Theatre

Instruction for Tennessee’s Young Thespians

Our philosophy is simple — to supply an opportunity for the student to learn. We do this by providing a program of dedicated and focused training in theatrical studies, with an emphasis on the process of creating live theatre. Students are to be given every opportunity possible to explore, to question, and to grow. The Theatre Program is a safe place where there are no wrong answers and no stupid questions. It is an environment fostering open communication and the exchange of knowledge and ideas. The mission of the Theatre Program of the Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts is based on the idea that we are part of a “school” and the objective should always be on learning and exploring the multiple facets of the art of theatre. The mission of the Theatre Program is to instill in every student the respect and understanding of the theatrical process as it leads to final culmination in performance, as well as to give the student the knowledge, skills, and creative opportunities to realize their own potential and grow as an individual, an artist, and a craftsman. Additionally, the student should gain a sense of where the art of theatre resides in relationship to the other art forms of the school, and how all these art forms are interrelated.

Theatre Curriculum

Students in Theatre focus studies primarily on aspects of performance. Conservatory style courses will include a variety of offerings such as Stage Movement, Stage Combat, Alexander Technique, Acting for the Stage, Acting for the Camera, Vocal Training, Musical Theatre, Pantomime, Improvisation, Dance, Auditioning, etc. However, all students must demonstrate a willingness to participate and learn in all aspects of theatre.

Goals

The Theatre Arts discipline embodies four fundamental goals and component knowledge, processes, and skills which this Tennessee framework comprises. The goals are to enable the learner to:

1. Develop means of expression for the individual through the use of drama/theatre experiences

a. Sensory perception b. Emotional expression c. Imagination d. Movement e. Language f. Voice g. Artistic discipline h. Concentration i. Self-concept

2. Create drama/theatre through individual effort, group interaction, and artistic collaboration

a. Ensemble and interpersonal skills b. Problem solving c. Improvisation d. Acting e. Directing f. Playmaking and Playwriting g. Technical elements h. Theatre management

3. Experience drama/theatre in its multicultural, social, and historical contexts

a. Dramatic literature b. Theatre history and heritage c. Drama/Theatre in a multicultural society d. Roles and careers

4. Form aesthetic judgments of drama/theatre experiences

a. Elements of drama b. Audience c. Theatre and other arts d. Aesthetic response  

 

Theatre Faculty

Kate Goodwin
Chair

Kate Goodwin is Chair of the Theatre Division of the Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts. She teaches Stage Management

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Kate Goodwin

Chair

Kate Goodwin is Chair of the Theatre Division of the Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts. She teaches Stage Management and Theatre Education for the Department of Theatre and Dance at MTSU and has spent her Theatre Career as a production/stage manager and sometimes director and designer. Following undergrad at MTSU, she taught at the Nashville School for the Arts, chairing the Theatre Department from 2003-2006. The pursuit of a MFA in Stage Management at UIUC led to an exciting array of opportunities, including touring internationally with The Builders Association production of Continuous City. Other adventures include serving as Director of Education and Touring for Voices of the South Theatre Company in Memphis, TN; teaching at University of Memphis, Eastern Kentucky University, Asbury University, and Centre College; and in 2014, helping found AthensWest Theatre Company in Lexington, KY, where she served as Production Manager before joining the faculty at MTSU.

 

 

Darren E. Levin
Theatre Audition Coordinator/Faculty

Darren E. Levin is a freelance lighting designer and lighting design faculty at Middle Tennessee State University. He has designed

