TRYPS Leaps from Columbia Mall to Stephens College

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COLUMBIA -Stephens College will soon be the new home of an acclaimed children's theatre program. 

Theatre Reaching Young People and Schools, also known as TRYPS, is moving from its 5,200 square foot space in the Columbia Mall to Hickman Hall on the Stephens College campus. The new space is nearly three times the size of TRYPS's current location.

Jill Womack, TRYPS's executive artistic director, said she's ecstatic about the move.

The collaboration came about after Stephens College president Dianne Lynch approached Womack with the plan.

"We are delighted to offer our students the opportunity to develop an expertise in children's theatre, one of the fastest-growing areas of the preforming arts," Lynch said.

Mimi Hedges, interim dean of performing arts, said Stephens College is creating two classes for next fall that will incorporate children's theatre.

The first class gives Stephens College students an opportunity to gain practical, hands on experience with children's theatre. Students will prepare lesson plans, learn how to work with the children, and help with TRYPS's Saturday program.

The second class will send Stephens College students around to local schools to perform plays, which they have designed specifically for a children's audience.

The students will write the scripts, make packets on the subject material for teachers, and produce the plays. The underlying message of the plays will be worked into the school's curriculum.

Lynch said bringing TRYPS to Stephens College will allow students to gain a deeper understanding of children's theatre. She said this move formalizes Stephens College's commitment to this type of theatre.

Womack  said TRYPS started simply as ideas in a notebook back in 1999. TRYPS is now entering its 15th season.

Hickman Hall, TRYPS's new home, is undergoing renovations, but will be ready for TRYPS to use by April 1st.