Buzz Worthy

Student arts programs hit funding wall

Sometimes, being a drama student can be no fun.

When you have to cancel a production because there’s no funding, it’s disheartening.

That was the case at Bayshore High School recently. The drama department cancelled its spring production, “A Pirates Life for Me,” because arts funding for the school has basically dried up thanks to a formidable foe — the lackluster economy.

Brendan Murphy, the school’s drama teacher, phoned me with the news, and told me how bad the department was struggling. But he is determined to have a show of some sort go on.

His remedy? Throw a fundraiser.

The school will be hosting a comedy night at 7 p.m. March 20. Featured acts include Lou Angelwolf from the Ron & Ron radio show and Tim the Dairy Farmer, whose mantra is “If you can grow it, pick it, pluck it or pull it, there is a joke in there,” according to his Web site.

The evening is appropriate for ages 14 and up, Murphy said.

Tickets are $10. RSVP by calling 751-7004.

Please help support this event. Proceeds will benefit the drama department, which specializes in children’s theater. In fact, if all goes well, money collected from the event will help on the drama department’s next event: “The Story of the Amazing Monkey King.”

With school budgets being slashed left and right, it’s a wonder that the arts stay afloat as they do. And it’s sad that the kids have to suffer. Music, drama and art are healthy outlets where they can express themselves and discover who they are in the process.

But what happens when you do have the funds to put on a show and the crowds don’t come like they used to?

Enter the Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training.

I ran into Conservatory director Greg Leaming the other week and learned that the Conservatory, like some area theaters, is struggling.

Though they are strong on talent and choose engaging shows to stage, they lack healthy attendance.

How can these talented students hone their skills if they don’t have large audiences to perform to?

If you have any ideas or want to weigh in on the matter, e-mail me or leave a comment at

In the meantime, show your support to the Conservatory by attending its latest show, “Machinal.” Read my story on it in the Herald’s Weekend section this past Thursday, or find it online at

January Holmes, features writer, can be reached at 745-7057.