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Darren E. Levin

Theatre Audition Coordinator/Faculty

Darren E. Levin is a freelance lighting designer and lighting design faculty at Middle Tennessee State University. He has designed lighting for Nashville Repertory Theatre, Black Hills Playhouse, Green Mountain Opera Festival, Theatre West Summer Repertory, Cedar Point Live Entertainment. Favorite credits: Topdog/Underdog, Avenue Q, Posterity (Regional Premiere), Pageant (Regional Premiere), Peter and the Starcatcher, Good Monsters (World Premiere), and Pride and Prejudice. Darren worked as the Assistant Technical Director/Lighting Supervisor for McCain Auditorium at Kansas State University. He has also worked with Cedar Point Live Entertainment/Cedar Fair Entertainment Corporation, Juanita K. Hammons Hall for the Performing Arts, and toured with Disney on Ice. Darren is a proud member of United Scenic Artists 829 (USA829), The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Local 205, and the United States Institute of Theatre Technology (serving on regional and national committees within the organization).

 

Jon Royal
Faculty

Jon Royal is a teaching artist and facilitator, from Nashville, TN. He blends his training as a director and actor,

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Jon Royal

Faculty

Jon Royal is a teaching artist and facilitator, from Nashville, TN. He blends his training as a director and actor, with communication models from the National Council for Community and Justice. Over the past twenty years he has directed, or appeared in productions for Nashville Children’s Theatre, Nashville Repertory Theatre, Nashville Shakespeare Festival, Actor’s Bridge Ensemble, and other organizations. In 2019 he was named Best Theatre Director by the Nashville Scene. He cofacilitates two Restorative Justice through the Arts projects: August Wilson Gets R.E.A.L, and My Place: Discovering Self Identity in Community. He serves as the Co Director for Shakespeare Center Los Angeles’ Write On program. Jon is a member of Metro Nashville Arts Commission’s Committee for Anti-Racism and Equity, and has facilitated Anti-Racism training for multiple institutions in the Middle Tennessee area. This year he is a New Leaders Council Fellow, and a Mosaic Changemakers Fellow.

Andrea Yohe
Theatre Accompanist

Andrea Yohe is a Nashville native and MTSU alumni. She graduated with her Bachelor Degree in Theatre in 2012. Since

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Andrea Yohe

Theatre Accompanist

Andrea Yohe is a Nashville native and MTSU alumni. She graduated with her Bachelor Degree in Theatre in 2012. Since 2014, she has been making her living exclusively through music, both teaching and playing. At Trevecca Nazarene University she has accompanied vocalists, played for Commercial Ensembles and the Gospel Choir, and even taught a commercial piano course. Andrea has also been the rehearsal pianist as well as performing keyboardist for musicals over the last 10 years in the greater Nashville area with recent ventures into Assistant Music Directing shows. Aside from regular playing gigs, she also teaches piano to students of all ages in the Murfreesboro area.

Halena Kays
Faculty

Halena Kays is an assistant professor at Northwestern University where she works with MFA actors and directors. She is

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Halena Kays

Faculty

Halena Kays is an assistant professor at Northwestern University where she works with MFA actors and directors. She is based in Chicago where she is a founding member of the artistic collaborative, The Ruffians, former member of the Big Apple Circus Clown Care unit, past artistic director of The Hypocrites, former co-artistic curator for Theater on the Lake, and co-founder and former artistic director of Barrel of Monkeys.

Halena is an Artistic Associate with the Neo-Futurists where she directed Comfortable Shoes, Pop/Waits, 44 Plays for 44 Presidents, Burning Bluebeard, Daredevils, Daredevils Hamlet and Fake Lake. Selected Chicago directing credits: Endgame, Ivywild, Six Characters in Search of an Author (The Hypocrites); The Magic Play (The Goodman), Lord of the Flies (Steppenwolf); How a Boy Falls (Northlight Theatre); On Clover Road (American Blues Theater); Feast (part of a collaborative directing effort) with The Albany Park Theatre Project (The Goodman). Regionally Halena has directed The Magic Play (The Olney Theater Center, The Actor’s Theater of Louisville, Portland Center Stage and Syracuse Stage), Love Song (Nashville Story Garden), and Secretary (Nashville Rep’s Ingram New Works Festival).

