5, 6, 7, 8!

We hope you’ve had a wonderful summer, full of music and dancing!  If you caught one or more of our 7 shows this summer, you’ll know that our 2015 Summer Camp Series was a huge success!  Thank you for supporting performing arts in our community, and for doing it with such style!

As Savannah Children’s Theatre continues to grow, we are expanding our Dance for Musical Theatre program.  This year, we will be adding another level of Aerial Silks, as well as welcoming a new teacher into the SCT Family!  Please meet Elizabeth Brookman!

elizabeth   Originally from South Carolina, Elizabeth began her training with Ann Brodie at the Carolina Ballet.  She had further training at the Atlanta Ballet SchoolAmerican Ballet Theater, and Joffrey Ballet, then graduated from North Carolina School of the Arts and joined the Morgan/Scott Ballet Company in NYC.  Falling in love with the performing and traveling, she performed on luxury cruise ships for five years and was able to visit over one hundred countries.   Shows included the classical ballets Swan Lake, Aida, and Carmen, as well as musicals Cats, Cabaret, Chicago and Thoroughly Modern Millie.  Elizabeth moved to China in 2007 to join the Suzhou Ballet Theater.  After one year with the company she moved to Shanghai to perform and teach for Jazz Du Funk until 2015.  Elizabeth looks forward to calling Savannah her home and sharing her experiences to inspire future performers.
jennsilks

We are thrilled to be able to give SCT students the opportunity to learn from theatre artists from all walks of life.  Elizabeth has already choreographed for this year’s Dance Camp, The Colors of My Life, and our Summer Camp production of Thoroughly Modern Millie. She is warm, kind, incredibly talented, and definitely a little on the goofy side!  Our resident choreographer, Jenn Doubleday, will continue to grow and develop our Aerial Silks program, as well as providing choreography for all Junior Company, Kids on Stage, and Main Stage productions.

Of course, dance is faaaaaar from the only thing SCT has to offer!  This year we have Creative Dramatics for PreK – 1st graders, Creative Dramatics I (The Emperor’s New Clothes) for 2nd-5th graders, Creative Dramatics II (Great Expectations the Musical) for middle schoolers, and Junior Company (A Servant of Two Masters) for high school students!

   To register for classes, click HERE! 

   Come on.  You know you want to.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns about classes or scheduling, please feel free to write to us.  We hope to see all of you soon!

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2nd Annual Fairy Tale Festival Fundraiser!

Where else in Savannah can you dance with pirates, sing with princesses and play in the snow in July?

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The Little Mermaid shares treasures with one of our Little Guests!

     Everyone at SCT is excited for another fabulous Fairytale Festival!
Last year was such a great success that this year we have created two sessions to allow more one-on-one interaction between the characters and the children.  We will have even more characters, including some storybook favorites like Alice in Wonderland and Jack, of Beanstalk fame.  There will be live theatre performances every 30 minutes, and a brand new Royal Boutique!

        Choose tickets for either 10am-12pm OR 2pm-4pm! 

     Upon arrival, guests will receive a Map of Storybook Kingdom, and will begin their journey through Mermaid Lagoon, the Enchanted Forest, Fairy Hollow and more!  They can stop by the Royal Boutique where boys and girls will make crowns and tiaras, or receive a royal makeover by palace artisans!  Along Storybook Lane they will meet Snow White, visit with Cinderella and her Prince in front of her golden carriage, and buy magic beans from Jack. On Wonderland Way they will visit with Alice to ‘pin the grin’ on the Cheshire Cat.  Look below to find the way to your favorite fairy tale spot!

Storybook Lane Map

A few of our 115 guests at Fairy Fest 2014!

A few of our 115 guests at Fairy Fest 2014!

     Last year’s most popular land was The Snow Castle where children played in the *snow,* created necklaces and keychains, made marshmallow snowmen, and visited with the Snow Queen and the Ice Princess. Snow Castle is back again this year with more snow and even more frozen magic!  Another favorite returning this year is Pirate’s Cove, where young buccaneers will join the pirate crew to swab the deck, load the cannon, and dig for buried treasure.  Better follow Captain’s orders, or you’ll have to walk the plank!

