Ever in Your Favor

Suzanne Collins, creator of The Hunger Games phenomenon, started her creative journey at the acclaimed Alabama School of Fine Arts.

The Hunger Games (Book 1)

How does the scope of that accomplishment impact the vision of today’s asfa students as they plot their own course for the future?

My teenaged daughter is normally pretty active, wandering around the house, at one of her friends’ houses, moving from the computer to her bedroom and back again.

Imagine my surprise when she became a lump in a comfortable chair in a corner of the living room. An immovable lump. Days went by. Evenings turned from twilight to dark without her hand reaching up to even turn on the light. Someone had to do it for her.

It was The Hunger Games. First one book, then the next, then the final; all consumed as if her life depended on it. As if she were one of those characters fighting to the death. What an extraordinary hold a creative person can have over another human being, to be able to reach into the imagination and take it over.

Suzanne Collins, author of the trilogy, (find the link to her interview at the bottom of the page) lived in a number of states during her growing-up years, but she spent arguably some of her most formative years here in Birmingham as a student at the Alabama School of Fine Arts.

Alabama School of Fine Arts

One of the state’s shining examples of the power of education, ASFA has enjoyed great success and just seems to continue its growth pattern. The school’s new Dorothy Jemison Day Theater, which opened last month, is a state-of-the-art facility built for both school and community use and among the most technically advanced venues of its kind in the entire Southeast.

Ebonee Johnson

Ebonee Johnson, 16 and a junior at ASFA, sees the theatre as just one more aspect of what makes ASFA a great school. “I am really excited to be part of a school where so many other people have made so much impact,” Johnson says. “We are at the center of the city and that says a lot. ASFA really involves themselves in the community. To see a graduate of ASFA, like Suzanne Collins, make such a big impact says a lot about the power we have as artists. It proves we have a voice and the power to make a difference in the community. We wanted to use our talents to reach people. It is much deeper than being able to portray a character, or write something or create art.” Johnson is a theatre major, acting and working in sound design, something she has done at her church, Faith Chapel Christian Center in Wylam, since she was about nine years old.

This year Johnson was technical director and stage manager for the school’s series of programs about Black History Month. “I love realizing people came and learned more about their culture than they ever knew.”

Katrina Fox and Pa Washington

P.J. Washington is a dorm student at ASFA who moved here from Aliceville, Ala., for the singular experience he says ASFA provides. “It’s been an amazing experience. It is such a family here. It is an environment where no matter where you come from or who you are, you can find your place here. It is so encouraging to know that there are people who go here and then go on to do great things. They found their foundation at ASFA, and I have, too.”

ASFA theatre class works on building the set

Katharina Fox, 16, is in the 10th grade and in her second year at ASFA. She is focused on becoming an actress. “I was pretty unsure about it at first, but now I have decided to go into acting as a career. I love it so much I just cannot imagine not being a part of it,” Fox says. “If any place can change you it is ASFA. You are surrounded by so many talented people.”

Click here to read our interview with Suzanne Collins:

and may the odds be ever in your favor.

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