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Writing and performing are the music driving ArtStream production

Volunteer mentor Sylvia Herrada, actor Kirsten Davidson and director Madeleine Barry in ArtStream production. COURTESY PHOTOVolunteer mentor Sylvia Herrada, actor Kirsten Davidson and director Madeleine Barry in ArtStream production. COURTESY PHOTO  During rehearsals, actors may offer input about how to do a scene. But at ArtStream, Inc., they actually help write as well as perform.  

They vote on a theme, create original characters, and improvise scenes, which staff then script into original, one-act musicals.

After the script is in place, the production proceeds like any other – with the help of a professional music director and choreographer, said Heller An Shapiro, executive director.

ArtStream productions present a double-bill of two musicals, each about an hour long.

Actors with disabilities, volunteer mentors, and theater professionals work as a team, producing six inclusive musicals in the region, in addition to classes in acting and social skills.

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On stage in Downtown Silver Spring with Black Box and Highwood Theatres

IMG 8458 copy highwoodThe cast of the Highwood Theatre production of “Into the Woods.” COURTESY PHOTO BY HIGHWOOD THEATRE   Downtown Silver Spring has become a hub of activity, featuring stores, restaurants, and various forms of entertainment, ranging from a skating rink to movie theaters to outdoor concerts.

It’s also the home of two live theatres.

The 140-seat Silver Spring Black Box Theatre, located at 8641 Colesville Road, is home to four theatre groups, which perform there regularly as part of the Theatre Consortium of Silver Spring. But the community-owned building also rents out space for one-night engagements and limited runs, giving the opportunity to new artists and arts organizations to put on fare as varied as plays, set lists, improv comedy, open-mic and dance concerts, said Jonathan Ezra Rubin, managing director of the Consortium. There’s even a pole-dance competition on August 12, produced by the Titans of Pole.

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