    FairyFest 2015 is sure to delight children of all ages but is designed for ages 2-10.  Tickets are available online or you can call our box office at 912-238-9015.  To insure that the children have a special and memorable experience, we are limiting the spaces.  We expect to sell out, so please purchase your tickets early!

FairyFest2015 Poster

We’re a Trip, by Tim Reynolds

     Even though a swan glides across the water, beneath the surface, it’s legs are pumping.  A lot of hard work and effort goes into each field trip that we host at Savannah Children’s Theatre because we want to ensure that our students have the best experience possible.  But it’s not just dancing and silly hat wearing, even though that’s important.  Here’s a quick peek into one of our field trips, from start to finish.

my office

My Office

     Schools usually book far in advance, scheduling their field trips months ahead of time to ensure that the musical they pick aligns perfectly with subjects they are teaching.  When we arrive for the day, we already know what show we’re doing, what props and costumes need to be pulled from storage, what roles need to be cast, how many scripts to grab…and this is with the first cup of coffee.  Roles and songs are divided up and assigned ahead of time so that each instructor has the chance to learn the material, devise their own choreography, and understand how it relates to the school curriculum.
we do what we can

Ms. Laura, Ms. Cheri, Ms. Lauren

     Ms Cheri, our Field Trip Coordinator, does a great job keeping everything on track!  We make sure that everything is set just the way each school requests, and we always accommodate any special needs that individual students may have.  While we try to cast the kids in as many speaking roles as we can, wordier parts are still performed by us, the *ahem* professionals.
     Of course, no musical is complete without costuming!  Hats are quite important to us, as they help our young actors to visualize the characters they are portraying.  We have a wide variety for nearly any occasion, including:
TimSillyHat– cowboy hats
– berets
– baseball caps
– compost hats
– disco hats
– skunk hats
– flower petal hats
– Jupiter hats…what’s that?  You’ll have to come to find out.
     When the kids arrive, it’s go time!  School groups range in size from 15 students to 125 students, depending on the day.  The children are quickly divided among the SCT Team so we can work with them in smaller groups.  Together, they learn to dance and to sing as loudly as they can about American History, Earth Science, Shakespeare or other subjects.  Sometimes there are so many kids, the classes are spread out all over the theatre; some are on the proscenium stage…
mainstage
others are in the smaller black box theatre…
blackbox
or on the dance floor…
dance floor
…really anywhere there is room!  When it’s almost show time, we gather in the proscenium theatre to rehearse one last time before the audience arrives.
     Once the teachers and chaperons assemble (parents, too!), we cue the maestro (that’s Ms. Renee) and the show begins!  We’re singing!  We’re dancing!  We’re learning!  We’re having a blast being silly!  After a performance well-done, the kids take a bow to their adoring fans.  Photos are taken, cheers are given!  Alas, all good things must come to an end.  Back to the buses they go, and we clean the theatre to get ready for our after-school classes.

conked out

     Or we pass out…  whichever comes first!
     (Only 3 of our 9 field trip staff are pictured here…because only 3 were present the day I took these photos! Our full staff includes Cheri Hester, Laura Keena, Lauren Baxter, Gloria Rigsbee, Evan Goetz, Cason Richter, Mary Caitlin McMahon, Justin Reynolds, and of course, Yours Truly.)

New Heights! by Jenn Doubleday

     I’ve always wanted to be in the circus.greensilks

     Coming from a carnie family, the desire to run away with a caravan runs deep.  Don’t get me wrong; I wouldn’t trade my SCT family and the life it has allowed me to lead for anything.  Buuuuuut if some sort of Quantum Leap happened and I got to live in a tiny trailer next to a trick seal, I wouldn’t complain.

     Which is why, in my spare time, I have frequently devoted myself to learning some sort of carnie sport.  I watched jugglers, bought scarves, and tried teaching myself. Not good.  I watched unicyclists, got a unicycle, and tried teaching myself. Really not good.  I’m not too bad at tightrope, and while I’ve never had a tiger to train, I think I’d manage. When aerial dance came on the scene, I knew I wanted to try that, too.

