Column: Jr. Civic workshops grow into the community

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Commentary by Catherine Dixon, managing director at the Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre

Perfect Harmony performer Michael Hufferd, left, and his performance buddy, ACT ONE member, Jacob Schilling. (Submitted photo)

Perfect Harmony performer Michael Hufferd, left, and his performance buddy, ACT ONE member, Jacob Schilling. (Submitted photo)

Theatre education has been integral to Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre’s operations since its founding 102 years ago, and in 1941, the Theatre made it official by establishing Jr. Civic. These days Civic offers more than 100 different courses in singing, acting and dance, with a skill-based philosophy that produces superior performers. Jr. Civic alumni include Jordan Donica, currently playing Raoul in “Phantom of the Opera” on Broadway, and Mitchell Wray, who recently secured a spot on the National Tour of “Finding Neverland.” Civic’s relocation to the Center for the Performing Arts allowed Jr. Civic to nearly quadruple workshop enrollment.

After five years in Civic’s most recent home at the Tarkington, Jr. Civic has reached the capacity of its Education Suite at the Center for the Performing Arts. Now, Civic is meeting the seemingly endless demand for theatre workshops by creating partnerships with community groups to establish satellite Jr. Civic locations. In Carmel, Civic partners with Urban Chalkboard to provide preschool workshops. in Indianapolis, Civic partners with Indiana Landmarks Center to reach kindergarten through third grade students.

This fall, Civic is excited to offer Perfect Harmony at Indiana Landmarks with the support of the Arthur Jordan Foundation and Kiwanis Foundation of Indianapolis. The inclusive performance workshop is available for free to children in the disabilities community, who are partnered with members of Civic’s ACT ONE performance troupe to learn and perfect their performance skills. This new program will support Perfect Harmony’s summer performance opportunities in 2017, which include the Special Olympics State Games’ Opening Ceremonies before a crowd of 10,000 Hoosiers. For more, visit civictheatre.org/classes.


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