Halena has been nominated for Jefferson awards for Best Supporting Actress, Best Direction, Best New Work, and Best Production, named one of the top 50 “players” in Chicago theater by NewCity, is a recipient of the prestigious 3Arts award and received a signed letter from Mr. Rogers saying she was “special” in 1978. She is a UT-Austin and Northwestern grad, and assistant professor of acting and directing at Northwestern University. Proud member, SDC.

Mark Cabus
Faculty

Celebrating 50 years as a show business professional, Mark Cabus is a skilled actor, director, writer, and producer of both

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Mark Cabus

Faculty

Celebrating 50 years as a show business professional, Mark Cabus is a skilled actor, director, writer, and producer of both stage and screen, classically trained in Great Britain, New York, and Washington DC. Having performed all over the world, he is recognized in the Southeast for his work with the Alliance Theatre, Georgia Shakespeare, Theatrical Outfit, Actors Express, Horizon Theatre, the Clarence Brown Company, Nashville Rep, the Nashville Shakespeare Festival, and his own company, Naked Stages. Twice, The Tennessean and Nashville Scene honored Mark as the city’s Best Actor and Best Director. His film and television credits range from the Oscar nominated Selma, John Grisham’s The Client, Nicholas Sparks’ The Longest Ride, and HBO’s True Detective to recurring roles on the Fox series The Resident and AMC’s TURN: Washington’s Spies.

An educator of merit, Mark currently serves on the faculty of Belmont University, teaching theater and film acting, but has served under the auspices of Vanderbilt and Emory universities, the Brooklyn Arts Council, the Digital Arts and Cinema Technology School of Cobble Hill, the Georgia Shakespeare Summer Conservatory, the Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts, and the Nashville Film Institute. He served as a guest lecturer and teaching artist at the University of the South, the Alliance Theatre, and the Tennessee Performing Arts Center. As a Director of Education, he spearheaded programs at Atlanta’s Theatrical Outfit and Nashville’s Green Room Projects. He is recognized as both a Tennessee Arts Commission/Ingram Industries Individual Artist and a Tennessee Williams Fellow.

Tens of thousands have thrilled to Mark’s critically- and publicly-celebrated original solo performance of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol—a longtime Holiday favorite—and now, as a self-produced, full-length feature film, he hopes to reach even more.

 

David Wilkerson
Theatre Performance Faculty

David Wilkerson is a theatre professional with over 100 credits as an actor, director, fight director, stage manager,

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David Wilkerson

Theatre Performance Faculty

David Wilkerson is a theatre professional with over 100 credits as an actor, director, fight director, stage manager, and dialect coach. He was worked with companies such as Nashville Shakespeare Festival, Nashville Rep, Nashville Opera, Vanderbilt University, and Middle Tennessee State University, just to name a few. David has taught at MTSU since August, 2017. 

Trent Blanton
Faculty

Trent Blanton is an Associate Professor of Theatre in Westminster College of the

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Trent Blanton

Faculty

Trent Blanton is an Associate Professor of Theatre in Westminster College of the Arts of Rider University. A proud active member of Actor’s Equity and the Society of Directors and Choreographers, Trent’s professional acting credits include: Young Frankenstein, La Cage Aux Folles (Forestburgh Playhouse, where he is also an Associate Artist and Resident Director). The Gun ShowThe Goldilocks Zone and Slippery as Sin (Passage Theatre Company), A Christmas Carol (Actors Theatre of Louisville), 1776 (Ford’s Theatre, Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera); Fiddler on the Roof (Starlight Musicals of Kansas City & The MUNY of St. Louis); A Christmas Carol, Romeo & Juliet (Alliance Theatre); A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Merchant of Venice, The Taming of the Shrew (Georgia Shakespeare); and Masada (York Theatre NYC). Trent played virtually every major city in North America in the Broadway National Tour of Les Miserables and appeared in the Chinese premiere with Colm Wilkinson at the Shanghai Grand Theatre.

