Play While You Wait! by Jenn Doubleday

   As the parent of a three-year-old and as someone who does children’s theatre for a living, it’s no surprise that I adore taking my little one to the theatre!  I love every part of bringing our daughter to SCT; the buttery popcorn at the concession stand, the booster seats for little bottoms, the joy on her face as the red velvet curtain opens to reveal…anything!  Yes, my girl and I enjoy everything about theatre-going…

   …except…

   …waiting for it to start.

   The build-up of excitement is almost unbearable.  The purple seats in this theatre have been her gateway to everyone from Shrek to Pinkalicious, from princess castles to flying cars, so she knows that something amazing is going to happen.

   Eventually. jamiecurtain

   As anyone who has taken their kids to a restaurant or on a road trip can attest, waiting for the grand event can be a challenge.  Which is why we at SCT have decided to try a few new things for this month’s ELEPHANT & PIGGIE’S WE ARE IN A PLAY, playing weekends September 25 – October 4.  While you wait for our perfect-for-preschool musical to begin, you can enjoy the sounds of kid-friendly dance music in our oh-so-colorful lobby.  (Is there a kid in Savannah who hasn’t made up a game jumping from one colored carpet square to another?)  After you purchase your tickets, you’ll receive two playbills; one for grownups filled with theatre information, upcoming events, and ads from our amazing sponsors, and another one just for kids!

   The kid’s program comes complete with crayons, coloring scenes, a make-your-own-comic-strip page for our budding authors, as well as Mad Lib’s for some pre-show giggles.  You can also get some great photos with our Elephant & Piggie cutouts in the lobby, or wait to have your photo with the cast at the end of the performance.  Just make sure you hashtag those photos with a big #iheartsct.

   If you’re the parent of a toddler or preschool student, and you’ve wondered if your kid is ready for their first visit to the theatre, the answer is YES.  Children are the main event at SCT, and we can’t wait for your kids to experience the joy of live theatre that is for kids and by kids.  So…

   …what are you waiting for?  Get those tickets today! 

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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.

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                                            Anna Smith & Matthew Weeks, SCT Aerial Students

What We Did on Our Summer Vacation

 

Y’all. 

We had a busy summer. 

Between May 1st and August 3rd, we did 52 performances of 15 different musicals. Most theatre companies do 5 shows a season…but I guess we’re not most theatre companies! From Shakespeare to Fosse, Disney to Dreamworks, we offered our community a little bit of everything, and a lot of opportunities to smile. Here’s a glimpse at our 2014 summer theatre mania! 

Dreamworks Theatrical’s SHREK, the MUSICAL

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STAR STRUCK DANCE CAMP

 

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A CHORUS LINE

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Disney’s THE JUNGLE BOOK, KIDS
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SWEET CHARITYIMG_6537

Disney’s BEAUTY and the BEAST, JR.
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In addition to these wonderful productions (which include many others that are not pictured), we also had a few special events. Dr. Allan Taaca and Jenn Doubleday took home 1st place for Judge’s Choice and 1st place for Audience Choice at this year’s Ballroom Extravaganza, while raising over $11,000 to kickstart our 2014-2015 season! We also had our first ever Fairy Tale Festival (quickly nicknamed FairyFest), which offered the tiny pirates and princesses in our community the chance to experience a small taste of what SCT has to offer. Thanks to Renee McMahon and the folks at Enchant My Party, we had a magical time! 

2014 DANCING with the DOCS BALLROOM EXTRAVAGANZA
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2014 FAIRYFEST

fairyfest arielWe know what you’re thinking. What’s next?! We have so much in store for this year, and we look forward to sharing it with you! Keep checking our Facebook page and our website for information about classes, auditions, and the multitude of ways that your family can become a part of SCT. We can’t wait to make your fairy tales come true! 

 

Family Life at SCT, by Gloria Rigsbee

     “Welcome to the Savannah Children’s Theatre!”  are words you hear at the start of each production.  Being welcomed into a place is very common, but being welcomed into a family is a rare occurrence.  When they are spoken at SCT, your entire family is being welcomed into the amazing world of theatre and the family that is housed within their walls.

Taylor with Corbin (Tarzan) and Brandon (Musical Director) at the cast party

Taylor with Corbin (Tarzan) and Brandon (Musical Director) at the cast party

     For us, the theatre bug bit our oldest daughter in April of last year and our family has loved every moment since!   If you take advantage of each moment leading up to opening night, you can really get the entire family involved and excited about the upcoming experience.  It can begin as simply as putting the soundtrack of the show into your CD player and by the time the curtain is up, everyone knows all the words and can sing along (in their head, of course) with the cast or at home in the shower!  In fact, here’s a video of what goes on at my house when we’re all rehearsing for a show!

