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Children’s Stage Adventure

November 4, 2010

One week of theatre

The week of October 4 was an amazing week for the students of Machias Valley Christian School in Machias, Maine. Thanks to a generous Fast Track grant from the Perloff Family Foundation, they were able to have two members of the Children’s Stage Adventures tour team, Chandra Diesel and Ben Regan, with them for the entire week. Under their expert direction, the children put on a sparkling performance of Oliver Twist, an original musical adaptation by Lorrie and Rob Gray, founders of the Children’s Stage Adventures.

Casting took place on Monday morning and by that afternoon, rehearsals were already underway. Groups of children rehearsed each morning and afternoon that week. By Thursday afternoon they were working on the stage with the scenery. Friday morning they rehearsed with their props and that afternoon were thrilled to practice the play in the colorful costumes provided by CSA.  Friday night, just before the performance began, the children went to make-up.  The excitement that had been building all week culminated in a memorable performance before a packed house of family and friends. The faculty and staff were very proud of the students. It is certain that lasting memories were made that night!

Not only did the students perform well Friday night, but they worked hard the whole week long to make the show the best that it could be. We were pleased to see how they encouraged and helped one another, putting into practice the character traits we had been working on all last year. The only sad part was saying good-by to Chandra and Ben after the show on Friday night. Even though the students had no previous theatre experience, they were caught up in the infectious enthusiasm brought to the production by Chandra and Ben. They were interested in all aspects of the production from casting right through to the final performance. The parents of our students were as delighted with the event as the staff. Plans are underway to have CSA back next year.

In addition to casting the play, directing all the rehearsals, unpacking and setting up the scenery, outfitting the entire cast with just the right costumes, and doing the children’s make-up, Chandra and Ben ran theatre workshops for smaller groups of children in their “spare time” each day that week. These two hard-working professionals won over our students with their positive attitudes and encouraging remarks. They never seemed to have a doubt that the children would learn their parts and put on a magnificent performance, and the children more than rose to the challenge.

We highly recommend this organization, and hope that many of Maine’s schools will have the wonderful opportunity that we enjoyed that week.
Children’s Stage Adventures is a unique theatre company founded by Rob and Lorrie Gray in 1999. They have more than 20 years of experience performing and working with children. They have directed, taught, and acted with more than 40,000 children while touring the US, Canada, and Australia.  If you would like more information about Children’s Stage Adventures contact Rob Gray toll free at 866.272.2255, PO Box 211, Sullivan, NH 03445 or email him at kidsstage@hotmail.com.  CSA can be found by clicking here.

This blog post was submitted by Machias Valley Christian School teacher Harry Lingley

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