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Harlem drama teacher continues success

Posted: March 13, 2013 - 12:08am
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The Harlem High School drama students rehearse for"Changing Minds" which they will present at 7 p.m. on March 14, 15, 16 and 22, and at 2 and 7 p.m. March 23 at the school.  Photo by Jim Blaylock
Photo by Jim Blaylock
The Harlem High School drama students rehearse for"Changing Minds" which they will present at 7 p.m. on March 14, 15, 16 and 22, and at 2 and 7 p.m. March 23 at the school.

Dylan Bollinger’s aim is simple: Build on the success of 30 years while implementing new ideas.

“My goal coming in was a seamless transition,” said Bollinger, who took over Harlem High School’s drama department this school year after the retirement of highly acclaimed drama teacher Roy Lewis.

So far, it seems to be working.

At the Georgia Thespian Conference in February, Alex Pitts and Frances Robles auditioned for several colleges. Pitts was accepted to 15 colleges to pursue theater, and Robles was accepted to eight. Also, out of the 250 individual events performed at the conference, Pitts and Sydney Hillman were among 35 entries to receive superior ratings.

At the Georgia Theater Conference in October at Georgia Southwestern State University, Harlem presented Doors, a play about divorce from an 11 year-old boy’s perspective. Several students received awards, including Josh Birdsong, best actor in a leading role; Alex Pitts, best actor in a supporting role; and Tori Hamilton, best actress in a supporting role.

“I knew coming in a lot of things that Roy did successfully for so many years. I did want to do some different things such as technical theater,” he said.

Bollinger also plans to introduce students to newer productions. Harlem’s spring musical is called Changing Minds, which premiered in November 2011.

“It’s like Freaky Friday meets High School Musical,” Bollinger said. “We are one of the first schools in Georgia to do it. I’m really drawn to newer theater.”

Bollinger tries to read at least one new play a week, and he first heard about Changing Minds after seeing a video clip on YouTube.

Lewis said he’s pleased with his successor.

“He’s really gung-ho. I think he’s doing a good job. He’s got a lot of gifts and talents. It’s a great way to grow the program,” he said.

Changing Minds will be staged at 7 p.m., Thursday, Friday and Saturday, March 14, 15 and 16, and March 22, and at 2 and 7 p.m. March 23 at the school. Tickets cost $10 for the evening shows and $7 for the matinee. For more information, call the school at (706) 556-5980.

IF YOU GO

What: Changing Minds

Where: Harlem High School

When: 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday and March 22, and 2 and 7 p.m. March 23

Cost: $10, or $7 for matinee

More: Call (706) 556-5980.

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