“The Optimistic Orphan”, play rehearsal at I.S. 171

When you walk into an auditorium where an Arts to Grow class is taking place, you hear loud music, singing chorus, you see groups of kids with scripts in their hand practicing for their roles, and you feel like you are in the real theatre rehearsal.

Arts to Grow’s after school theatre class at Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation / I.S 171 is led by our Teaching Artist Patricia Runcie who is currently rehearsing The Optimistic Orphan for performances on April 7th and 8th  for friends and family.

I was lucky to have the chance to interview kids and experience how students in grades 5 to 8 practice their singing and acting skills with an original script.

Some of the children have been participating in our programs for more than 3 years, some are new this year but each one of them was enjoying their time and enthusiastically welcomed the chance to be happy to be interviewed.  My questions were based on the experiences and skills that enrich kids live through arts.  It was fascinating to hear what the kids experienced when they go on the stage for the first time, how they learn how to overcome their fears, how to leave everything that worries them behind and immerse themselves in their roles.

Do you feel that participation in this project has helped you to improve in other areas of your life (academic abilities, social skills, self confidence, etc.)?

“I am starting to write this amazing plays, all because of Patricia…..in Math I am pretending that I am teaching to somebody to do everything right I pretend that I am acting…”.

“When I am here I collaborate with others, I learn to understand and help them and then when I go home I collaborate with my Mum, Dad, brothers, I try to understand them and help them with stuff…”

A couple of the students have applied to acting schools and are impatiently waiting to be offered a spot.  Many of the students expressed to me how they have learned to be focused on their work and have fun at the same time.

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About arts2grow

Arts to Grow (ATG) engages children in the artistic process by providing free, highly tailored and professionally taught arts education programs to youth in the New York metro area who have limited access to the arts. Arts to Grow collaborates closely with schools and community groups to match performing and visual arts programs and Teaching Artists with the specific needs of each group of children. ATG serves the community and society by helping children develop their full potential through the arts.

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