Youths take Embassy stage after just 3 weeks of prep

July 30, 2018

Twenty-two middle school students shared the spotlight Sunday, performing an original production on the Embassy Theatre stage after only three weeks of preparation.

“It’s very intensive,” education manager Maggie Hunter said after SCORE! theater camp participants took their final bows.

The students : who worked with mentors : were responsible for every aspect, including the script, choreography, costumes, tickets, marketing and customer relations.

This marked the camp’s sixth year. It started as a concept taken from teachers trained by the New York Metropolitan Opera to create a classroom musical and has evolved into a theater workshop that organizers believe is like nothing else nationwide.

The students represented schools throughout Allen County : both public and parochial : as well as schools from surrounding counties and a few from outside northeast Indiana.

Students never fail to amaze, Embassy President and CEO Kelly Updike said in the playbill.

“In three short weeks, a small group of middle-schoolers create a production that allows them to display their creativity, bare their souls and embrace the future with hope and love,” her playbill note said.

Cast members appeared unfazed in front of the audience, even when children cried.

The hourlong performance featured light-hearted songs about grilled cheese sandwiches, writer’s block and not having Wi-Fi. It also included more serious topics such as immigration and school violence, showing this age group isn’t insulated from heavier issues as some might believe, Hunter said.

It was clear Sunday the program positively affects those involved.

In a Q&A after the performance, cast members said they enjoyed turning poems into songs; the non-judgmental, family-like atmosphere; and learning how to provide constructive criticism.

About a dozen SCORE! alumni returned as audience members, and members of this year’s cast vowed they would stay friends. A slideshow of photographs and videos was played after the performance, providing a glimpse of the students’ overall experience.

“This is the part where we cry,” a girl said before it began.

Mentor Matthew Reeder said the experience is about more than a show.

It’s “community building through storytelling,” he said, crediting the audience for giving the students’ work meaning.



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