Southern Colorado community college students to see stage lights

More than 40 southern Colorado community college students and their faculty will visit UCCS and Colorado Springs Saturday.

But this is no ordinary field trip.

Instead, the “Future in Klieg Lights Tour” will expose students to the benefits of a four-year degree and to the possibility of working in the arts by giving them hands-on lessons and behind-the-scenes peeks at academic and professional theater.

Students from Otero Community College, Trinidad State Junior College, Pikes Peak Community College and Pueblo Community College will tour the UCCS theater program before participating in workshops focusing on improvisation, comedy and the technical aspects of theater including stage design. Later, they will tour the Pikes Peak Center before returning to campus to see a  Theaterworks performance of “I am Nicola Tesla.”  The day will conclude with a private question-and-answer session with the cast and crew of the show.

“I know when I was a student at Pikes Peak Community College, it was a big mental hurdle to go to a four-year school,” CU Regent Stephen Ludwig, a co-organizer of the event, said. “We want to open doors to the idea of continuing past a two-year degree.”

Last year, Ludwig joined with the Colorado Community College System to organize a tour of northern Colorado-based university theater programs for interested community college students. Building on that success, this year’s effort   focuses on the southern part of the state.

“We’re trying to bring awareness to the different occupations in the arts,” Jennifer Jirous, STEM, Arts and Information Technology program director, Colorado Community College System, said. “There are many occupations in the arts that students simply have not thought about.”

The “Future in Klieg Lights” tour is sponsored by the Colorado Community College System which provided funds for the students’ travel and meals.

And what’s a Klieg light?

The term is synonymous for the bright lights of movie-making and traces its roots to inventor John Kliegl who, in the early 1900s, created the first intense light sources. That lesson, and many more, will be part of the technical workshop.

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