Creating a Home for All

Arts & Culture

Pictured: Ricardo Robinson-Shinall. Photo courtesy of Florida Studio Theatre.

“I always tell my freshmen that theater teaches you how to live in the world and get through it,” says Ricardo Robinson-Shinall, the Fine Arts Department Chair at Braden River High School and Florida Studio Theatre’s WRITE A PLAY educator of the year. Florida Studio Theatre’s WRITE A PLAY program is a year-round arts integration initiative that provides students with the framework and skills to write their own plays. This year, out of thousands of submissions, two of Robinson-Shinall’s students wrote a winning play, Vending Machine Envy and another received honorable mention for Worst Day Ever. On Saturday, May 14th, Robinson-Shinall will be recognized for his achievements in education in Florida Studio Theatre’s Young Playwrights Festival Day.

"I’m The Marching Band of Pirates Colorguard Director at Braden River High School and I teach theater and dance. My day has a period of colorguard class, two dance classes, then three theater classes. Right after school I usually have a thespian meeting, and if we’re in musical season then I have a musical rehearsal, and after that I have a color guard rehearsal. I go from 7:30am to 7:30pm pretty much six days a week,” chuckles Robinson-Shinall.

Robinson-Shinall, who’s receiving his Bachelor's degree on Saturday, which would allow him to move into an administrative role, still isn’t ready to leave the classroom. “I feel like I have way too much magic left to make with these kids, so I’m just not ready yet.”

“I teach the vast majority of my students for four whole years. I go with them from being these nasty little freshmen to stepping off into the world as an adult. I think the best part of job is not only helping my students creatively, but rather helping them figure out who they are and giving them a safe space to experiment, to not be judged and to have a home. Our t-shirts this year say ‘I found the theater and I found my home’. I think that’s really the most important aspect of my job,” Robinson-Shinall adds.

Pictured: Ricardo Robinson-Shinall. Photo courtesy of Florida Studio Theatre.

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