 14.
Drama teacher Kim Bryant says the production will amaze people.
"This is the biggest show that we have ever done, here, at VPA," Bryant said. "We have more special effects than we've ever had before."
Bryant says the set was envisioned by Anne Rostin and is the work of a lot of people.
"This set is the most amazing set we've ever had," she said. "Every year I think it can't get better, but it always does."
Bryant said the production wouldn't have been possible without the many community volunteers who helped create it for the kids.
"It was really a community partnership, " Bryant remarked. "We had a number of dads up here building the set. Even people that didn't have children in the show, but whose kids go to VPA, volunteered their time to help create the set."
The entire set was built in only five weeks' time.
The students' costumes were also designed by parents.
"Each parent that volunteered was in charge of a specific group that helped create the costumes," Bryant said.
Their costume designer was Carmen Teague.
With the look and feel of a Broadway show, Bryant says the benefits the students gained by participating in a production of this caliber and about a different culture was tremendous.
"We have done a lot of cross circular activities with their studies in class," she said. "They've learned about Asian culture in a way they never would have experienced otherwise. So, it has truly been a hands-on learning experience for them."
Bryant said the literacy and vocabulary the children learned and practiced as a result of the script they learned has expanded.
They worked on the production eight weeks, with students learning their music, choreography and blocking.
During that time, they even had a workshop with Broadway performer Matt Cavenaugh who visited the school to work with the students on their performance and how to develop their characters.
Bryant says all the hard work and effort from the students, parents and community members paid off in a top notch production.
180 students performed in the musical.
For more information about the Visual and Performing Arts Magnet School, log onto their website.

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