Professional directing credits include A Murder is Announced, Oliver! To Kill a Mockingbird, Crazy for You, Steel Magnolias, Baskerville, The Mystery of Irma Vep (Forestburgh Playhouse); National One Minute Play Festival at Passage Theatre; Company (Florida Atlantic Festival Rep); Eurydice and The Jacques Brel Project (Florida Atlantic University); Romeo and Juliet and The Winter’s Tale (co-direction) and Urinetown (McCarter Theatre Education Programs); and Verdi’s operaFalstaff (Westminster Opera Theatre). Rider productions include Anatomy of Gray, Striking 12, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Laramie Project, Our Town, The Crucible, Metamorphoses, The Praying Mantis, The Penelopiad, She Kills Monsters, Once on This Island, Theory of Relativity, Sophocles: These Seven Sicknesses and Bright Star. For his direction of Rider’s productions of The Crucible and Metamorphoses, Trent received an award for excellence in Directing from the Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival. His productions of Theory of Relativity, These Seven Sicknesses and Bright Star were recommended for inclusion in the regional ACTF festival for the past two seasons. Trent currently serves as the Director for the Rider Pre-College Musical Theatre Institute where he directed the cabaret series and the productions of Chicago, Madagascar, Legally Blonde and Xanadu. Upcoming productions include The Woman in Black for Forestburgh Playhouse and We Will Rock You, a musical based on the music of Queen for the summer Pre-College Musical Theatre Program.

While Trent was on the Les Miserables tour he taught master classes nationally at Brigham Young University, University of Cincinnati College/Conservatory of Music, The Choate School, Young Playwrights of Washington, DC and University of Texas at El Paso. He continues to be a guest faculty member at the Springer Theatre Academy in Acting and Musical Theatre. He has served as an instructor for the Georgia Shakespeare Festival while touring the southeast with the company. He also served on the faculty of Georgia College where he taught Voice and Movement and Styles in Acting. He has conducted numerous master classes in Auditioning as well as the Michael Chekhov Technique for the Southeastern Theatre Conference. This past year he had the honor of being a guest teacher in Musical Theatre and the Michael Chekhov Technique for the National Association of Teachers of Singers Conference at Rutgers and The College of New Jersey. He has conducted workshops for the NJ Thespians as well as coordinates their College Auditions. This year, he organized the first Out-of-Region screening audition for the Southeastern Theatre Conference Professional Screening Auditions. He has also previously served as the chair of the Acting Committee for the organization as well. Trent serves as a production respondent for the Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival and yearly as a respondent to Shakepearience on the Rider University campus.

Trent holds an MFA in Acting from Florida Atlantic University where he was the recipient of the Joshua Logan Fellowship and a certificate in the practical study of the Michael Chekhov Technique with the Michael Chekhov Association. Trent is also a member of the National Alliance of Teachers of Acting. For Rider, Trent teaches acting in both the Acting (Chekhov and Shakespeare) and Musical Theatre (Scene Study, Song as Text and Audition Prep) programs at Rider University. He has classes in Devised Theatre, Acting for the Graduate Singer (for Westminster Choir College) and Movement for the Actor. He is currently developing the new BFA program in Acting for the department as well as assisting in redesigning the current Bachelor of Arts programs. He serves as advisor for the students pursuing the Bachelor of Arts degree in Musical Theatre as well. Trent is married to fellow professor Rebecca Simon and has a perfect Labrador Retriever named Tony.

Rebecca Simon
Faculty

REBECCA SIMON is an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Theatre and

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Rebecca Simon

Faculty

REBECCA SIMON is an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Theatre and Dance.  She serves as the resident Voice and Speech coach for the Rider University productions. Previously, she directed the cabaret The Human Heart and will direct the upcoming production of Heathers, The Musical this spring.

