1000 Cranes for Carver

Our Wish

Currently, Carver Middle School is not able to include Theatre Arts in its elective curriculum. Seeing the importance of the subject in teaching students to express and develop their voice, Kelsey Leahy decided to form a project called 1000 Cranes for Carver in an attempt to bring more attention to the Southside.

Previously, Kelsey had submitted a separate 1000 Cranes project to ArtFields, a nine day art competition in Lake City, SC, with a $50k grand prize. If chosen as a winner, she will donate 80% of the prize to fund a theatre program at Carver Middle School.

Our Plan

Meanwhile, members of the Converse, USC-Upstate, and Wofford Theatre Departments have joined Kelsey’s effort. To raise excitement and engage with students about Theatre, interns from each school will start a drama club at Carver, with aims to perform a script called 1000 CranesBy telling this story about hope and collaborative power, we hope to kickstart Theatre making at Carver, and permanently integrate it into the arts happening there already.

To donate to the project go to the Spartanburg County Foundation’s website and search for Success Initiative. You can donate specifically to 1000 Cranes for Carver by making a note in the “In Honor Of” box or you can donate to the general fund to support operating costs of Success Initiative.

1000 Cranes for Carver will be developing in congruence with the STEAM Garden, an educational community garden project devised by Daniel Zongrone.

Carver’s performance of 1000 Cranes will take place in May on the stage built by Will Nowatka as his Eagle Scout Project.

Meet the Team

L-R: Khalil Gamble, Layla Thurman, Dexter Simmons

  • Kelsey Leahy: Project Coordinator, Executive Secretary of Success Initiative
  • Tessa Russell: Dramaturge, Converse College Alum, Musical Theatre Major
  • Layla Thurman: Junior Theatre and History student at Converse College
  • Professor Melissa Owens: Chair of Department of Theatre and Dance, Converse College
  • Khalil Gamble: Sophomore Theatre and Humanities Student at Wofford College
  • Dr. Mark Ferguson: Department Chair and Director of the Wofford Theatre
  • Dexter Simmons:  Senior Theatre major, minor in Speech Communication at USC Upstate
  • Professor Lee Neibert: Assistant Professor of Theatre, USC Upstate

    Kelsey Leahy with her personal 1000 Cranes project.

    Layla Thurman at the Rainey Amphitheater at Converse College.

    Khalil Gamble in the Tony White Black Box Theatre at Wofford College.

    Dexter Simmons (USC-Upstate student) showing off his acrobatic skills in the Tony White Black Box Theatre at Wofford College.

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