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Altamont students offer a bit of the bard

Altamont Elementary students are once again preparing for a Shakespeare play, a tradition at the school for fifth-grade students.

Fifth-grade teacher Allan Lockwood said the students have been hard at work this year as they prepare to perform The Tempest April 9 and 10.

New York State Theatre Institute education director Christine Saplin has been working with Lockwood to give the students a real lesson in theater. Saplin has worked over the past few months, teaching students how a director, stage crew, lighting crew, producer and costume designer turn an open stage into a story.

"The Altamont students have worked hard and have learned that putting on a play is more than saying some lines in front of an audience. It's a real commitment and a lesson in teamwork," said Saplin.

Fifth-grade student and actress Sarah Forman said she did not think she would ever have a chance to act on stage for an audience.

"I never thought about acting in a play, but when I found out about this opportunity, I wanted to take it. I'm glad I did," said Forman.

Lockwood, who has worked at the school for almost 10 years, said the production is a huge undertaking that relies on the involvement and commitment of all of the fifth-grade students. He said it also depends on many staff members for countless hours of time and assistance.

"For many years we have also had a strong relationship with the New York State Theater Institute and work closely with Mrs. Saplin. All of the work that goes into the production takes place after school hours. Many staff members and students voluntarily stay after school until 5 p.m. This makes for a very long day but is a good indicator of the dedication the students and staff members have for this project. It is really a unique experience that helps to bring the school community closer," said Lockwood.

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