Speaking, singing, dancing, acting, set-designing, lighting and sound-arranging, ticket-taking, theater-prepping–it all needs to be done to put on a great show. Our girls are so fortunate to have the opportunity each year to participate in The Pittsfield Players’ Kids’ Theater Workshop at the Scenic Theater in Pittsfield, New Hampshire. Here children ages 8-18 work together learning all their parts, songs, dances, as well as paint the sets, and work to get the lighting and sound just right to put on 5 shows for schoolchildren and the public. And, they only have less than two months in which to do it!
This year’s play was State Fair, a Roger’s and Hammerstein’s musical rewritten for grades 4-12. With a cast of over 40, there are roles for everyone in this play, sometimes even more than one per person! Our girls have a great time meeting new friends, learning new talents and perfecting their presentation skills for the public. They bring so much joy to the community in this family-friendly entertainment venue that I know they will want to help keep the workshop going long after they are of age to perform.
Adults help with costuming, make-up, hair design and props, but even the older kids get involved here too, either handling their own or assisting the young cast members. Many of the kids who are now in their 20′s return to help as stage managers, ticket-takers, lighting or sound assistants, or ushers, while the younger ones do the performing. This kind of program excels at bringing a full theatrical experience to children, families and the general public in the community.
Many cities and towns have opportunities for community theater, but if yours doesn’t, try starting one yourself! Many production companies online have the scripts, props lists, and costume help as well as photos to help you get started. Don’t have a large theater? Why not start smaller with shows at a local school gym or community center? Even a backyard production would be a wonderful experience for kids. Learning to work with others, handling stress, managing their time, trying new things, stretching their comfort zone, maybe even discovering some history or science related to the topic of the play- you just never know how much kids can learn. And when you set all that learning to music, it can be accomplished even faster!