The Value of Youth Theater

Why Does MCT Have Children’s Productions?

In looking forward to MCT’s upcoming production of The Wind in the Willows, I wondered why our organization offers children’s theater. MCT consistently provides at least one such production for each season. Why not just focus on adult shows? Alicia Greathouse, Co-Director of The Wind in the Willows, explained the value of youth theater to me in terms of her upcoming production. Many know that Alicia and her Co-Director Geoff Hall have teamed up to provide many children’s shows over the years. 

In the least, Alicia said shows offer major roles for children. Adult productions usually do not feature kids. Wind has a cast of 11, with three boys and eight girls. Alicia added that kids get to learn real “stagecraft” being in a show, versus an academic setting. In Wind, the cast has actually been involved in helping to build and paint the set, along with their acting duties, according to the Co-Director. The latter includes being responsible for knowing their own cues, which is often a new skill for young actors. This production will also have solo and group singing and choreography including a ballet, a pretty challenging endeavor for any age. 

However, Alicia emphasized that the greatest benefit is in having kids gain confidence through performing. “I love to see when it clicks and they come out of their shell” says Alicia. For Wind, there are six children who have never done theater before, so Alicia has seen many examples of cast members’ personal growth as they prepare for the March performances

I found Alicia’s insight into youth theater very enlightening, an I now better understand the value of this work, and why she and Geoff love it. I then wondered, “Why do the kids do it?” So, I decided to ask the cast this, and a few related questions.  The results of this discussion will be featured in my next article. 

The Wind in the Willows

Adapted by John Jakes
From the book by Kenneth Grahame
Music by Claire Strauch

Directed by Geoff Hall and Alicia Greathouse

March 17-26, 2023
Fridays and Saturdays: 7:30pm
Sundays: 2:00pm

Tickets available here
Adults: $16.00
Students/Seniors: $13.00

“The Wind in the Willows” is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals

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