Cox Communications, director help complete production with Henderson students

Posted at 12:59 PM, May 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-23 20:14:45-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — For the drama class of Thurman White Middle School in Henderson canceling their school play because of the pandemic was devastating.

"It’s definitely sad that we can’t put on the play at school," said eighth-grader Ava Betancourt. "It was going to be my first musical at this school."

However, the curtains wouldn’t quite close on this cast of 22 drama students. Cox teamed up with award-winning director Patrick Osbourne, to create something truly unique.

"My expectation was that I was going to be on stage with a bunch of friends," said Everett Guerin, a sixth-grade student.

Instead, the young thespians got the chance to produce Drawn Closer, an animated film voiced and performed by the 22-student drama class. It tells the story of a school play in trouble, and a drama class determined to save it.

During a year of lost connections, the students were able to perform in the safety of their own homes.

"Being away from my drama friends, I kept things to myself more, and I can’t really connect with anyone," said Lanae Sullivan, an eighth-grade student.

Using innovative mobile motion capture technology, the project allowed the students to perform together again.

"Something that was really clear in talking to all the kids at Thurman White Middle School was their friendships," Osbourne said. "Their social existence is entirely born out of being creative with other people."

The 25-minute film premiered on May 9. Students walked down a socially distanced red carpet in a day-long red carpet event coordinated by Cox. Together, they watched the film for the first time.

Drawn Closer can be viewed nationwide on YouTube.