Rebecca had the honor of serving as the vocal coach for the McCarter Theatre Company’s production of The White Snake directed by Tony Award winner Mary Zimmerman. This past November, she also did voice and dialect work for the current production of A Christmas Carol. For Bristol Riverside Theatre, she did dialects for their productions of Witness for the Prosecution and Julia Cho’s The Language Archive. She has coached Princeton Day School’s productions of Girls Like That and Macbeth, as well as productions for Robbinsville High School.

Rebecca is a resident teaching artist for the McCarter Theatre Company. Every year she directs Shakespeare productions with the fifth graders of Princeton Area Schools.  

Rebecca is a proud member of Actors Equity. Acting credits include the Broadway National Tours of Fiddler on the Roof with Theodore Bikel and The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber starring Michael Bolton. She also toured with The Trans-Siberian Orchestra as a vocalist.  New York credits include Masada at the York Theatre, Boulevard X at Raw Space, the premiere of Piper’s Song at the Gene Frankel Theatre and Alcestis and Salome, both with the NYU Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program.  

Recently, she appeared in The Addams Family as Morticia at The Forestburgh Playhouse. Other Forestburgh credits include, Young Frankenstein, A Murder is Announced and La Cage Aux Folles. Other regional credits include Sweet Charity (Aurora Theatre) Les Miserables (Actors Playhouse) and Evita, Twelfth Night, Company and Noises Off (Florida Atlantic Festival Repertory).

Directing credits include Shout! The Mod Musical at The Forestburgh Playhouse and Arcadia University. She holds an M.F.A in Acting from Florida Atlantic University where she held the Joshua Logan Assistantship and a certification in Colaianni Speech Technique.  Rebecca teaches Acting, Speech for the Actor and Voice for the Actor in both the acting and musical theatre programs at Rider. Rebecca maintains a vibrant acting and vocal training practice in Pennington, NJ.

 

Guest Artists/Instructors

 

 

Jacqueline Springfield
Guest Artists/Instructors

Jacqueline Springfield is an actor, director and teaching artist specializing in Voice, Speech and Dialects. She holds a Master of Fine

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Jacqueline Springfield

Guest Artists/Instructors

Jacqueline Springfield is an actor, director and teaching artist specializing in Voice, Speech and Dialects. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Acting from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and is a certified Associate Instructor of Fitzmaurice Voicework. In addition to her work in film, theater and television, Jacqueline also performs voiceovers and has appeared in numerous commercials, industrials, and print ads.

 

Curtis Lipsey
Guest Artists/Instructors

CURTIS LIPSEY (Company Member) is a recent graduate of the University of Kentucky earning his BA in Theatre. Actor’s Express:

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Curtis Lipsey

Guest Artists/Instructors

CURTIS LIPSEY (Company Member) is a recent graduate of the University of Kentucky earning his BA in Theatre. Actor’s Express: 2018-2019 Intern Company, An Octoroon (Br’er Rabbit/BJJ u/s), Jump (Dad u/s), Reykjavík (Grigor u/s), Falsettos (Mendel u/s). Regional: The Christians and Our Town (AthensWest Theatre Company), A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Tecumseh! (Tecumseh Outdoor Drama). Educational: Henry VIn the Red and Brown WaterThe Importance of Being Earnest, and The Zoo Story. He would like to thank his friends and family for their support and God for the blessings he has been afforded.

 

Rodrikus Springfield
Guest Artists/Instructors

MFA Acting – Brooklyn College:

Acting – Mary Beth Easley, Mark Blum, Woodie King Jr.; Voice – Judylee Vivier, Jacqueline Holmes;

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Rodrikus Springfield

Guest Artists/Instructors

MFA Acting – Brooklyn College:

Acting – Mary Beth Easley, Mark Blum, Woodie King Jr.; Voice – Judylee Vivier, Jacqueline Holmes; Shakespeare – Jim Jack; Movement/Alexander Technique – Laura Smith; Diction & Dialect – Charlotte Fleck; Improvisation – Rose Bonczek; Stage Combat – Michael Chin; On-Camera Acting – Gary Cowling, Mark Blum

