Theatreworks USA brought “The Lightning Thief” and “The Teacher from the Black Lagoon and Other Storybooks” to Luhrs Preforming Arts Center. While many families came to see the shows, the question remains, who are these people that bring these shows all across the country and why do they do this?
The theater company’s mission is to “create, produce, and provide access to professional theater for young and family audiences nationwide, including disadvantaged youth and under-served communities.” The company has been around since 1961 and has played in 49 states, as well as Canada.
Although the company’s main goal is to reach out to children who have no means to see performing arts, they are also a not-for-profit organization dedicated to bringing the performing arts to all children.
Each of the shows are based off different children’s books as a way to connect with children. The musical aspects of each show makes many of the stories come to life. It also helps that each of the shows are only an hour long.
Theatreworks also wants to use the performing arts as a way to highlight more than just the books, but they also want to start a discussion among children. This is only one part of its many goals that are listed on its website.
Theatreworks also wants to use the performing arts as a way to encourage children to use their own creativity. Part of how they do this is through minimalistic sets that are comprised of a small backdrop for the actors to change behind, several props (both on and off stage) and many different costumes. Because the set is so minimalistic, it gives children a chance to use their imaginations to help further the story along in their minds.
They also believe that through these stories they can “present role models and encourage positive values through the shows’ content.” This is a chance for children who may not have positive role models in their lives, to look up to someone and strive to be them.
The play also shows impressionable children ways to handle situations better. Many of the shows present situations children can relate to in their own lives and this gives them a way to identify with something and see how it is best handled.
While many of these shows aim to do all that, they also work to create a new idea about the theater. Children usually see these shows with either family or school, meaning they have others to share their thoughts and experiences. This in turn can make the event more exciting and fun for children.
Theatreworks has found a way to make the theater more enjoyable for children and have an impact on many communities across the country. The company has used the arts as a way to communicate with children, their families and many more, so look for shows from Theatreworks USA at Luhrs in the near-future.