Friday, December 17, 2010

Melanie R. Buchanan on how to become involved with Civic Youth Theatre.

I have a lot of parents, grandparents, teachers, etc., ask me how children can get involved in Civic Youth Theatre, where do they start, who can audition, etc. I would like to put out a note that, hopefully, will address those questions!

CYT offers many options for local children, including classes, plays and summer camps. Depending on the age of your child, they may be able to participate in all of these activities. However, some are limited by age. In January, a new round of classes will begin, and there are some for students as young as 6 years old. In the summer, camps usually start for kindergarteners. Occasionally, we offer a "parent/grandparent and me" class for younger students.

Next semester, we also are producing three plays for all age levels. The first production will be Once Upon a Mattress. This show is a wonderful musical that originally starred Carol Burnett on Broadway. Auditions for this show will be open to any ages, 18 and under. However, because this is not the junior version, I highly encourage parents/guardians to read the script before auditions. You may find that the material is not appropriate for your child.

The second production, Macbeth, is geared toward the older CYT actor. This production will not be translated into modern English. Although this may sound intimidating, it actually is much easier to understand once it is performed, no longer just a script on a page. However, the production will not be 3 hours long, because we do plan to pare down the script (four acts is long enough!). Auditions for this production will be open to ages 13+. Why the age limit? Macbeth deals with more mature themes, and the production will also be quite dark and possibly gory. We want to make sure that those actors who are participating understand the nature of these themes and can maturely handle the content/style.

The last production of the season will be The Velveteen Rabbit, written by one of our own volunteers at Civic Theatre of Greater Lafayette, Laurie Russell. This play is adapted from the original story and will be appropriate for all ages. This will be a good production for a younger actor, but again, we encourage parents/guardians to read the script before auditions to make sure the content is suitable for their child.

Do you have to have any experience to audition? No, anyone is allowed to audition. However, auditions can be very competitive (and heart breaking for those who are not cast), and therefore I would encourage anyone who is interested in the theatre to have a little experience first, whether that be a class or a camp. Also, they can get a better idea of what the theatre is like and if they really are interested in participating.

-- Melanie R. Buchanan

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