     A relatively new art form, aerial dance (sometimes referred to as aerial tissu or aerial silks) is a form of movement that involves climbing and posing your body on fabric that is suspended from the ceiling.  It was developed by Montreal’s peerless Cirque du Soleil in the mid-nineties as a means of exploring dance and contortion without the limitation of gravity.

     The first opportunity I had to play with them was at SETC in Chattanooga, TN.  Not being known for my patience, I immediately spoke with the director about taking lessons and asked her how she got her start.  Her answer?  “I saw them in the circus, so I bought some fabric and taught myself.”  We got along pretty well.

Aerial Silks

First lesson back in the day! Whee!

     Last year, when we were choosing our 2013-2014 season, our Artistic Director had only one criteria for each show.  Every production had to include some element that we, as a theatre, had never used before.  After settling on Tarzan and Shrek as our Main Stage shows, we decided to make Tarzan vertical.  Utilizing the silks as vines and climbing nets as the jungle canopy, we took our show to new heights, and I fell in love with the aerial arts all over again.     tarzan1  jenntarzan

     Less than a year later, our new aerial program has grown beyond our expectations!  We have a Friday class that, truthfully, is the highlight of my week, and I have many students of all ages (10 to 55) who take private lessons.  Soon, we hope to get a lyra (aerial hoop) as well!

     So what kind of person does aerial arts?  Anyone.  My group class (ages 10-18) includes a 5th-grade gymnast and an 11th-grade baritone.  In my private lessons I have taught a massage therapist, a news anchor, and a fitness instructor, among others.  The one thing all of these people have in common is their desire to experience something new.

annasilks1  weeksonsilks1

     Of course, like any physical activity, there are some requirements.  The rig does have a weight limit, and since you are binding your body with fabric you want to make sure you are in good health, with no prone to dizziness, circulatory disorders or severe skin conditions.  A fear of heights could be a potential setback, but as these things go, our rig is pretty low with a maximum ceiling height of fifteen feet.

   This year, we’ll be using our silks in two different dance shows.  The first is the student-choreographed Jack and the Beanstalk in February, and the second is our annual dance showcase in May.  The theme for 2015 is Dance Around the World, featuring dance styles from all over the globe.

   Never has Canada been so cool.

silksduet1

                                            Anna Smith & Matthew Weeks, SCT Aerial Students

Around the World in 80 Days

     Who wouldn’t love to travel the Around the World in 80 Days?  Well, now’s your chance!  The Junior Girl Scouts of20141106_181022 Troop 30593 will be hosting a fundraising event at Savannah Children’s Theatre on Saturday, November 22nd from 10:00am – 12:00pm.  The girls are working on their Bronze Award, the highest honor a Junior Girl Scout can achieve.  Among other things, the Bronze Award must leave a lasting impact on their local community.  For their project, Troop 30593 has decided to focus on a renovation project in the front lobby of Savannah Children’s Theatre!

     We are still in the planning process, but the improvements will include homework areas for students, a mural painted by a local artist, and upgraded concessions and merchandise areas.  The girls have been diligently calling, sending letters, and visiting local and national businesses to seek out donations for this unique project.  In addition, the girls will be hosting this wonderful fundraising event, Around the World in 80 Days, for children of all ages!

     When you arrive, you will create your own passport, then begin your adventure!  You can travel to India for a henna tattoo on your hand, then move on to Papua New Guinea for traditional face painting.  If you are feeling a bit more crafty, you could visit Japan to create some origami art, or design a Brazilian headdress for Carnivale.  Your travels do not end there; you could learn a Norwegian polka, participate in an interactive story of Australian folk tales, and take time to explore other cultures by visiting their crafting stations.

     Wrap up your travels with some tastes from around the globe.  You will snack on egg rolls, hummus and many other yummy bites to satisfy your taste buds.  There will even be a traditional Venezuelan punch to quench your thirst after your adventure!

