Darke County Center for the Arts can’t deny a self-serving motive for presenting theatre that children find engaging, stimulating, and a whole lot of fun.
DCCA knows that theatre is a powerful tool that sparks imaginations and inspires creativity, ultimately resulting in a lifelong appreciation for the value of the performing arts. Examples of connections between theatre and positive character growth abound; but DCCA knows that early exposure to theatre also results in a loyal audience that often returns to experience once again the joy and wisdom gained, thus assuring a rosy future for arts presenters like DCCA. DCCA’s Family Theatre shows and Missoula Children’s Theatre summer residency not only attract present-day audiences, but also develop the DCCA audience of the future.
DCCA’s 2016-17 Family Theatre Series season opens at Henry St. Clair Memorial Hall on Nov. 6 at 2 p.m. with ArtsPower’s Chicken Dance, a barnyard romp featuring—well, dancing chickens, and a rooster named Elvis Poultry. Obvious connections can be drawn to a beloved entertainer revered by generations of Americans as well as to embarrassing dance moves often exhibited at wedding receptions, but this delightful musical also humorously offers a serious message about believing in one’s own ability to persevere against challenges to achieve goals.
The Little House on the Prairie books recounting the pioneering spirit of the Ingalls family bridges barriers of geography and time to remain widely popular decades following their publication. The Little House stories will come to life on stage at Memorial Hall when DCCA presents ArtsPower’s Laura Ingalls Wilder on Jan. 29. Chronicling the author’s life from her exciting covered-wagon journey towards the open prairie through her poignant departure from the loving environment that shaped her values and personality, this popular musical movingly illustrates the pioneering spirit that helped create the United States of America.
Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia’s unique adaptations of children’s literature have delighted local audiences many times; that stellar reputation will undoubtedly continue when DCCA presents the internationally renowned touring company’s latest version of books by revered children’s author and illustrator Eric Carle, Brown Bear, Brown Bear and Other Treasured Stories on April 23. Known for innovative puppetry and striking scenic effects, Mermaid Theatre will retell Papa, Please Get the Moon For Me and The Very Hungry Caterpillar in addition to the title tale, bringing together at St. Clair Memorial Hall old favorites and new friends for children of all ages.
But before all of these appealing attractions, DCCA will present their annual Missoula Children’s Theatre summer residency, culminating in a full-scale musical theatre production of Alice In Wonderland starring local youngsters at Henry St. Clair Memorial Hall. Auditions open to all students entering grades 1 through 12 will be held on Aug. 1 from 10 a.m. until 12 noon; following one short week of intense rehearsals, two public performances of the show will take place on Aug. 6. Many good reasons exist for kids to participate in this hands-on experience with the performing arts, the most inviting being that participating in theatre is fun.
DCCA’s presentations targeting youngsters include a show that, while not classic theatre, is certainly theatrically entertaining and dramatically inviting. Iconic cowboys Riders In the Sky will present their “Round Up at the Kid’s Corral” on Nov. 13 at St. Clair Memorial Hall. Laugh-out-loud humor, rope tricks, and just plain good times celebrating “The Cowboy Way” will augment the award-winning music from Toy Story 2 and Monsters Inc. to provide an afternoon to remember for kids of all ages.
Tickets for DCCA’s Family Theatre Series are available at the amazingly low cost of $5 each, but buying the entire season is an even greater bargain—all three shows for just $12. Participation in MCT’s Alice In Wonderland is free to all youngsters; tickets to the 3 p.m. or 7 p.m. performance are $5. And Riders’ “Round Up at the Kid’s Corral” will present America’s favorite cowboys for only $10 per ticket. Make “Connections” with DCCA’s 2016-17 season to enrich and enliven your life; contact DCCA at 937-547-0908 or go their Website at www.centerforarts.net for more information.
Marilyn Delk is a director of the Darke County Center for the Arts and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.