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Ep. 54: School Shootings, Columbinus, and the Role of Theater to Affect Change

In 1999, two high school seniors went on a shooting rampage at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, killing 13 people and wounding 20 others before turning their guns on themselves. Since the Columbine shootings, over 200 people have been killed in school shootings in the United States. Tammy Matthews was a teacher working at a nearby elementary school when the Columbine shooting occurred. Little did she know then that nearly twenty years later another school shooting, this one in Parkland, Florida, would be the catalyst for the creation of the ensemble group Social Justice Theater of the Carolinas. Their inaugural production, columbinus, premiered a year ago in Pittsboro and is now touring the Triangle through March. For more information and a performance schedule, visit

About the Guests

Tammy Matthews has over 50 years of experience in theater. She attended the prestigious Goodman School of Drama and holds a BA in both theater and elementary education. She also has a Masters degree in Education. “Miss Tammy” is the co-owner and artistic director of Pittsboro Youth Theater, The Social Justice Theater of the Carolinas and Chatham Community Players. She worked in theater in Chicago in various capacities before becoming a teacher. Since then, she has staged many performances in schools, camps and after-school programs across the country and can now be found directing at least 15 shows a year in Pittsboro!

Jacqueline Anthenien was born at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. She moved to North Carolina in 2006. She has been interested in theater for a long time, but only recently in an official capacity. She has been a part of the Technical Theater Crew at Northwood High School since her freshman year. As a sophomore she won the part of the Baker’s Wife in Into the Woods at Pittsboro Youth Theater. She caught the bug. Since then, she has portrayed MacDuff in Macbeth, Mary in The Crucible (both at Northwood), and been a part of The Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged)A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and The Hobbit at PYT. She can currently be seen as Eric Harris in columbinus and will appear in Baskerville,also at PYT, and in A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder at Northwood. She is in her senior year and is looking forward to what college has to offer.

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