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Alumni Review with Sidney Beeman!

1. How has your experience at Mountain City Center for the Arts influenced you?

MCCA instilled in me the belief in myself and my own abilities, fostering a sense of self-assurance and confidence that transcended the stage!

2. Can you share some memorable moments or experiences during your time at Mountain City Center for the Arts?

One of my favorite MCCA memories is when I had the opportunity to direct the 2018 Halloween Spooktacular Performance. Halloween is my favorite holiday and I had several songs and themes in mind for potential performances. Not only was I able to direct my first ever performance, but I got to work with my sister, Reillee Beeman, and Karlee Witherite, who are both alumni of MCCA, as student choreographers. It was so much fun, choreographing the routines, designing the theme and the costumes, and picking out the music. Fun fact about this performance, I was inspired by a Michael Jackson dance game to include the song “Ghost” and we used some of the choreography from the music video in this performance! 

3. What do you miss most about MCCA?

I really miss being able to let loose, embrace silliness, and express my creativity. AND playing improv games, like Props, Yes And, and Party Quirks just to name a few. This may seem really specific, but I am a big fan of the improv show "Whose Line Is It Anyways”, and I always loved being able to engage in the improvisation of those games both with my peers and my students at MCCA. I always say that these games are so important to becoming not just a more confident improviser or actor, but a more confident person. At MCCA being silly is not just allowed, but encouraged! 

4. What was your major in college and why did you choose it?

I graduated with my Bachelors degree in Mass Communication with a focus of video production at Frostburg State University. I then continued my education at Wake Forest University in the Documentary Film Program to gain my Master of Fine Arts. I initially pursued video production as a major/concentration in my undergraduate degree, inspired by my formative experiences in high school. It all began in a class called Historical Research Methods, where we were tasked with creating a documentary film from scratch. As I worked with my peers to learn how to conduct an interview and edit a film, I found myself captivated by the medium and the potential it held for a career path. I realized I have a passion for storytelling and found my niche within Documentary films, and so the transition to the graduate program was an easy decision for me. And I was actually inspired to continue into graduate school because of my time teaching at MCCA. As a staff member at MCCA, I taught an acting class and while teaching, I realized I had a passion for working with students and helping them develop a love of their craft. Now as an educator, I often refer to the William Butler Yeats quote:  “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” For me, teaching is lighting that kind of fire within my students, that encourages them to continue to want to learn and experience more.

5. What are your goals now after college?!

Currently I am an independent documentary filmmaker, I have been working in video storytelling for almost a decade now, serving as editor, associate producer, cinematographer, or director on a variety of projects. I am also an adjunct professor in the Film Studies program at the University of North Carolina Charlotte. Most recently I have released my directorial debut documentary film, “Finding Home”. This film was selected to be the Frostburg State University Appalachian Festival 2023 Film, it has been presented at several film festivals and has screened on West Virginia Public Broadcasting. It also just won the Audience Choice Award at the Boone Docs Film Festival. I am also working on several new film projects including one that will premiere this Spring, called “Sweet Appalachia: The Story of Delfest”! This is a story that is close to home and MCCA, it’s all about local bluegrass music festival Delfest. If you want to stay updated with my upcoming film projects you can follow my film page on Instagram and Facebook @Sidney Beeman Film.

7. Are you still participating in the arts?

No, I'm not actively participating in the performing arts as a dancer, singer, or actress anymore, although there are times when I miss it. However, I'm still deeply involved in the arts world through filmmaking. Despite not being on stage or in front of the camera, I'm passionately engaged in the creative process behind the scenes. My experience at MCCA has actually provided me with an invaluable resource of knowledge in the film world. The worlds of acting and theater are inherently intertwined with filmmaking, and I frequently use my insights from the realm of performing arts to enhance my craft in filmmaking.

I continue to be a strong supporter of the arts. I make it a point to attend musicals, plays, performances, art exhibits, and concerts whenever possible. My love for the arts continues to thrive! And I’m actually currently collaborating on the creation of a dance film alongside an alumni and a few of my students from UNCC! Our aim is to pay homage to the rich history of Black dance and the film will premiere on Juneteenth!

8. Tell us a fun fact about yourself!

Del McCoury is my honorary Grandpa!

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