The Guilford Performing Arts Festival (GPAF) and Guilford Public Schools have formed a partnership in which musicians, actors and dancers from the festival will teach at Guilford High School and some festival performances will be held at the high school’s 500-seat Performing Arts Center. In addition, high-school musical ensembles will perform in the 2019 festival and other students will take part in production work such as stagecraft and videography.

As many as 10 professional musicians, actors and dancers from the festival will conduct master classes, workshops or residencies at the high school during the week leading up to the festival, at no cost to the school; many artists will involve students in their public performances. High-school musical groups—including the GHS Band, Jazz Ensemble, Wind Ensemble, Concert Choir and Voices choral ensemble—will perform while other students will create sets and/or digitally document the festival.

GPAF will stage three “marquee” performances at the high school’s Performing Arts Center. The first acts will be announced shortly, while details of the school program, including the names of the teaching artists, are expected to be finalized by June. The full festival schedule will be announced in the summer.

“The Guilford Performing Arts Festival has three core goals: entertainment, education and impact,” festival Chairman William Boughton said. “Partnering with Guilford Public Schools allows us to offer students the expertise of professional artists while also giving them performing opportunities in a semi-professional, festival atmosphere. Meanwhile, the size and quality of the Performing Arts Center enables us to bring national acts to Guilford.” Boughton said the festival is pursuing its “impact” goal by developing a performing arts-based community-service program, details of which will be announced this spring.

Guilford High School Principal Rick Misenti said the school was drawn to GPAF’s offer to provide students with education that goes beyond the school’s performing arts curriculum. “We don’t have a program in dance, for example,” Misenti said, “and the festival will bring professional dance educators into the school to work with students for a week. It’s a rare opportunity for students to benefit from the expertise of world-class artists actively engaged in their professions.”

The public portion of the Guilford Performing Arts Festival is scheduled for September 26 to 29, 2019, and will take place at some 20 venues in Guilford, most of them downtown. Between 50 and 75 performances are expected, featuring local and regional artists, several national acts and participatory events. Performer applications are being accepted online via the GPAF website until May 31.