Library and YouTheatre promote literacy on stage
Jamie Wilcox and Katrina Kmak want to promote literacy through the arts.
To do that, the Egyptian Theatre YouTheatre director and Park City Library youth services librarian have joined forces to organize Story to Stage, a two-hour workshop where young readers, ages 9 to 12, will bring the graphic novel “Lumberjanes” to life on Saturday, March 16. The workshop will run from 3-5 p.m. at the Park City Library 1255 Park Ave.
The idea for Story to Stage came to be a few months ago when Kmak and Wilcox met to talk about a possible collaboration.
Kmak had just read “Lumberjanes,” written by Noelle Stevenson, Shannon Watters and Grace Ellis and illustrated by Brooke A. Allen.
The story is about a group of girls who go on adventures, and their surroundings change through their imaginations.
“When we met and started talking, it was like a black hole that exploded,” Kmak said. “(Jamie and I) brainstormed about the different books we could adapt for the stage, and I told her about this graphic novel series that I had fallen in love with.”
One reason Kmak was attracted to “Lumberjanes” was because it was written and illustrated by women, she said.
Wilcox jumped on board with the stories, and the two began to plan the workshop.
“We will look at the characters in the book, the plotlines and different story arcs,” Wilcox said about the upcoming session. “We will do an explorative play around the ideas and characters, and, over two hours, we will make something that we can show to parents at the end of the workshop.”
The presentation will be simple, but it also will be full of “heart,” according to Wilcox.
“We aren’t going to get all worked up about the costumes and the sets,” she said. “This is a drama workshop that has a great story at its heart.”
The workshop will also introduce YouTheatre, a program intended to teach kids about all aspects of live theater, to the kids who sign up, Kmak said.
“It’s a way to make not only literacy and the arts accessible to everyone; we can show them we have a wonderful resource like YouTheatre in the community,” she said. “This is a way to give access to this resource to people who might not know about it.”
Story to Stage is also a way to get young people who have the same interests together for an afternoon, Kmak said.
“When you work together in this intimate creative way, you form bonds with each other,” she said. “That’s what I love about libraries and theater. You can see kids come in and play together and form relationships.”
Forming these types of friendly relationships is important, Wilcox said.
“I have a teenager, and I’m constantly reading articles and listening to podcasts about the anxiety levels our kids are dealing with today,” she said. “It’s very different than what we had when we were growing up.”
Some of the anxieties come from loneliness, Wilcox said.
“In this day and age of social media, we think we’re’ connecting with each other, but we’re not,” she said “While it’s great to keep in contact via text and social media, it’s not a replacement for having personal connections and interacting with people who are physically in the same room.”
The March 16 Story to Stage workshop is a prelude to YouTheatre and Park City Library’s upcoming summer workshops, Wilcox said.
“If this is successful, we can do all the books in the ‘Lumberjanes’ series, but we can also add others,” she said.
“It’s so wonderful to have another community partner to do this program,” she said. “The timing is perfect. The vision is there, and it’s beautiful.”
Registration for Story to Stage is open now. To register, email Kmak at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 435-615-5600.
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