     When a production is in the works, there is a role for everyone.  At SCT, the roles available go far beyond those of the actors that grace the stage.  There are so many magic makers the audience never sees!   There are always hands needed back stage, sewing costumes, building sets and in the prop room, because a show could not function without an amazing tech crew.  Once the show starts, there are still many ways to get more involved.  You can sell tickets in the box office, help usher guests into the theatre, hand out playbills and work the concession area.  My husband, Jason, is a regular behind the concession counter and has become a pro at making cotton candy!

Taylor and I after opening night of Disney's Tarzan

Taylor and I after opening night of Disney’s Tarzan

     I would certainly be remiss if I didn’t mention one of the greatest opportunities offered by SCT:  Main Stage productions.  Auditioning for one of these shows gives you the chance to share the stage with your child.  You are also given an inside look at the amazing care and passion put forth by the staff.  My daughter convinced me to audition for Disney’s Tarzan this year, and it was one of the most memorable experiences of my life.  Having an opportunity to take part in a show with many talented actors and most importantly, share in the joy and excitement a show brings to my child was a real blessing.

     While I was aware of how connected my daughter felt to the staff at SCT and casts from the shows she has been in, being part of Tarzan reinforced the beauty of her extended family.   Getting involved at the SCT has provided exposure to so many people and great opportunities to learn from and about each other.  My daughter right away found a place where she belonged, but even more importantly, my family found an environment that brought  us closer together and connected us to so many more families, making SCT our second home.

     After watching a show opening night and watching my entire family be as excited as my little actress, I know without a doubt that SCT has done its job.  They certainly live their mission “to inspire, educate and entertain children and families through the experience of live theatre both on and off the stage.”  Without hesitation, the fulfillment of that mission has been seen in my family countless times this year alone.  Now that Tarzan is over, we have moved on to Shrek, which opens May 30th.  I am thrilled to once again share the stage with my daughter, and other truly talented adults and children.  My younger girls are counting the days until they are old enough to audition for a show!  Jason and I have loved that we have all become a part of such a wonderful family.

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Auditioning Techniques, by Christopher Blair

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Does auditioning make you nervous?  Me, too.  I always imagine my auditions feeling like this…

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     But they usually make me feel like this…
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     I’ve always found it fascinating that actors willingly walk into a room full of strangers to bare their souls offering it up to be critiqued and assessed, when most people would run from situations like these.   But it’s what you’ve got to do if you want to get the part.  So we muster up our courage, get up there and show ‘em what we’ve got!
     I’ve been doing theatre for approximately 4,000 years and I’ve learned a few things along the way.  So, if you’re someone like me who would rather clean Shrek’s outhouse than audition, here’s a few tips I have to share.
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Relax
     Easier said than done.  Everyone accomplishes this difficult task differently.  Personally, I like deep breathing.  Others might like exercise, or imagining everyone in the room wearing chicken costumes.  Just do what works for you.  Most theatre classes, including those at SCT, teach relaxation techniques to help you prepare for the stress of live performances.  But no matter how worked up we get, the truth is that the world will not end if you blow your high note or you miss a dance step, so do yourself a favor and relax.  Being relaxed encourages self-confidence.  Self-confidence inspires others to be confident in you.
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Make Yourself Comfortable
     Wear something that allows you to move.  If you know that there will be a dance audition, it might be a good idea to show up in loose-fitting pants or leggings rather than jeans.  Just make sure that you still look pleasant and professional, not like you’ve just come running in all sweaty from the gym.
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Do Your Homework
     Find out everything you can about the show for which you auditioning.  If the show has been adapted into a film, watch it.  If it has a cast recording, listen to it.  If the script is available for purchase, read it.  Use the internet!  There is no such thing as having too much information.  This gets you familiar with the material, and gives you an idea of what roles might be right for you.
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Pretend it’s Opening Night
     If you hate auditioning but love performing, use the same energy that you would for a performance.  Pretend there’s an audience there to entertain, even if there’s only one or two people.  Use all the joy you find in performing during the audition.  This will give the casting team a much clearer idea of your abilities and who you are as a performer.  Light up the stage!
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    I don’t guarantee that using these techniques will always get you the part you want, but they will help make auditioning a less scary and stressful experience.  Each of our summer camps starts with an audition, so if you or your child is registered for camp, I hope you’ve found these tips helpful!    Remember that everyone on the casting team wants you to be your best.  We’re all rooting for you!  Oh, and there’s one more tip…
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Don’t Forget to Have Fun! 
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