     Not only will you have an afternoon filled with lots of fun, but you are supporting a wonderful cause.  Helping the girls to reach their goal, not for a campout or trip to the movies, but for a project supporting Savannah Children’s Theatre!  The girls have big ideas that they would love to see brought to life, but it cannot happen without the support of the Savannah Community.  So, please consider joining us on November 22nd on a world-wide adventure for an amazing cause!

girlscouts

For questions or additional information, please contact Gloria Rigsbee, troop leader.

2014 Auction & Gala, by Chris Bass

     This post is supposed to be about the upcoming Gala & Auction, but like all things SCT, it is about so much more than that.  Because in order to tell you why I think it’s so important for you to go to this event, I have to first tell you why I think Savannah Children’s Theatre is so important.  If you want the Cliff’s Notes (do people still read those?) just skip to the bottom for the Gala information, or, you know, click the link for tickets!  If you want the whole story, keep reading.

casablanca

2014 Auction & Gala, October 25th at 6:30pm, Knights of Columbus Hall in Downtown Savannah

     Still with me?  Great!

     Five years ago, my wife told me that there was a theatre in town putting on Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.  Knowing that my wife loved the music, I looked into it and bought tickets to a Saturday night performance at Savannah Children’s Theatre.  I was skeptical because I didn’t know a lot about the theatre and it had been a long time since I had seen a live community performance.  After their amazing performance, all of my skepticism disappeared.  See, I had always dreamed of performing on stage.  Watching that show, I heard a long forgotten voice speaking inside of me.  This cheesy voice of mine said “don’t be afraid to go after your dreams.”

     I enrolled our eight-year-old son in SCT’s after school classes, although theatre wasn’t really his thing.  I also started to listen to that inner voice once again and auditioned for the Winter Main Stage musical Cinderella.  Part of my intention in doing the show was to encourage my son to get up on stage and perform.  It didn’t work quite the way I thought it would.  But wouldn’t you know, our six-year-old daughter couldn’t wait to get up on stage!

chris&mollybass

Molly & I in “Shrek”

The following summer, my daughter, Molly, participated in the SCT summer camp Disney’s Aladdin, Jr.  When  I watched her perform, I saw a light come on in her that I recognized in myself and I couldn’t wait until we could perform together.  At that moment, we became part of the SCT family, and when I say “family” I mean just that!  There are few places where you can feel the love and support that is felt at Savannah Children’s Theatre.  It’s an amazing place where I can watch my daughter shine and grow in ways I didn’t know were possible.  I promised myself that if I were to do another show with SCT that I would do a show with my daughter by my side.

mollymouse

Molly and Abbey Kate in “Goodnight Moon”

That opportunity came when we were both cast in The Music Man, and sharing the stage with my daughter was just as amazing as I’d hoped.  Since seeing that first show at SCT, I have been part of five different productions and Molly has been in a whopping fourteen, including this weekend’s Goodnight Moon the Musical. (Shameless plug, I know. The whole show is great…but that Mouse is really something!)  With every show our family grows closer and that inner voice my daughter and I share grows louder and stronger.  We both have formed friendships and bonds that we will have forever because of this theatre.

     This year, I wanted to find a way to give back to SCT for all that they have given my family.  I decided to chair the 2014 Auction and Gala, which is SCT’s biggest fundraiser of the year.  I wasn’t sure what I was getting into, but with the help of our supportive volunteers and Board of Directors, I believe that this year’s event will be an exciting night for everyone involved.

     In just eleven days, we need everyone who loves Savannah Children’s Theatre to come out and support our Gala!  This year’s event will take place Saturday, October 25th, at the newly renovated Knights of Columbus Hall on 3 West Liberty Street,  Starting at 6:30pm, this elegant evening in Casablanca will feature music from Savannah’s own Trae Gurley, great food, entertainment, and the chance to bid on some amazing items like the ones listed below:

  • Puppy with 1 Year of Complimentary Veterinary Service
  • Oyster Roast for 100
  • Sail Boat Trips (Both Fishing and Non-Fishing Adventures)
  • Wine Tasting for 12
  • Dr. Pearl Cool Sculpt Treatment
  • Sunset Cruise for 8
  • Theatre Tickets
  • Local Restaurant & Business Gift Certificates
  • Much, Much More!

