Thursday, January 21, 2010

Great Family Fun This Weekend

Posted by Bruce Miller
Lights Up - Youth Open House at CenterStage is a free event for you and the children in your life. It takes place this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, and everyone is invited! The mini-festival will occur, of course, at CenterStage, marking the public opening of the Genworth BrightLights Education Center.

Theatre IV and Barksdale are proud to be resident companies of CenterStage, and we're excited about helping to produce and present the free performances and workshops that are part of the weekend's festivities. Other resident companies that are participating include African American Repertory Theatre, Elegba Folklore Society, Richmond Ballet, Richmond Shakespeare, Richmond Symphony, SPARC and Virginia Opera.

The Jazz Society is also a resident company. They will not be joining in this weekend because all events are designed to involve children and teens, and the Jazz Society has no performers in and presents no workshops for this age group.

Theatre IV and Barksdale have invited two of our partnering companies to share our allotted time slots: The Latin Ballet of Virginia and the Richmond Boys Choir. African American Repertory Theatre has done the same with one of their partners, City Dance. The Richmond Symphony also will be working in one activity with a community partner, the Richmond Philharmonic.

I served on a steering committee of three that has been working hard for several months to pull the Open House together, with lots of leadership and help from CenterStage staff and volunteers. Area arts educators have also been key leaders in this effort.

To give credit where credit is due, the bulk of the work was done by the other two members of the steering committee--Aimee Halbruner, Director of Education and Community Engagement with the Richmond Symphony, and Brett Bonda, Director of Minds in Motion with the Richmond Ballet. These two outstanding artists are cornerstones of our community's arts leadership.

Events will begin on Saturday, Jan 23, with an afternoon of fun and informative arts workshops, master classes, lecture-demos and live performances for children and teens. Attendees must register for the activities of their choice. Registration begins at 10:30 a.m. in the Carpenter Theatre lobby. Everything is free, but on-site registration is required, on a first-come first-served basis.

The interactive fun will begin at noon and continue throughout the facility until 5 pm. Theatre IV and Barksdale will be offering the following:

I Have a Dream: The Life and Times of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. - A live performance of one of Theatre IV's acclaimed touring productions, co-produced with the Virginia Historical Society. In the Gottwald Playhouse, Saturday, 1:30 pm. Most appreciated by audiences age 9 and up.

Let's Make a Hat! - A hands-on workshop conducted by our brilliant costume shop. Participants will use everyday materials to construct fun and festive hats. In room 3137, Saturday noon. Most appreciated by children of all ages.

Puppets on Parade - Using Theatre IV's extensive puppet collection, kids will learn about hand puppets, marionettes, rod puppets and body puppets. In room 3140, Saturday noon. Most appreciated by children of all ages.

Careful Combat - Produced in association with Richmond Shakespeare and co-led by Slade Billew, our fight coach extraordinaire, this workshop will teach kids how professional actors can appear to fight on stage, with nobody getting hurt. In room 3140, Saturday 3 p.m. Most appreciated by kids age 11 to 14.

Master Class: Musical Theatre Dance - Our brilliant director and choreographer, Leslie Owens Harrington (Crowns, Annie Get Your Gun, Peter Pan, Anything Goes, many others) will offer a 75-minute intensive class for experienced dancers ages 16 to 18, covering tap, jazz and myriad other musical theatre styles. Pre-registration required by this Friday. Interested participants should contact Christina Billew at (804) 783-1688 x 1132 or Non-participants can observe the class as well. On the stage of the Carpenter Theatre, Saturday 3:30 p.m.

In addition to the open house activities, a concert program featuring many of Richmond's most talented young performers (ages 6 to 21) will be presented in the Carpenter Theatre on Saturday night at 7 and Sunday afternoon at 3. Both performances are free. To obtain tickets or more information, visit the CenterStage website at Free tickets will be awarded on a first-come first-served basis.

The wonderful Sabrina Squire will be our host for both performances. Bo Wilson leant his impressive talents to the short script that will hold each performance together.

Young artists from Theatre IV will present the opening number from Seussical the Musical, accompanied by the Richmond Youth Symphony.

Theatre IV and Barksdale are proud to participate in the leadership of exciting arts education events like this one. Hope to see you at CenterStage this Saturday and Sunday!

--Bruce Miller

1 comment:

Thespis' Little Helper said...

Wow! What a terrific weekend!

It's so essential to train and cultivate the next generation of artists and arts patrons.

What a stellar way to begin doing that!

I must admit that I think...yeah...definitely...the Brightlights Education Center I find to be by far the most exciting thing about CenterStage! I hope it can continue to grow and do such exciting things for young artists and people interested in the arts! And maybe hopefully do the same for not so young artists and those interested in the arts as well!