After receiving costume instructions from their student teachers, the cast fired off a battery of questions. The young actors are from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Wyoming. They are gathered in a small theater space on the campus of Casper College. Three college-aged students stand at the front patiently answering the inquiries.
“Once you commit to a production, you don’t own your look anymore,” explained Tesia Wilhelm, Casper College theater performance major. “You may have to cut your hair or grow a beard. You may have to gain or lose weight. You have to fit with what the director wants until that production is over.”
Tesia is lending her talents, expertise and skills to a program called STAGE – Summer Theater Arts through Guided Enrichment. This partnership between the Club and Casper College exposes children to acting and theater production.
Leslie Kee is a youth development professional with the Boys & Girls Club. Together with her colleague Jessica Treto, this is their second year coordinating summer theater for Club kids.
“Our community is fortunate to be home to the region’s widely respected theater program at Casper College. With STAGE, we are able to provide real-theater experience and expose youth to the possibilities of college,” said Kee.
This summer’s production is the old tale “Stone Soup” where travelers trick a village into sharing their food with them. The Club kids travel to Casper College twice a week for eight weeks to learn about the stages of production, rehearsal, and performance. The program will conclude with a live performance on stage at the Gertrude Krampert Theater.
“With this partnership, we hope to stir the imagination and help build self-confidence through creative expression. Every child benefits from experiencing themselves as capable and unique. Producing a story creates opportunities for every child to make a contribution — no one has to sit on the bench,” said Kee.
Skylar Pro, a sophomore studying musical theater, agrees that theater can open the door to possibilities some kids may not have considered. “Theater helped me become more sociable and helped me overcome my shyness. It helped boost my confidence immensely.”
STAGE is an opportunity to engage Club members who may not have access to theater arts. It is a unique experience that gives children an alternate method to release creative and emotional energy and allow them to have fun with a new art form.
The live performance of “Stone Soup” will be Friday, August 21, 2015 at 7 p.m. at the Gretrude Krampert Theater at Casper College. It is FREE and the public is encouraged to attend in support of these young actors.
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