As it continues to work more with local schools, the Appalachian Center for the Arts recently announced two upcoming children’s shows in its lineup, aiming to reach children of all ages.
The App will start rehearsals for its first children’s show of the year, “Game of Tiaras,” on Jan. 13. The show, which runs Feb. 13-22, features a cast of about 16-20 young performers between 11 and 18 years old. The second show in the App’s lineup will be “Charlotte’s Web,” and it is part of the App’s new initiative called the “Children’s Series.”
Erick Buckley, director of education and outreach at the App, described “Game of Tiaras” as a “hysterically funny” play centered around a similar story to William Shakespeare’s famous play, “King Lear,” where the king’s daughters are Disney princesses, including Belle, Cinderella and the Snow Queen, a similar character to Queen Elsa from Disney’s Frozen.
The show will be run completely by the students as they participate in the App’s Academy program, which is a youth division where students are given the opportunity to study performance and visual arts from the App’s professional staff.
“The show is going to be really fun, the design of the set is really fun and funny and the kids are completely on board with understanding the humor,” Buckley said, describing the show as an ensemble piece.
The App’s second children’s show scheduled this year will be “Charlotte’s Web,” an award-winning play adaption from the famous children’s book of the same name. The show will run March 17-28, and it will have a cast of six people from the local community.
While “Game of Tiaras” is recommended for grades seventh and up, “Charlotte’s Web” is recommended for children between kindergarten and sixth grade. Robin Irwin, executive director of the App, said that several schools have “already committed” to bringing their students to the show’s student matinees, which take place at 10 a.m. and noon on March 19, 20, 26 and 27.
“It’s about offering as much opportunity and as much content for children to see live theater and to experience it,” Irwin said.
Buckley said the book has been beloved for many years, referring to it being named the “best American children’s book of the past two hundred years” by Children’s Literature Association.
“I don’t know anyone above the age of 8 that doesn’t have fond memories of reading that particular book or story,” Buckley.
The App, Buckley said, wants to continue programs and initiatives like its “Academy” and “Children’s Series” in order to provide local students with more exposure to the arts. Buckley said the App hopes to provide students with more opportunities to learn about the arts this year by providing activities like performance classes for various age groups, art lessons and the App’s annual summer camps.
“We’ve already had interest from some of the local schools to come for our student matinees, which we’re really excited about because the more outreach we can do to students, the better we can position ourselves to provide arts education for the kids,” Buckley said. “It’s great because the nearest way for these kids to be exposed to these things is by taking them to either Lexington or Charleston.”
For more information on tickets for the App’s children’s shows or the App’s offered programs, call, (606)262-4004, visit the App at 218 Second Street or go to the App’s website at, www.theapparts.org.