“Exposure to and participation in live theater will empower our children and give them a platform from which they can express their experiences of the world and of their place in it,” Fortier said. “Theater is ephemeral and collaborative. It happens in the now and is dependent upon a great many people coming together to share their talents, time and perspective. Participation in this process can teach our children that their lives count, that their thoughts and ideas matter, and that they have a safe place where they can share their unique experience of the world.”
The kids involved in the “Willy Wonka Jr.” production are excited about the process. Gwen Robinson, who plays gum-smacking Violet Beauregarde, decided to try out for the play after seeing her sister in lead roles in school productions and wanting to be like her. She feels that the process is increasing her confidence.
Cameron Hart, our Willy Wonka, agrees. “I would like to not have stage fright,” he says. Cameron also enjoys the extra time with friends that the rehearsals afford. The kids rehearse every Wednesday from 2:30 to 4 p.m. and from noon to 4 p.m. on monthly half-days.
Participating in the play is a big commitment, but each of the student actors has stepped up to the plate.
Oscar Wilde wrote, “I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being.” Whether it be theater arts assemblies, a production of “Willy Wonka Jr.” or a soon-to-be-established playwriting program, Carlton Innovation School is taking the great playwright’s thoughts to heart.
Salem parent Beth Forrestal volunteers with the Carlton Theater Company.