Skills:Dialects: Southern, West African, Caribbean; Trumpet; Baritone: Licensed Driver

 

Bill Bowers
Guest Artists/Instructors

Hailed by critics as the most accomplished and renowned mime of his generation, Bill Bowers currently performs and teaches

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Bill Bowers

Guest Artists/Instructors

Hailed by critics as the most accomplished and renowned mime of his generation, Bill Bowers currently performs and teaches the art of physical storytelling throughout the world.  His methods and exploration of universal truths transcend the spoken word to educate and touch audiences in countries as varied as Poland, The Netherlands, Scotland, Japan, Macedonia, Romania, Italy, Germany, Norway, Germany and Austria.

 

An award-winning actor, Bowers has also performed in all 50 United States and Puerto Rico appearing on the stages of Broadway, The Kennedy Center, The White House, Steppenwolf, LaMaMa, Theatre for a New Audience, St. Anne’s Warehouse, Urban Stages, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, Ensemble Studio Theater, Radio City Music Hall, HERE, and the New York International Fringe Festival. His Broadway credits include Zazu in The Lion King and Leggett in The Scarlet Pimpernel.   He has also portrayed the great silent clowns:  Charlie Chaplin in the world premiere of Little Tramp, Pierrot in the world premiere of Beethoven N Pierrot, and Petruchka with The Colorado Symphony.     

 

A passionate student and educator, Bowers studied with the legendary Marcel Marceau and currently serves on the faculties of New York University, Stella Adler Conservatory, and William Esper Studios. He is also presently a Visiting Professor at Williams College. He holds an MFA from Rutgers University’s Mason Gross School of the Arts, and an Honorary PhD from Rocky Mountain College.

 

Jon Royal
Theatre Visiting Artist

Jon Royal is a theatre professional, and facilitator, from Nashville, TN. He is a graduate of MTSU, where

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Jon Royal

Theatre Visiting Artist

Jon Royal is a theatre professional, and facilitator, from Nashville, TN. He is a graduate of MTSU, where he won the American College Theatre Festival Regional Student Directing Award. He has directed, or appeared in productions for Nashville Children’s Theatre, Nashville Repertory Theatre, Nashville Shakespeare Festival, Actor’s Bridge Ensemble, Street Theatre Company, Belmont University, Nashville School of the Arts, People’s Branch Theatre, amongst other organizations. He serves as teaching artist for Tennessee Performing Arts Center’ s Artsmart and Disney Musicals in the Schools. He is currently the Facilitation Director for Shakespeare Center Los Angeles’ Will Power to Youth program.

As part of Metro Nashville Arts Commission's Restorative Justice through the Arts initiative that he cofacilitates three projects: August Wilson Gets R.E.A.L., My Place: Discovering Self Identity in Community, and the Pipeline Project. He blends his training as an actor, with communication models from the National Council for Community and Justice to help build courageous spaces for individuals to grapple with culture, while creating strong ensembles.     

Dance

Dance

Governor’s School students learn that dance is inherent to our heritage and world and that of others around us. Students are encouraged to perceive, evaluate, and understand dance as a conveyor of culture.

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Filmmaking

Filmmaking

Filmmaking students are introduced to both the theory and technical aspects of filmmaking. Through lectures, films and hand-on experiences, students will learn the three aspects of filmmaking: pre-production, production, and post-production.

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Instrumental Program

Instrumental Program

The School for the Arts provides educational instruction for students skilled in strings, wind ensemble, piano, and both choral and opera technique..

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Vocal Music

Vocal Music

The School for the Arts provides educational instruction for students skilled in strings, wind ensemble, piano, and both choral and opera technique..

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Visual Art

Visual Art

Visual Arts students learn human understanding, achievement and self-development through the study and practice of visual art.

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