With the arrival of Blue Man Group last week, Shea’s Performing Arts Center offered a master class, “Blue Man Group: Thinking Outside the Box,” for students in grades nine through 12. The class focused on exploring the elements of performance that are presented in Blue Man Group’s show – visual art, music and creative movement.

Each day of the workshop began with theater games before focusing on a different aspect of Blue Man Group’s performances. The students are able to take these ideas and implant them into their own performances.

At the end of the class, the students were split into groups of about four or five and were assigned a story to retell using the skills and performance elements that they learned. These stories were then performed at Shea’s Smith Theatre.

The students were from schools all across Western New York. Although the students did not need prior theater or music experience, many had some and hoped that, through the class, they would be able to learn new techniques and meet other artists. Some of the highlights of the workshop included making instruments out of everyday materials like Styrofoam, and sound-painting activities.

The students who participated said they learned a lot about performance.

“These workshops have really made it clear to me that there are so many different ways to perform on stage,” said Brooke Czemerynski, a junior at Frontier High School. “All artists are unique and have their own way of showing their feelings and thoughts through art, and these workshops have made me see and appreciate that fact.”

Emily DeRoo is a senior at Williamsville North High School.