Students from six South Alabama high schools participated in the 2018 Alabama Region One competition of Poetry Out Loud (POL), an annual recitation contest for high school students sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. The event took place Dec. 7 in Bernheim Hall at the Ben May Main Branch of the Mobile Public Library and was organized by the Mobile Arts Council (MAC), which coordinates POL activities in Region One in partnership with the library and the Alabama State Council on the Arts.

Students competed in two categories, reciting either original poems or poems selected from the official POL anthology. First-place original poetry winner was Courtney McLendon of Mary G. Montgomery High School. First-place anthology poetry winner was Mikaela Boecher from Gulf Shores High School. Photos of all the winners are on MAC’s Facebook page.

The eight Region One winners will travel to the state contest, to be held Feb. 18 at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival in Montgomery. The winner of the state anthology competition will move on to April’s national contest in Washington, D.C., where the top prize is $20,000.

Innovative holiday experience at Saenger

New Orleans natives Ian and Eleanor Carney met as teens in ballet class. The careers carried them to New York and while dancing in Twyla Tharp’s “Movin’ Out” on Broadway, Ian met Corbin Popp. Both discovered a mutual intrigue with technology to match their artistic bent.

After they discovered a product called “EL wire,” an idea was sparked. Their wives agreed to a joint effort combining puppetry, shapes and design in making light-based neon creatures on a darkened stage.

The result — Crescent City-based Lightwire Theater — brings innovative theatrical experiences to international audiences. The troupe has appeared in Hong Kong, Estonia, Canada, Belarus, China and Abu Dhabi, and in Paris.

The amalgamation of music, dance, puppetry and visual wonder will appear in Mobile when Lightwire brings “A Very Electric Christmas” to the Saenger Theatre (6 S. Joachim St.) on Dec. 23 at 2:30 p.m. for a two-hour extravaganza. The show is presented by Classical Ballet of Mobile, Gulf Coast Auto Group, and Hargrove and Associates.

Tickets are $24 for adults, $13.50 for children 12 and under. Tickets are available at Mobile Civic Center and Saenger Theatre box offices or through Ticketmaster. Major credit cards and cash are accepted.

Bicentennial murals to be unveiled in Fairhope

Fairhope artist Dean Mosher created murals for the Alabama State Bicentennial to be displayed at the Eastern Shore Art Center (401 Oak Ave., Fairhope) from Jan. 4 through Feb. 23. Two of these — “Battle of Fort Mims” and “Tribute to the Merchant Marine” — will be unveiled for public viewing during the Jan. 4 First Friday Art Walk.

Other Mosher works dealing with Alabama history and culture, along with art and historical artifacts, will be displayed.

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