P.C. helps bring the arts to St. Pat’s with theater equipment donation


PROVIDENCE — Providence College is dedicated to helping their neighbors on Smith Hill, particularly if it means assisting in bringing the arts to the students of St. Patrick Academy. The college recently donated used lighting and sound equipment; a generous gift that will help the academy kickstart their first-ever theatre program at the school.
Erin Joy Schmidt, associate professor of theatre and managing director of Providence College’s Department of Theatre, Dance and Film, was present on Monday, June 17, as the equipment was unloaded in the St. Patrick Academy gymnasium, a multi-purpose space that will soon be a place to showcase the arts. The academy will now be able to utilize an Express lighting console, Yamaha m2500 32 channel sound mixer, and 10 Altman Fresnel lights, valued at more than $1,000.
Schmidt thought of Robin Tagliaferri, St. Patrick Academy development director, when the opportunity to make the donation came about. The two previously worked together at Bishop McVinney School through FriarServe, a service initiative that pairs Providence College volunteers with five Providence Catholic Pre-K – 8 schools.
“Robin couldn’t believe it,” explained Schmidt. “She was so grateful and so thankful. Honestly, I could cry because it is places like St. Patrick Academy, where the arts are scarce, that need it most. This donation means so much to me just not as a theater artist, but as a human living in the world, knowing how important the arts are, and the importance of exposing students to the arts at a young age.
“We’re just thrilled that it’s a Catholic school. We always say at P.C. that we want to be doing more to support our Smith Hill community. This is the perfect example of our service driven mission at Providence College.”
St. Patrick Academy was thrilled and overwhelmed by the donation as they previously had no arts programming, but the new school year will see the beginnings of a small theatre program, thanks to this donation and the hiring of new teacher Leslie Steeves, who previously taught Fine Arts at Lowell Catholic High School.
“The stars seemed to have aligned perfectly with the hiring of Leslie. It’s kismet,” said Tagliaferri. “This is going to be a vital piece of putting together productions, and we hope to share it with the parish as well. We are so grateful that Erin thought of us.”
Steeves shared with excitement that she is looking forward to the new school year and introducing opportunities in the arts to her new students.
“We are so thrilled to have it,” said Steeves. “The thing about theater is that you could do it outside if you had to, but to have this gift is incredible. From here, we will build.”