Yadkin Arts Center to host summer theatre program

Lindsay CravenStaff Writer

March 19, 2013

The Yadkin Arts Council will host the summer theatre program for the county’s youth in July.

Last year’s instructor, Vicky Town, will return this year with a new program for children ages 6 to 17 and a professional theater to house their new production.

“The joy on the kids’ faces when they finished and the reaction from the parents was just as I had hoped it would be last year,” Town said. “I kept telling the children that the audience wanted to know if they could really do this. I told them I didn’t want them to be just a cute kid show. I wanted them to wow the audience, and that’s exactly what they did.”

This year the program will be split into two age groups. An “apprentice” group will be comprised of children ages 6 to 9. These actors will use drama and movement games to create a play.

The “theatre company” will be comprised of age s10 to 17, and they will spend the month preparing for a performance of the children’s musical “Honk, Jr.!”

“The thing that I like about it is that a lot of time in musicals there are only a few big parts, and everyone else just fills in as crowds, and they don’t have a chance to shine,” Town said. “In this particular play there are many supporting roles, and so it’s not overwhelming to learn a part like that. But it’s a wonderful opportunity to strut your stuff.”

Town said that the play also has messages about learning to love yourself and avoiding strangers and bullying. Town said both messages are needed in today’s society.

Another major reason for Town bringing back the summer theatre program is to provide the children a safe and fun summer activity to enjoy with their friends.

“One of the reasons that I wanted to do this again and make it an annual thing is to have a safe place for teens and tweens to go,” Town said. “If you’re not sports oriented then sometimes you have a hard time fitting in or don’t know what to do with yourself. This is a great opportunity for everybody because it’s physical but it’s also a mental challenge.”

Town said that the ideal number of participants is 40. She said that every child will be a part of the performance. On the first two days of the program the children will have a chance to audition for lead parts, and those who don’t want to be a lead will fill in as side parts.

“My goal is for everyone in the class to have something to do in the play, even if you just walk on stage and say two lines,” Town said. “They say public speaking is the thing that adults fear most, and I think this is a great way to get past that in a fun, playful manner with your peers cheering you on.”

Town said that she is working to contact all of the kids who participated in the program last year and invite them back. She said that any child who wants to participate but whose family might not have the program fee can inquire about the arts council’s scholarship program.

“It’s a very reasonable fee for the time frame but we realize that we’re in a recession still and it might be a hardship for parents so we’re working with people with scholarships,” Town said.

This year the program will get to take advantage of the newly opened Willingham Theater at the Yadkin Cultural Arts Center. Town said that she is excited that the final production’s audience will have a more comfortable viewing experience.

“By having a professional stage with all of the accouterments the young actors will have the opportunity to see from the inside how things work,” Town said. “They’ll learn how to budget time, how to work in a group and the overall quality of the production will go up. I would like to continue to build on our skills and bring another polished production with singing and dancing added.”

The program will takes place Mondays through Fridays, July 1 through July 26 from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. for the 10 to 17 age group. The fee is $150.

The six to nine age group will meet Monday through Friday, July 1 through July 19 from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. The fee is $75.

Both programs will have a break on July 4 and 5 for the Independence Day holiday.

To register you can sign up at the Yadkin Arts Center or contact Vicky Town by calling (276) 398-3466 or by email at vatown@aol.com.

Reach Lindsay Craven at 679-2341 or at lcraven@civitasmedia.com.