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  • Sara Pohl

Local Children Bitten by the Theatre Bug

Time is running short to sign up for The Portland Civic Players annual Summer Theatre Program. Started in 1975 as an extension of the Toan Foundation’s outreach to local youth, it has taken on a life of its own in the 48 years it has operated. It has also gone from about 40 participants to over a hundred and from two plays performed once to three productions performed twice over four days. We have had a wide array of thespians in the group, even some who have gone on to professional acting careers, but that is not the focus of our group. This is a group that has allowed hundreds of individuals to gain confidence, express themselves in way that never thought they could, and to form lifelong friendships.

What do the participants learn during their six week intensive? Glad you asked. They begin with two weeks of getting to know the stage and feeling comfortable expressing a wide array of characters, actions, and emotions. The more seasoned performers lead the younger ones around the theatre to show them the ropes…and curtains, stage, light booth, sound booth, and make-up area. After those two weeks, the actors are split into three sessions that focus on creating a performance piece. Most people assume it is just about being on stage and learning lines, but this is where all aspects of theatre, such as stage management, properties creation, lighting, and sound all come together. The goal of this stage, and all the hard work that it involves, is to make it look as if no effort was taken at all. That is the secret to stage magic, but don’t tell.

So, if you have someone in your life who is going into 4th through 12th grade looking for an engaging and challenging program for the summer, we would love to meet them. Our program runs from June 12th to July 23rd. We meet five days a week for the six week run. To sign up, follow this link:

Courtesy Photo: The author during her first year in Summer Theatre, with other participants before the 4th of July parade.


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