Arts for Kids, ETC presents classics onstage

March 21, 2004

Kids take to the stage at Danville High School Performing Arts Centre in a classic retelling of traditional stories in "Nursery Rhymes, Fairy Tales & Shakespeare."

In partnership with the Danville/Boyle County 21st Century Community Learning Center Program, this Arts for Kids, ETC production pulls the talents of young people from throughout the area and the concerted efforts of VISTA and community volunteers.

"What makes this collection special is the simplicity of the stories and the passing on of common history," explains production director Rebecca Ryland. "Nursery rhymes and fairy tales have been the basis of oral and folk stories passed on from one generation to the next for hundreds and hundreds of years.

"Many modern works of art, including dance, television, stage and film, are rooted in these tales and yet their traditional origins are slowly being eroded in today's faced-paced world of computer animation and high-tech special effects. I was amazed when we started this project to learn that many of the actors did not know the stories and rhymes by heart."


Along with introducing or reacquainting audiences with the collection of tales that includes "Beauty and the Beast," "Hansel and Gretel" and "Rumpelstiltskin," a creative excerpt from "MacBeth" and the works of famous world composers ranging from Mozart and Ravel to Prokofiev and Saint-Saens are woven into the fabric of the production.

Ryland, a locally-based playwright and theater artist who adapted the stories for stage, wrote lyrics to the compositions to expose young people to the music. The young actors bring the words, music and characters to life, creating performances that promise to entertain audiences of all ages.

Arts for Kids, ETC provides theater training and performance opportunities primarily for the benefit of youths. By partnering with the 21st CCLC program, which provides after-school activities during peak hours when youth are most at risk, a greater number of young people had the opportunity to participate.

Language arts teacher Jason Routin heads up the drama club with the 21st CCLC program at Bate Middle. His students will perform "Rumpelstiltskin."

Centre College drama major Emily Anderson has been working with students at Junction City and Jennie Rogers elementaries' CCLC, and Ryland has been working with with the Boyle County Middle School drama club and the Arts for Kids, ETC program. Participation scholarships were provided as needed by 21st CCLC and Arts for Kids, ETC, as well as the Arts Commission of Danville/Boyle Co.

"Nursery Rhymes, Fairy Tales & Shakespeare" plays 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2:30 p.m. March 28 in Gravely Hall at Danville High School. Admission is $6 for adults and $4 for kids and seniors, with children under 6 free at Sunday's matinee.

Over 650 students from local schools will attend a special school-day performance and a discounted preview performance, funded in part by a grant from the Kentucky Arts Council, which will be held after school at 3:45 p.m. Thursday. The after-school performance will be interpreted for the deaf and all seats for kids will be $1 at the door.

For information, call (859) 324-0371.

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