Palm Beach State College's Dolly Hand Cultural Arts Center (DHCAC) is truly a theatre for the community! Now celebrating its 35th season, the DHCAC was Palm Beach State's first performing arts center. Built on a campus without a theatre department, it is a beautiful example of Palm Beach State's commitment to the arts in the Glades communities.
Outreach and partnerships have been important components of the programming at the DHCAC since it opened in 1982. In 1983, the Center opened its doors to the students of the Glades communities with the Theatre for Schools program. Now called the CAFE series (Cultural Arts for Education), this program usually serves over 15,000 students per year and is offered at a very low cost to the students.
In 1995, the DHCAC held its first week-long residency program with the Missoula Children's Theatre. Local children audition for approximately 50 roles and in just five days, they present a fully-choreographed musical production! In May 2014, the Missoula Children's Theatre returns for their 20th year! Other week-long residencies have included Ballet Folklorico "Quetzalli" de Veracruz, the Caribbean Dance Company of the Virgin Islands, Japanese storyteller Kuniko Yamamoto, and the Kahurangi Maori Dance Theatre of New Zealand.
In addition, the Center has had several multiple week residencies over the years. Two of them were with the dance company, Step Afrika!, who worked with a number of different after school groups to create a step routine that the students performed live on stage at the Dolly Hand with Step Afrika. One other was Mobilizing the Community. Sculpture artist, Kevin Reese, of School Sculptures based in Washington, DC, worked with the 4th and 5th grade students from five of the area's local schools over a three-week period to design and create three kinetic sculptures. The sculptures were given to the City of Belle Glade and were placed in Lyons Park in the northeast section of Belle Glade, where they remain today!
In recent years, the DHCAC sent singer/songwriter Larry Gatlin to Glades Day School to do a creative writing workshop with their high school students and the African Acrobat Troupe Cirque Zuma Zuma, to perform for the entire school. The Improvised Shakespeare Company returned to the Dolly Hand for an encore performance. While here, they performed at Glades Central High School just as they did at Moore Haven Elementary and High Schools when they were previously here.
In addition to the Center's annual professional series, the DHCAC has been able to offer a number of special programs through partnerships with organizations like the Norton Museum of Art, The Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, Palm Beach Opera, VSA Florida Palm Beach County, the Argentinean Arts Organization, the U.S. Army Field Band and the New Gardens Band, to name a few. Over the years, numerous local community businesses, organizations, schools and non-profits have partnered with the DHCAC for performances, pageants, recitals, meetings, and other activities, truly making it a center for the community!
For additional information about the Center's outreach and partnership, contact Leigh Woodham at 561-993-1160.