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Matthews: Providence High Students Can Use Town Facilities For Show After CMS Limits Audience

Providence High School students rehearse for the school's 2021 spring musical, Spamalot. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District said last week parents and family members would not be allowed to attend the show.
Providence High School Theatre Department
Drama students at Providence High may use facilities owned by the town of Matthews to perform their spring musical in front of family and friends, Mayor John Higdon said.

A troupe of drama students at Providence High may use facilities owned by the town of Matthews, including the Fullwood Theater, to perform their spring musical in front of family and friends, Mayor John Higdon said Saturday.

The announcement came after Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools said most end-of-year celebrations, including arts performances, may only be attended by students and faculty members due to "safety protocols."

Parents involved in Providence High's spring production of "Spamalot" objected, noting that the district was allowing parents and families of student-athletes to attend indoor sporting events. The district also was moving forward with plans for indoor, in-person graduation ceremonies.

"If it's safe to put people in a gym, it's safe to put people in an auditorium in family pods far away from each other," said Mitzi Lynch, a parent and president of the school's drama booster club." There's really no difference."

In response to the parents' concerns, Matthews released a statement Saturday offering town-owned facilities to the Providence High drama students so they could perform the show in front of their families.

The town said students at any other CMS school in Matthews were also welcome to use town facilities for any other events restricted by the school district, including award programs, club events and performances.

"Students have been working hard all year in these various clubs and programs, and to not have a place in their school to perform or receive recognition for their efforts in front of their families is a shame," Higdon said in a statement. "... Arts programs are important for student development and growth and we want to make sure our students know how much we value their work.

"We believe the right thing to do is provide equitable access to performance venues in Matthews for all students."

CMS parent Jessica Daitch, who is also the treasurer of Providence High's drama booster club, said Saturday the club was considering the offer.

The town said all events would adhere to Gov. Roy Cooper'slatest executive orders on COVID-19 safety.

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Nick de la Canal is an on air host and reporter covering breaking news, arts and culture, and general assignment stories. His work frequently appears on air and online. Periodically, he tweets: @nickdelacanal