(Sarasota, FL) –Florida Studio Theatre (FST) is pleased to announce that The FST School is offering two online master classes this month led by top artists in the industry. FST Cabaret favorite and Blue Eyed Bettys co-founder Ben Mackel will lead “Anyone Can Write a Song,” a workshop focused on songwriting and musical storytelling, on Wednesday, September 16 at 2PM. The following week, playwright Rachel Lynett helps students rethink how to tell compelling stories in “Playwriting: Searching For Joy Not Trauma.” Lynett’s online master class takes place on Thursday, September 24 at 2PM. Each one-time offering is $25. For more information or to enroll, visit fstschooladults.floridastudiotheatre.org or call 941.366.1350.
Actor, composer, and singer-songwriter Ben Mackel has worked in theatre and film across the Southeast. He starred in three hit productions at FST—American Pie, Poems, Prayers, and Promises, and Pump Boys and Dinettes. Mackel has toured the country extensively as one-third of the beloved indie-folk bluegrass music group, The Blue Eyed Bettys, who performed at FST in 2017. Based in Asheville, NC, he also works as a solo artist under the name of Threadbare. In his songwriting master class with FST, Mackel will empower students to express themselves through music while maximizing the emotional impact of their lyrics. This class is recommended for students with basic experience in music performance and theory.
“Growing up, I never thought writing music would be something I’d be able to do,” said Mackel. “But discovering how easy it can be has opened up a whole new world of creativity! If you like theatre and acting, you’ll love discovering composition.”
Rachel Lynett is a queer Afro-Latinx playwright based in Wisconsin whose work has been featured throughout the eastern United States at theatres like Barrington Stage Company, Capital Repertory Theatre, the Kennedy Center Page to Stage Festival, and Orlando Shakespeare Theatre. Over the past year, FST has commissioned her to write two plays, Carry Me and As You Are. Her playwriting master class challenges the prevalent approach of sourcing stories from trauma rather than joy.
“I am personally driven to write stories that are not based in trauma,” said Lynett. “As a Black, Afro-Latinx queer person, a lot of stories I’ve seen so far about people who look like me are deeply traumatic. I want to write stories in a way that humanize ‘political issues’ because, at the end of the day, these issues are about people, not talking points. Part of being human is finding joy even in our darkest times. Happiness, in a way, is an act of resistance.”
Ben Mackel’s virtual songwriting master class, “Anyone Can Write a Song,” takes place on Wednesday, September 16 at 2PM. Rachel Lynett’s playwriting course—“Playwriting: Searching For Joy Not Trauma”—will be held online on Thursday, September 24 at 2PM. Each master class is $25. For more information or to enroll, visit fstschooladults.floridastudiotheatre.org or call 941.366.1350.
About THE FLORIDA STUDIO THEATRE SCHOOL
Founded in 1982, The Florida Studio Theatre School offers classes year-round for students of all ages and experience levels in acting, music, dance, theatre writing, and improvisation. Led by FST’s teaching staff of trained theatre professionals, students learn solid acting method, stage technique, literary skills, and more. The FST School is also home to youth Spring Break and Summer Theatre Camps as well as FST’s VIP program, serving students with behavioral, emotional, and developmental special needs. Furthering the theatre’s mission “to make theatre as accessible and affordable to as many people as possible,” FST provides full and partial scholarships to students of all ages and experience levels.