8th Grade Theatre Lab Students Enjoy Guest Artists

As part of their classes this semester, students in Lydia Horan's 8th grade Theatre Lab will be joined by special guest artists who are working in the performing arts and will talk about their work, their path, and their inspirations. This week, they enjoyed their first special virtual guest artist, once a Tandem Middle Schooler herself. Sonya Hayden, who attended Middle School at Tandem as a member of the Class of 2011 (she played Queen Agravain in the 8th grade production of Once Upon a Mattress), joined the class virtually from NYC to talk about her work as a composer, playwright, and lyricist. 

Sonya talked about her college experience composing music and working on every aspect of theatre. She answered questions about mentors and inspiration (you can bet Lydia was on that list as a major influence), and then explained how she decided to focus on being a composer, lyricist and playwright. She shared a recent project created as part of the BMI Lehman Engel Advanced Musical Theatre Workshop; paired with a composer, she had to write musical numbers for a show based on a film or book. They chose Meg Cabot's The Princess Diaries, then created three songs, with Sonya as lyricist. At the project's end, they filmed their songs being performed. Sonia shared that project video with the class - click here to enjoy her Princess Diaries numbers - which our students really enjoyed. What a gift for a former Tandem theatre student to return and share her thoughts, experiences and advice!

Sonya's work has appeared at local and international venues and she is a member of the BMI Advanced Musical Theatre Workshop, the Dramatists Guild, and ASCAP and is being mentored by Broadway Music  Director Mary-Mitchell Campbell in Maestra’s mentorship program. She was previously a member of The Workshop Theatre’s selective writers’ intensive, the Princeton University Triangle Club Writers Workshop, for which she contributed music and lyrics for three full-length musicals, and Traverse Theatre Young Writers in Scotland. Sonya has an MSc in Playwriting from the University of Edinburgh and an A.B. in Music (Theatre minor) from Princeton University.

Thanks to Sonya for sharing her time and talents. Once a Tandemite, always a Tandemite! The next guest artist will be Demetia Hopkins, professional actress (recently in the Broadway revival of Oklahoma) and dancer (former member of Alvin Ailey company).