Southern Colorado’s repertory theatre offers classes for just about all ages
When a student is involved in one of Creede Repertory Theatre’s educational outreach programs, they are learning about themselves and others.
“I don’t see my job as trying to train the next generation of Broadway stars – of course that is fine and I’ll take it,” says Brittni Shambaw Addison, education director at Creede. “To me the point of theatre ed is to really teach empathy and get young people thinking about experiences outside of themselves. It’s always really beautiful to see the growth of young artists not just as artists but as whole humans.”
Shambaw Addison came to Creede four years ago by way of New York City, where she was an artist. Now, heading a nationally recognized theatre education program, she is responsible for the KID Show Program, which is in its 20th season; the Young Audience Outreach Tour, which is in its 39th season; as well as summer camps in June and July.
This year, the KID Show is Music Box written by KID Show alumna, Allison Quiller, and directed by KID Show founder, Renee Prince. Music Box follows a young magician, Maggie, as she faces dangers and learns to use her skills to save her father and the world. Along the way, she makes new friends in what Creede is calling a “coming-of-age adventure.” The show offers the professional theatre experience to students ages 10 and up.
“The students have a lot of autonomy from the start in the creation of this new piece of theater,” Shambaw Addison says. “Design, direction, deciding where they story is going to go. At the end of three weeks, they put on a world premiere production.”
Music Box will be performed July 7-9 in the Ruth Humphreys Brown Theatre.
In late summer and fall, the education program will focus on outreach as performers travel across the Southwest performing at schools in Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas with the Young Audience Outreach Tour – in its 39th season.
Addison works with the schools to see if there are certain topics they would like to see addressed in the staged productions. “A lot of folks requested shows identifying and regulating emotions so our tour going out in the fall it will have that theme,” she says.
The Young Audience Outreach Tour will feature the world premiere of Casa Alfonsa by Diana Grisanti. This is described as an upbeat bilingual musical following cousins trying to keep their family’s restaurant profitable while they navigate grief and regulate emotions. The show also will be staged Aug. 26 and Aug. 27, at the Virginia Christensen Multi Use Facility.
At Creede, the theatre outreach for young people continues into the school year and lasts all year long, according to Addison, who says the theatre company offers free Friday day camps for students of all ages. There’s also a Tiny Tour for preschool students.
All of the educational outreach programs are offered on a sliding scale. “We are very student focused. If you want this, we are going to make it happen,” Shambaw Addison says.