Graduate student, Jaime Schlesinger, and undergraduate, Nicole Church, performed on Tuesday, May 1 as part of their final for the course “Preserving the Past through Performance.” The course was part of the Shared Instruction project between FHSU, Emporia State University, and Pittsburg State. The class was taught by Professor Joyce Thierer of Emporia State. Dr. Thierer is well known for her first person historic interpretation. She founded an organization, Ride Into History (http://www.rideintohistory.com/index.html) that offers these performances all over the state. She was willing to teach the art of Chautauqua-style historic interpretation, and Jaime and Nicole were eager to learn; the course was offered via ITV. Every Tuesday the girls would sit in a classroom in Malloy Hall on the FHSU campus and have class with Dr. Thierer and another graduate students who were in a classroom at Emporia State.
Jaime chose Elizabeth Custer because of her ties to Old Fort Hays and the availability of primary sources. Nicole chose Audrey Hepburn because she was fascinated with her as an actress but also as a humanitarian. Both students were a bit reluctant to perform at first, but quickly became comfortable with the history of their character and performing. They also both relayed that they spent more time doing research for their performance than they would for a typical college course paper.
Overall, the course was a success. The FHSU formed a partnership with Emporia State and Ride Into History. The students learned about the art of research and how to convey historical information to a public audience. We hope to continue the partnership and have more classes like this down the road.