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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

NE drama class showcases theater to young audiences

NE’s outreach program helps children from local schools learn about performing arts.Photos by Katelyn Townsend/The Collegian
NE’s outreach program helps children from local schools learn about performing arts.

Photos by Katelyn Townsend/The Collegian

By Dianna Flores/ reporter

NE students are introducing live theater to local elementary students.

NE’s outreach program helps children from local schools learn about performing arts.Photos by Katelyn Townsend/The Collegian
NE’s outreach program helps children from local schools learn about performing arts.
Photos by Katelyn Townsend/The Collegian

Associate professor and NE Children’s Outreach coordinator Jakie Cabe and drama adjunct instructor Susan Polster said they have reached out to local schools to invite them to the 10th annual fall children’s musical, Oz.

Polster’s class is based on the production of Oz. She requires students to rehearse for the play for the first eight weeks of the semester. Then students perform for the next eight weeks during class as children from schools in local communities attend the play on NE Campus.

The outreach program also travels to schools that cannot make the trip to TCC. This year, it will go to three schools to perform the week after Thanksgiving.

Polster said she believes theater is important to children, but she also thinks getting community schools to TCC helps children learn about getting a higher education and the performing arts.

“We want to not only introduce children to theater but also introduce them to TCC,” Polster said.

Matthew Gil, who plays the scarecrow in the production, said he thinks the program is different compared to productions for adults.

“Kids are something else,” he said. “They give you high-fives and hugs. It’s very heartwarming.”

Gil said the content is also different. Actors have leeway when they perform for adults.

With children, the production has to be careful about what it does.

The shows for children are much shorter since the children can’t sit still for too long, but the shows are also very fun, Gil added.

Cabe said he is new to the outreach program although he has worked in surrounding schools and with children for many years.

He is a professional actor who has worked at Casa Mañana theater in Fort Worth.

With his contacts and through networking, he said he reached out to many schools but was surprised how fast the Oz production sold out.

Cabe also teaches a library program during the summer getting children involved and offering interactive classes for children.

“The purpose for the outreach program is to build interest in theater,” he said. “Theater is vital — everyone acts every day.”

The sooner children become interested in theater, the sooner they start to appreciate it and begin to contribute to it, Cabe said.

“They either want to become actors or actresses or they become fans,” he said. “This is how we keep theater alive.”

Oz will play through Nov. 19 in the NFAB NE Campus Playhouse.

Though the event is sold out, the program will hold performances every fall for local school children.

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