Kids take the spotlight in Youtheatre | ParkRecord.com

Kids take the spotlight in Youtheatre

Alisha Self, Of the Record staff

Although the main-stage production schedule is currently up in the air at the Egyptian Theatre, the show must go on. And the show will go on.

On Sept. 14, the Egyptian Theatre Company (ETC) will kick off the fall semester of Youtheatre, its year-round theatre arts education program for ages 4 to 18. The fledging thespians will spend the next few months learning about all aspects of theatre, and in December, they’ll showcase what they’ve learned at a special performance and for the older students a full-scale production of "Aladdin."

Youtheatre offers programs for three different age groups. Junior Theatre, for grades two through five, meets at the local elementary schools on designated days each week. The class meets after school from 3:15 to 4:15 p.m. at Jeremy Ranch on Mondays, Parley’s Park on Tuesday, Trailside Elementary on Wednesdays, and McPolin Elementary on Thursdays. A date will also be announced for students from Park City Academy.

According to ETC Education Director Jane Talley, Junior Theatre focuses on vocal exercises and movement. Instructors utilize theatre games to maintain the fun factor. "They learn all about the stage, acting skills, creating characters and they incorporate those into their showcase," she says. The showcase is tentatively scheduled for the first weekend in December.

The Broadway Bound program is designed for students in grades four through six. Classes meet on Tuesdays from 4:45 to 6 p.m. at the Egyptian Theatre on Main Street. Talley says that this program builds on basic theatre knowledge, continues audition skills and introduces monologues and scene work. "We take it up a notch," she says.

The Playworks group for grades seven through 12 meets twice a week, Thursdays from 4 to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the theatre, in order to prepare for its year-end performance. This semester’s class will put on a musical-style production of "Aladdin." Participants will get experience in acting, singing, dancing and working behind the scenes. "They learn all the ins and outs of putting on a musical and learn all about the production process," says Talley.

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Youtheatre will hold auditions for "Aladdin" on Saturday, Sept. 12, from 10 a.m. to noon at the theatre. Ages 10 and up are welcome to audition, though the younger kids should have experience in theatre, says Talley.

This year, Talley decided to reduce Youtheatre tuition rates in order to accommodate families that are tightening their belts due to the economy. "I’ve just been totally aware of what’s going on," she says. The cost for 12 weeks of instruction is $200 for the Junior Theatre and Broadway Bound programs or $275 for Playworks. Talley notes that scholarships are also available for those who qualify. "I never turn a child away," she says.

Talley strongly believes that the benefit of theatre classes outweighs the cost. "Just to be able to do an after-school activity is really important for children, and there’s no substitute for theatrical classes," she says. "We really stress self-esteem at all different levels. It gives them a lot of self confidence when they get up on that stage."

Parkite Matthew Groy has participated in Youtheatre for the past five or six years. "It’s a really good experience," he says. "You meet new people and you have an awesome show at the end." At 14, Groy has acted in several showcases and Youtheatre productions as well as larger shows such as Music Man and The Wizard of Oz.

Groy’s mother, Tierney, says that Matt has "absolutely" benefited from Youtheatre. He continues to pursue acting, singing and dancing, and he wants to help teach the younger kids in the program. "I don’t think people realize how lucky we are to have that great theatre and opportunity for our kids to be able to perform," Tierney says.

To sign up for Youtheatre programs, call (435) 649-9371 ext. 27 or download a registration form at http://www.egyptiantheatrecompany.org and drop it by the theatre, 328 Main Street, or mail it to: Jane Talley, c/o The Egyptian Theatre Company, P.O. Box 3119, Park City, UT 84060.