     If you can’t attend the event, please consider making a donation or becoming a member of our Annual Fund.  Your contribution to this amazing organization will not only help children to experience the joy of the performing arts, but it will help families to experience the joy of each other.  SCT is a place that excels in encouraging people to follow their dreams.  The thing is, SCT also helps to make them come true.

mollyandchris

WHO WANTS A COOKIE?

     Let’s be honest. Who doesn’t want a cookie? byrdcookies

     Especially if that cookie is one of Savannah’s famous Byrd Cookies, served up with some ice-cold milk and a side of glitter!

     This Saturday, following our first matinee of Goodnight Moon the Musical (yeah, you can click that link for tickets…we won’t mind), we’ll be hosting an intimate Cookie Party for our little guests!  After seeing the show, join the cast for a magical pajama party, which will include story time, crafts, face-painting, games and, of course, cookies!  Party guests will also have the chance to meet the characters of Goodnight Moon, learn a song from the show, and take plenty of silly photographs.

     Sponsored by our friends at the amazing Byrd Cookie Company, our cast and volunteers are really looking forward to sharing this Saturday with you.  So go ahead and reserve your tickets for one sweet afternoon!

cookieparty

The Envelope, Please…

     We are thrilled to announce the cast* of our Winter Main Stage musical, CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG! This high-flying production will open January 23, 2015, with a stellar cast of talented singers, actors, and dancers. Take a peek!

Ford Headshot

Caractacus Potts – Ford Phillips

Lauren Cusker Headshot 2

Truly Scrumptious – Lauren Cusker

Jamie Keena

Baron Bomburst – Jamie Keena

laurenheadshot

Baroness Bomburst – Lauren Baxter

Lane McCullough – Jeremy

Molly Bass – Jemima

Grandpa – Jake Kawatski

Boris – Ali Wambold

Goran – JoJo Ward

Violet / Inventor 1- Gloria Rigsbee

Miss Phillips / Inventor 2 – Catie Casey

Inventor 3 – Michelle Negley

Inventor 4 – Maia Strickland

Inventor 5 / Coggins – Corey Hollinger

Greta – Taylor Rigsbee

Ensemble – Jamie Dease, Sarah Hennessy, Carina Hoelscher, Sarah Maples, Maeve Mobley, Liam Padgett, Zoe Poole, Maggie Rabitsch, Dylan Roberds, Sydnie Roberds, Ellie Strickland, Xavier Williams, Olivia Aubrey, Adam Davis, Philip Dease, Scout Holden, Sarah Iocovozzi, Zachary Kole, Skyler Lanier, Kealan Neal-Farr, Jasmine Robertson, Sarah Rose, Hope Strickland, Anna Tredway, Emily Toma, Hezekiah Williams, Olivia Williams

     *There are some actors who have not yet formally accepted their roles. Names will be added as our cast members confirm their involvement in this exciting new musical!

What SCT Has Given Me, by Jason Rigsbee

     While many people “find” themselves in the theatre, growing up I avoided anything that required me to perform in front of others.  I was always comfortable speaking in class, playing sports and taking on leadership roles in school and college.  There was something, however, about performing as a character that I found uncomfortable.

     As fortune would have it, I met my wife while in college and you guessed it, she was a theatre person.  She had grown up her whole life performing and singing.  She was so passionate about her experiences and how it had shaped her life.  Little by little I learned more and more.  Fast forward and I now have three daughters, 9, 7 and 4.  It is no surprise, but each one loves to perform and as each has come of age, gravitated towards the Savannah Children’s Theatre.

     When my first daughter auditioned for Little Women, I really had no idea what to expect.  We showed up as a family and as we waited in the lobby, I looked around at all of the kids and families and was truly amazed.  There were groups who clearly had been in the theatre and knew each other and there were those that it was their first time; what amazed me most was the diversity within the group and how welcoming everyone was.  When we got the call she was in the show, the excitement on my daughter’s face told the whole story.  Life was about to change for my family.

