Students at Teasley Middle School were the audience for a different kind of production Tuesday — a performance from the Atlanta Opera.

For its Studio Tour, the Atlanta Opera is taking a special adaptation of “Hansel and Gretel” to schools and educational programs in the area, which included Teasley. After the 45-minute performance, students asked cast and crew members questions and learned more about professional opera.

A majority of the school’s population of over 1,600 students is in band or chorus. The music students, as well as any students in connections classes Tuesday morning, were invited to watch the performance and participate in the question and answer workshop.

“It’s all about broadening horizons,” said assistant principal John Carter. “The connection opportunities for this are vast.”

Chorus teacher Courtney Boggs said when she saw the Atlanta Opera was offering discounts for Title 1 schools like Teasley, she jumped at the chance to host them.

I’ve been to Atlanta Opera and seen the quality of performance,” she said. “The quality is not something our students see every day, so for them to have the opportunity to see it is just amazing.”

In the program for the event is a list of all the talent and skills required to put on the show, which gives students ideas for various careers associated with opera and theater.

“It shows our students, even if you’re not in performance, there are so many jobs out there — stage managing, lighting, marketing and communication. It’s helpful for our students to see you can be involved in arts in other kinds of ways,” Boggs said.

Teasley Principal Ben Lester said he plans to share the experience with other middle school leaders and possibly expand the program.

“In the school district there’s a push for STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), and something we’re doing at Teasley is incorporating the arts and making it STEAM. This is a way to connect that to the real world for kids,” Lester said.

Shannon is a reporter covering education, city governments, crime, features, religion and other local news. She is a graduate of Young Harris College and currently lives in unincorporated Woodstock.

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