Why I Do Kids Theatre!

This summer, our older Musical Theatre camp, is presenting:

Every summer, for over 35 years, I have produced Christian theatre for kids.  I also do secular shows, during the school year, for various public school districts.  And, no, I do not do kids theatre because of the money. (This is truly a Laugh Out Loud moment.)

Performing on a stage – in front of an audience – can be seriously life changing for a child.  If it is a bad experience, the child may never be persuaded to return to a stage for the remainder of his or her life.

However, if it is a good and positive experience, it can be a moment of overwhelming discovery for the child. Kids feel empowered, self confident, comfortable in their skin, proud, thankful, appreciated and loved when the audience applauds their work! They also develop comfortable skills, associated with performing in any capacity, as they grow older. Theatre is an investment that keeps on growing and giving.

I remember my first actual play…

I had significant lines and took a bow during the curtain call.  Our school produced a spring play that included adult actors. I played the part of the perplexed daughter. Whoa, it was magical!

Honestly, I couldn’t believe all the compliments and accolades I received from perfect strangers who had watched the play. My school teachers were walking out of their way, for the next couple weeks, between classes to tell me how well I had done! My parents were proud of me. Parents of classmates complimented me. My peers were impressed. It was a huge turning point in my life at twelve years old.

I could not wait for an opportunity to return to the stage.

Out of the four human temperaments, the most outgoing and charismatic is YELLOW (Sanguine). This describes me perfectly as a twelve year old. Some people assume YELLOW is the only temperament that produces a love of performing.

However, my dearest friend at the time was a RED (Choleric) who also loved performing. She enjoyed the challenge and ability to accomplish the highest goals she set for herself. Another friend, although quiet and studious – a BLUE (Melancholy) temperament – loved “becoming” a character on stage and was seriously more diligent than either of us at studying her lines. Our BLUE friend easily memorized her own (and everyone else’s) lines. BLUES are the BEST actors!

The last of the four temperaments is also quiet – the GREEN (Phlegmatic). Surprisingly, most GREENS love being ‘part’ of the whole acting/performing process as well. This temperament doesn’t usually aspire to a leading role, but cherishes the camaraderie- belonging to something- in the theatre experience.

Every child, whatever their temperament, can succeed on stage with a caring director. Sadly, I have witnessed school performances, of various kinds, where the “directors” had no business being in charge- period. A few were definitely having bad days. One, in particular, must have been doing it for a paycheck; because, he didn’t seem to even like kids- let alone want them to have a fun experience on stage.

I have a killer combination going for me: I love kids, love the theatre and am convinced God designed me for this job so I can reach kids for Him in this life. I have a passion for kids to experience, and excellently use, the talent God has given them!

One of my good friends is our family physician. She told me of her first stage experience a number of years ago, “When I was five years old, I acted in my first stage production. The night of the performance my mother dressed me in a pink and purple vest with matching Balloon pants she had made just for the show. Then she draped the “Miss Pakistan” ribbon across my chest. The play was a tribute to the children of the world, and we sang “Let There be Peace on Earth.”  I said three lines.  That night, I felt like the most special little girl out of ALL the children of the world. And, most of all, I was awed by the excitement of being on stage. I don’t remember much else about being five years old; but, I’ll never forget that play.” Dr. Andrea Roberson.

Another dear friend, Bonnie Fevergeon, shared her first stage experience:  “A real memory maker for me happened when I was in 5th grade and was chosen to portray “Jeannie, with the light brown hair,” in a Stephen Foster musical.  My costume was one of the most beautiful dresses I had ever seen – with a floor length hoop skirt that swished when I walked.  Acting and singing made me feel valued and beautiful.  For a shy girl, hiding behind horn rimmed glasses, it was a treasured experience that warms my heart still today.”

There are so many more stories of how the theatre can change a child’s life. Maybe, you have a story of your own. I would love to hear it and perhaps even use it as I share with parents the importance of putting their children on stage!

This summer we need help again with scholarships. Check your heart- if you want to transform a child’s life- we would appreciate any amount of donations to www.starpakforkids.org.

Please write and tell me your story! kathleenchapman@cox.net

 

 

 

 

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