This weekend a talented group of youngsters will take to the stage following only three weeks of rehearsals as part of a theater drama camp known as Kidshop. The show “Oz” will be performed by the Kidshop Theatre on Friday at 7 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Saturday at the Elkin First Baptist Church fellowship hall. Performances are free, but donations to the program are accepted.
Kidshop, a theater camp for kids provided by Foothills Theatre, began in 1999. After a several year hiatus, the program restarted in 2011.
This year’s production features 24 area children. The show is directed by Morgan Harrison with assistance from arts council Director Leighanne Martin Wright, area teacher Christie Harrison and Kidshop alumna Cassidy Transou.
“Kidshop Theatre has always been a favorite program of mine because of the total experience — the children not only learn their lines and songs for the play, they also create the sets and make costume pieces and props,” said Wright. “This year the flying monkeys used a sewing machine to make their outfits. We not only painted the backdrop, but also did mosaic. Everyone is always busy creating, singing, and dancing. It’s so fun to see it come together.”
Making the set and props is a favorite part of the program for many of the children, said Morgan Harrison. Aside from the fun of painting, dancing and singing, Harrison said the program is also a great way for children to keep learning while they are out of school for the summer months.
“The kids each have their own script for the show so learning their lines can be a great way for them to improve on their reading skills and reading comprehension,” Harrison said. “They are also getting some great art experience, and the dancing gives them some exercise, too.”
Assistant Director Christie Harrison said that the kids like all the different aspects of the program.
“I think they enjoy being on stage and acting silly and they enjoy making everything and they really enjoy just hanging out with each other because they’re just silly and they have fun,” she said.
The kids, though having fun, are still learning, Christie Harrison said.
“I think they learn actually a great deal because they see all aspects of it,” she said. “They get to see the theatrical part by being in it, how the play works, the entrances and the exits, learning lines, and the music and the dancing, but they also see behind-the-scenes stuff. They get to look at the sets and how to build the sets and props and costumes. They’ve built most everything themselves.”
Raven Poindexter, who has performed in five Kidshop productions, said, “I like making the costumes and the scenery a lot and it’s really fun performing.” Raven will be performing in several roles as a guardian of the gates, a munchkin and a citizen of Oz.
A newcomer to the Kidshop program, Elijah Jeroslow, 6, also will be playing multiple roles as a fighting tree, a flying monkey and a munchkin. He said the fighting tree role was his favorite.
“Because I like fighting,” he said. “I like wrestling with my dad.”
Elijah also said he was having fun making props and costumes. He got to use a sewing machine for the first time while helping to make the flying monkey costumes, which he said was “pretty cool.”
Eleven-year-old Isabella Brumfield will be playing the role of Dorothy. She also has performed in multiple Kidshop productions. She said last year’s production of “Beauty and the Beast” was one of her favorites. Her favorite songs from this year’s production of “Oz” are “The East Witch is Dead” and “The West Witch is Dead.”
“I like acting on stage,” said Grace Harrison, 10, who also has performed in multiple shows with both Kidshop Theatre and Foothills Theatre. She is playing the role of Wicked Witch of the West. She said this is her first time playing a villain and it is a bit of a challenge to be mean on stage.
“I mainly just like acting,” said Addison Blackwelder. “I really enjoy this play.” Addison has done eight plays so far, including two Kidshop shows. He is playing the Cowardly Lion and his favorite number in the show is “Ol’ Soft Paw.”
Wright praised the work done by all the children and those in charge of running the program as well.
“This is the fifth year Morgan has directed Kidshop and each year he always does a great job at juggling, wrangling and directing these young actors and actresses,” she said. “Foothills Theatre is lucky to have him willing to take on this job.”
Harrison will be seen on stage later this summer in Foothills Theatre’s production of “Chicago.”
Wright said the group was also very lucky to have Christie Harrison assisting and she is a “whiz when it comes to dealing with 24 children at once.”
Cassidy Transou, who has performed previously in Kidshop and Foothills Theatre productions, has helped to choreograph and teach the children their dances for the show. Wright also thanked the Foothills Arts Council board for welcoming Kidshop to be held here as well as Elkin First Baptist Church where the performances will take place this weekend.
The cast of Kidshop Theatre’s production of “Oz” includes Isabella Brumfield as Dorothy, Ada Blackwelder as Toto, Kristie Brown as Glinda the Good Witch of the North, Lyelie Klatt as Scarecrow, Jade Byerly as Tin Woodswoman, Addison Blackwelder as Cowardly Lion, Grace Harrison as Wicked Witch of the West, Morgan Orta as BOQ the Munchkin and citizen of Oz, Hollyann Caudle as LOQ the Munchkin and citizen of Oz, Raven Poindexter as TOQ the Munchkin and Guard of Oz 2, Sawyer Poindexter as Munchkin and Guard of Oz 1, Cama Ball as Munchkin, Poppy, Citizen of Oz, Addie Burton as Munchkin, Poppy, Citizen of Oz, Ava Burton as Munchkin, Poppy, Citizen of Oz, Elijah Jeroslow as Munchkin, Fighting Tree, Flying Monkey, Matthew Brown as Munchkin, Fighting Tree, Flying Monkey, Bethany Roberts as Munchkin, China Princess, Citizen of Oz, Jaron Nunnemaker as Munchkin, Great and Powerful Oz, Ally Vestal as Munchkin, Flying Monkey 1, Zoey Hawks as Munchkin, Flying Monkey 2, Bailey Copeland as Aunt Em, Munchkin, Citizen of Oz, Charlotte Whitman as Munchkin, Poppy, Citizens of Oz and Jordan Holleman as Munchkin, Poppy, Citizen of Oz.
“Oz” will be performed at 7 p.m. on Friday and 5 p.m. on Saturday at Elkin First Baptist Church.
Kitsey E. Burns may be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter @RippleReporterK.