Friday, February 18, 2011

For School Break, Marblehead’s Little Theater For Children By Children

By Christian Brink
Courtesy photo

Gordon College News Service
(This article appeared February 21 in The Salem News.)

Marblehead, MA – From scary monsters to swashbuckling pirates, the Marblehead Little Theater’s upcoming children’s workshop offers a creative alternative for next week’s school break. The program is for children by children, where the kids get to write their own adventure. 

From February 22 to the 24th, the Marblehead Little Theater will host the four-day workshop for children ages 6-12. They’ll be working on different aspects of theater including playwrighting, character development, singing, dancing, and acting.

“It’s a pretty intensive theater workshop,” said Lynda Johnson, 54, of Lexington, MA, the artistic director who’s been with Marblehead Little Theater for the past five years. Johnson also said that by the end of the four days, the children will perform a play they’ll have written for their parents, work with set design, make their own props and learn what happens backstage.

While it only started last year, this is the fifth session of the “Let Your Imagination Run Wild” workshop. Ginny Morton, 68, program director, said they realized children needed something to do during school vacation.

The main focus of the workshop is to provide a glimpse of what theater involves, but it also builds teamwork skills. For many of these children, it’s the first time they’ve worked as part of an ensemble.

 “My first goal is to achieve community and bring the kids together as a group,” said Johnson.

With ages spanning from six to twelve years old, the children engage on different levels with the material, which Johnson and Morton tailor specifically to their age needs.

“Whether you’re six or twelve, it’s a very fun experience,” said Johnson.

In addition to group dynamics, Morton works hard to provide an atmosphere conducive to learning. “These kids are very safe,” said Morton. “They gain confidence in helping each other.”

Kathy Beurer, 46, of Marblehead, whose eight-year-old daughter, Lucia, has been with the theater for two seasons, said one of the most impressive features of the children’s workshop is the attention and care it provides.

“The leadership at Marblehead Little Theater knows exactly how to identify the best ways to involve all different kinds of kids,” said Beurer. “They get an amazing sense of accomplishment.”

The children get to use their imaginations and choose everything from the theme of the play to the choreography. They’re the writers. It’s an opportunity to explore the arts more than what’s offered in school. And at the end of the four days, they get to stand on stage and show their work to Mom and Dad.

“It’s a shot of the arts that kids really aren’t getting in school,” said Johnson. “For parents, that’s really important.”

The workshop is divided into two sections: 9 a.m.-1 p.m. or 9 a.m.-3 p.m. For members of the theater the cost is $250 dollars. For non-members, it’s $280.

For more information, contact the Marblehead Little Theater visit www.mltlive.com/

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