Egyptian Theatre’s YouTheatre teaches life lessons creativity and performance
When audiences see a live drama or musical, they see a finished product, polished for the stage. What they don’t see is the hours of preparation and excitement that happens backstage.
The Egyptian Theatre’s YouTheatre program, which starts Sept. 14, gives students in elementary, middle and junior high school the opportunity to learn how theatre works through workshops and exercises in a way that they can apply those skills in life.
Jamie Wilcox, who has been the YouTheatre director for five years, is excited for this year’s offerings.
“As usual, I try to build the program around the needs that we are seeing through the program itself,” Wilcox told The Park Record. “We’ve had some feedback from parents and students about what they want and how we can serve as many people as possible.”
The popular Theatre Bugs, a class that is offered to students in grades kindergarten to first that helps build and support creativity, teamwork and self esteem through stories, characters, voice and movements, is back, but there is a slew of new offerings this year, according to Wilcox.
“We will offer creative drama and musical theatre options for all kids in grades 1 to 8 and offer combo classes that include both,” she said.
The program will feature Storymakers and Broadway Babies for grades 1 and 2; Drama I and Musical Theatre I for grades 3 to 5; and Drama II and Musical Theatre II for grades 6 to 8.
“These classes are offered back to back, so if the kids want to participate in both, they can do that,” Wilcox said. “Of course we have kids who love musical theatre, but don’t like drama and vice versa, so they are free to take one or the other, as well.”
However, if kids sign up for a combo, they will get a discount.
“For the Storymakers and Broadway Babies and Drama Company I and Musical Theatre I, the discount is $30 if you sign up for the combo,” Wilcox explained.
The savings is $40 if kids sign up for the Drama Company II and Musical Theatre II combo.
‘We’re just expanding to have more options available for all levels of experience,” she said. “These classes are for everyone, regardless if they have taken classes with us before.”
Another new change is regarding the afterschool YouTheatre program, which is held one day a week for grades 2 to 5 at all the Park City School District elementary schools and the Weilenmann School of Discovery.
“In the past, YouTheatre ran on a fall and spring schedule, and I couldn’t start classes at the Egyptian in January because of the Sundance Film Festival,” Wilcox said. “Now, since Sundance doesn’t really affect the elementary schools, this year, we now have a full school-year program.”
The afterschool sessions will start the week after Labor Day, and feature fall, winter and spring sessions, according to Wilcox.
“We are working to get a curriculum so that no matter what school the kids are and what teachers they have, the things learned and the skills developed will still be the same,” she said.
The winter session will include a lot of exploration about theatre and how to use voices, tell stories, create characters and learn the different vocabulary that is involved in theatre, Wilcox said.
“In the winter, right after Thanksgiving, we will do a recap of the fall, and then will work with voice, movement and text,” she said. “For spring, we will recap the fall and winter and then start working on a play, which will open the last day of class.”
Fall and winter sessions run nine weeks each and the spring session runs 10 weeks.
“You don’t have to sign up for the year-round sessions, so students can sign up for each separate season,” Wilcox said. “Kids can register for fall right now, or get a $50 discount and register for the whole year. Separate registration for winter and spring will be held later.”
YouTheatre also offers classes for kids interested in theatre, but not interested in acting.
These classes are Lighten Up/STEAM Tech and Tech Crew.
“Our technical crew at the Egyptian Theatre is absolutely amazing and so supportive,” Wilcox said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a Theatre Bug or a Grammy Award-winner, the crew treat everyone the same, which means they treat everyone as if they are a star.”
The two sessions will run alongside YouTheatre rehearsals for the upcoming winter show, which will be a nonmusical called “Junie B. Jingle Bells Batman Smells,” which will run Dec. 9 and 10 at the Egyptian Theatre.
“Another session will start alongside the rehearsals for the spring show, which will be announced later,” Wilcox said.
Students in Tech Crew will help make the props and learn about set and costume design, according to Wilcox.
“They will learn from the Egyptian Theatre’s technical director and audio designer,” she said. “Then when it comes time to do the performances, the kids in the program are the ones running the shows.”
The Lighten Up/STEAM Tech session, which will start when the other YouTheatre classes start, is for those kids who want to dig more into the science of lighting and design, Wilcox said.
STEAM is an acronym for science and technology interpreted through engineering, and the arts, all based on mathematical elements.
“Wendi Laurence has already done a couple of STEAM camps with us during the summer, and she is an amazing all-around science specialist,” Wilcox said. “She worked for NASA and has a lot of background in oceanography as well. She will teach for three weeks and it’s perfect for our tech crew students who want to learn more.”
Wilcox would like everyone who is interested in theatre to participate, and she doesn’t want the lack of funds to hinder any opportunity.
“We have scholarship options,” she said. “We don’t want anyone to miss out because they don’t have the ability to pay, so we have partial and full scholarships available.”
Scholarship applications can be found by visiting http://www.egyptiantheatrecompany.org/youtheatre.
“I love working with all of these creative people that can pass their knowledge onto the next generation,” Wilcox said.
For more information about the Egyptian Theatre’s YouTheatre program, visit http://www.parkcityshows.com.
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