     Now as the shows have continued and my second daughter will appear in her first show this year, I have learned a few things about myself and my family.  First, the theatre is a second family where anyone can find true friends and a support system beyond your hopes.  It does not matter your age, your ability or who you are, it only matters that you are family.  In a world where you worry what your child will face, this brings amazing comfort and joy as a parent.

     Secondly, even as a “non-theatre person” there is a place for you.  During the first show, I hung out in the lobby during rehearsals and I had the chance to meet some great people and form relationships, but also realized how many ways you can volunteer and interact to support the kids and theatre.  I now regularly work concession for shows, help clean up after shows when I can and the list goes on with all of the things you can do behind the scenes.  I have found incredible joy in doing little things that support such a great experience for kids.

     Lastly, my family has grown closer, crazier and happier through our two plus years at the theatre.  Everyone sings the songs leading up to the show (watch out the radio gets taken over by the musical CD for a show months at a time), looks forward to rehearsals, even if it is just to drop someone else off and celebrates the family member on stage.  The feeling is overwhelming when you have another child turn to you during the show and say her sister was so amazing, even if she said a line or not.

     So from a father’s perspective, I can only say my life would not be what is without the theatre (never thought I would say that!).  Before the theatre I had no idea what I was missing.  Now with the theatre, I cannot imagine a time where it will not be an integral part of my family’s life.  Maybe one day I will take the plunge (my family bugs me all the time), but for now concessions is cool for me!  On October 10th I’ll get to pop the popcorn and then take my seat with my wife and youngest daughter, and I’ll enjoy the smile that lights up her face as she watches her sisters perform in Goodnight Moon the Musical.  Surely, it will be a good night.

Field Trips, Yay! by Timothy Reynolds

     The mission of Savannah Children’s Theatre is to inspire, educate and entertain!  One of the best ways that we do this is with our Let’s Put on a Play Field Trip program.  There, students from Chatham County and beyond get the opportunity to rehearse and perform an educational musical, all in just two hours!  At SCT, we encourage all students to participate and do something that perhaps they have never done before. They sing, dance and perform scenes, and by the end of the morning, they have a real theatrical experience putting on a show that is uniquely their own.

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If you can see this red curtain, say “ooooh!”

     Students arrive in the morning and are divided into smaller groups for rehearsal.  They work with an SCT Field Trip Instructor who teaches the basics of performing in a musical.  They play silly characters, sing at the top of their lungs and dance their hearts out, all while learning the curriculum chosen by their teacher.  Everyone gets a chance to perform on stage, complete with lights, props, and silly hats.  Working together, the students perform the show for their adoring fans; their teachers, parents, and chaperons!  
Inline image 1

Some hats are sillier than others!

     The plays that are performed are educational in nature and touch on a wide array of subjects, from U.S. History to Biology, Nutrition and Fitness to Grammar and Phonics.  Think of it like School House Rock performed by kids, for kids. We feel that its important not just to reach out to the students in terms of theatre, but also in terms of their current curriculum.  One of our favorites is Pirates from Grammar Island, where pirates go searching for grammar while battling the dreaded Grammar Pirate Curse!  (Side effects include subject/verb disagreement, and a flair for the dramatic.)  By presenting schoolwork in a fun, approachable manner, kids are able to learn while having a  great time!  Students seem to really enjoy our multi-sensory approach to learning, and with any luck, they’ll remember what they’ve been taught through rhythm and rhyme.   

 

   Our interactive field trips are appropriate for Pre-K to 8th grades, and shows can be tailored to suit different age groups and reading levels.  In the 2013-2014 School Year, we conducted Field Trips for over 11,000 students from 19 different school districts.  We would love to have you along so we can share our love of musical theatre with you and your students. 

     If you’re interested in booking a field trip, you can click here,  or you can contact Jenn at jenn@savannahchildrenstheatre.org.  Come play with us!  The field trip may only last two hours, but the memories will last a lifetime.