Beginning Stages Offers Youth Opportunities to Explore the Art of Live Theatre
Midland Center for the Arts has launched a new educational program, Beginning Stages, to develop theatrical skills for youth with all levels of experience. As part of Center Stage Theatre, a community theatre company housed within the Center, Beginning Stages offers weekly educational workshops in performance and backstage skills for kids looking to explore the art of live theatre.
The initiative strives to break down barriers that might hinder a child’s participation in the arts. “We wanted to build on the success of our Peanut Gallery series, which for over 50 years has been offering kids between fourth and eighth grades their first chance to be in a staged production,” said Dexter Brigham, Director of Theatre Programs at Midland Center for the Arts. “With Beginning Stages, we have removed as many barriers to participate as possible. Youth are able to experience, sometimes for the first time, being in a production. And if you’re interested in learning about lighting, costumes or set construction, we have special workshops just for that!”
The classes are taught by two familiar faces to Center Stage Theatre, Jennifer Lowe and Melissa Bornemann. The curriculum brings youth together once a week for 90 minutes of instruction based on their interests, a performance track for young actors or production track for young technicians. Students are able to play theatre games with the cast of the current Peanut Gallery production, and then break into smaller groups to learn about a new aspect of live theatre.
The program culminates with every child participating in a public performance for a position that they expressed interest in exploring. Young actors highlight the skills they learned in a showcase performance, while the young technicians are integrated into the backstage crew of the current Peanut Gallery production.
“The thing that makes me most proud of this new initiative is how we are able to create a comfortable place for everyone to have a meaningful artistic experience here at the Center,” said performance instructor, Jennifer Lowe. “These kids are so creative and inspire the child in all of us!”
Beginning Stages runs alongside the Peanut Gallery’s musical production of Snow White Musicapalooza, which runs Nov. 8 – 10 at the Midland Center for the Arts. Tickets can be purchased online at midlandcenter.org or by calling the box office at 989-631-8250. The next session of Beginning Stages begins the week of March 29, 2020 for kids in fourth, fifth and sixth grades. Tuition is $40 per student and scholarships are available.