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Stark County Catholic High Schools announce Director of the Arts and Fall Plays

Mrs. Criseyda Dowd announced as SCCHS Director of the Arts

Stark County Catholic High Schools continue to expand their Program of the Arts with the appointment of a new position, the Director of the Arts. Criseyda Dowd has been selected as the first person to serve in this position. Dowd is responsible for expanding visual and performing arts opportunities at Central Catholic and St. Thomas Aquinas High Schools. 

Dowd is a graduate of Central Catholic High School, where she performed theatrical roles which instilled a love for theatre and launched her theatre career path. After graduation from Central, Dowd attended Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory earning a Bachelor of Music, receiving honors in musical theatre. Following graduation, Dowd was chosen to study at the prestigious Oxford School of Drama in England. While there, she was selected to perform for, and was trained by, members of the Royal Shakespeare Company and Kenneth Branagh’s Renaissance Theatre Company and earned the honor of top actress in her class. She then moved to London, where she studied voice with internationally renowned singing coach Ian Adam while continuing her performing career.

Dowd has worked on stage, in commercial television, and in film alongside Emmy, BAFTA, and Academy Award nominees and winners in acting and directing. She was the leading actress in a Shakespearean Repertory Company. Following her years in London, she lived in Chicago, where she taught acting and created the program, “Shakespeare: An Actor’s Approach” for middle and high school English Literature classes. After 18 years in Chicago, she and her family recently returned to her hometown in Canton, where she is a private acting and voice coach, and is thrilled to be directing for Stark County Catholic High Schools. 

“The addition of Mrs. Dowd to the Stark County Catholic Schools (SCCS) team is huge win,” said Dan Gravo, president. “Her extensive background in music and theater will help our Stark County Catholic Schools Program for the Arts reach new heights and encourage the passion our students have for their craft. We are excited to see what the future holds for our Program for the Arts and are committed to its growth.”
As part of the Program for the Arts both high schools are preparing for their individual fall plays. Dowd will be directing “Arsenic and Old Lace,” on Friday, November 15 at 7:00 pm and Sunday, November 17 at 1:00 and 6:00 pm at St. Thomas Aquinas. Central will stage their own fall play, “You Should Try the Waffles,” a comedy written by Central student Eliza Whisler on Friday, November 8 and Saturday, November 9. The two high schools will come together for a joint spring musical, directed by Mrs. Criseyda Dowd. This year “Mary Poppins” is set to debut at the Canton Palace Theater in April 2020. 
The SCCS Program for the Arts encompasses visual art, theater and music programs from preschool through grade 12. In elementary school, students can participate in summer theater camp, school musicals, Show Choir, as well as band and visual art partnerships with ArtsinStark. Central Catholic and St. Thomas Aquinas students are provided the opportunity compete in art contests locally and nationally and have access to numerous art courses including painting, graphic design, digital art, College Placement Art, photography and ceramics. In addition, high school students can join their school choirs, band, and Liturgical Music Group. 

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