Union, NJ - The Union High School Performing Arts Company has been accepted into the prestigious Paper Mill Playhouse Adopt-A-School-Project.

Founded in 1989, the program was designed to introduce New Jersey high school students to the performing arts, to stimulate partnerships between educators, artists, and businesses, and to encourage the permanent inclusion of arts programming as an integral part of New Jersey’s educational system.

“This program will give our students the opportunity to not only see live professional theatre, but also interact with some of the greatest professional artists in the business,” said UHSPAC Director of Theater James Mosser.  “Our students are able to achieve great things on stage, but often cannot afford to attend professional theatre. The students are already so excited about the prospects of what this will mean to them.” 

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Students at each “adopted” school work through a four-year program that includes site participation and in school residencies with industry professionals.  Support for the Adopt-A-School Project is provided by C.R. Bard Foundation, The Mall at Short Hills, MetLife Foundation, Nordstrom, PNC Foundation, PSEG Foundation, and Wells Fargo Foundation. This program is made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. Paper Mill Playhouse is a not-for-profit arts organization. 

The program is structured over a four-year cycle, broken down into different phases each year. Year one, “Our Stage,” is an observation time where students are exposed to the joys of live theater. This season, UHSPAC students will be able to view productions part of Paper Mill Playhouse’s exciting 2017-2018 season including ‘Annie’, ‘The Honeymooners’, ‘The Outsiders’, ‘The Sting’ and ‘Half Time’. Prior to each show, students and staff will take a part in related workshops or seminars.

Over the following three years, students will be exposed to the participation phase entitled “SkillStage,” where they have the opportunity to put what they have observed in year one into practice. From there, the creation phase “YourStage,” is a chance for students to challenge their imaginations and aesthetic understandings and develop decision-making and collaborative skills. A student theater company will be formed for students to create an original theater work, guided by professional artists. Finally, the Analysis Phase “NextStage,” students will return to the Paper Mill mainstage to watch shows with a critical eye.  Students will be a part of a pre-show seminar with leading theater professionals, guiding the students in writing their own critical analysis of their artistic experiences. 

The Union High School Performing Arts Company continues to remain one of the strongest arts training programs for high school students in the state of New Jersey. The UHSPAC is inclusive of an award winning theater department, a nationally rated instrumental music program, and a top-notch choral music group. The Theater Department has been nominated for over 126 prestigious Paper Mill Rising Star Awards, an event that recognizes excellence in high school theater, similar to the Tony Awards. They have won 31 awards and currently hold the record for the most wins ever won by a single show for their 2015 production of Duke Ellington’s Sophisticated Ladies, winning 9 awards.