FST Forges Connections Online

by Becca Jennings

In a time of social distance, FST is fostering much-needed social connection.

The FST School announced that it’s going virtual beginning the week of May 11. With over 20 classes to choose from, students ages four to 104 are finding exciting new ways to continue their artistic journey…online.

Instructor Catherine Randazzo approached transitioning her classes to the digital world feeling ready and excited for a new challenge.

“Online learning really makes the content come to the forefront of our thinking in a new and highly-focused way,” shared Randazzo.

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Jason Cannon leads Pedro Leos in his Flying Solo class. Photo by Justin M. Jones.

For fellow instructor Jason Cannon, in many ways, teaching online is a lot like teaching off-line.

“Some classes adapt to the online platform more easily than others, but the thrust of our FST School has always been to encourage the creativity that already exists in every student,” Cannon explained. “The similarities between classroom learning and virtual learning far outweigh the differences. Frankly, the sense of connection that these classes are nurturing is incredibly powerful, not just for the students, but for me as well.”

It is exciting to be able connect not only with teachers and classmates who are also our Sarasota neighbors, but with theatre enthusiasts from all over the country as well. Cannon says thanks to the move to online, he’s seen students joining FST classes from as far as California, Maine, and New Jersey.

While Randazzo and Cannon both teach adult classes, Denee Lortz is using this online platform to bring theatrical fun and learning to youth. Lortz, who also grew up in the FST School herself, has quickly become inspired by the new technology.

“The show must go on!” said Lortz. “My duty as a Teaching Artist is to make theatre as accessible as possible. Online classes offer a unique opportunity for families to bring FST into their own homes. Students beam with pride as they introduce the class to their pets or favorite items in their rooms.”

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Denee Lortz rehearses with Youth Acting students (Spring 2018). Photo by Sarah Haley.

Whether teaching youth, teens, or adults, all of our seven FST School instructors have found their students share one main thing in common: they are all hungry to socialize; to connect.

“I am thrilled that students are so grateful to have something to look forward to,” said Randazzo. “People are eager to connect in many new ways.”

Cannon agrees, “The FST School: Online is proof that art and life go on – no matter what. Humans are resilient. Community is resilient. Art brings us together. These classes are a little piece of normalcy, and an outlet for all the various pressures and emotions we are all feeling together.”

The FST School Online offers over 20 virtual classes in Acting, Singing, Dancing, Theatre Writing, Improvisation, Theatre Appreciation, and more. Classes are just $50 for four sessions. For more information and to enroll, click the links below or call 941.366.1350.

FST School: Online | Ages 18+

FST School: Online | Ages 4-17