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Kingman Center of the Arts and The Smith Center bringing theater to Kingman elementary schools

Students performing one of the Disney musicals at The Smith Center in Las Vegas during their student share celebration. (Photo Courtesy The Smith Center Photographer Geri Kodey)

Students performing one of the Disney musicals at The Smith Center in Las Vegas during their student share celebration. (Photo Courtesy The Smith Center Photographer Geri Kodey)

It’s a whole new world for children as they grow and discover new things. Being exposed to the arts can cause them to use their growing minds to think, think, think about the bare necessities of life. School can teach children math, reading and science but the knowledge of music and theatre can expose them to develop further skills, expand their imagination and keep on believing the dreams they wish will come true. Being exposed to theater at an early age can spark an interest and imagination.

Kingman Center for the Arts has received the opportunity from The Smith Center for the Performing Arts in Las Vegas to participate in the program Disney Musicals in Schools where two Kingman elementary schools will learn what it takes to put on a performance and maintain a sustainable theater program.

The program is developed by Disney Theatrical Productions and its purpose is to create sustainable theater programs to under-resourced elementary schools. The program has been around since 2010. It originated in New York and The Smith Center has participated for six years.

The Smith Center received the opportunity to partner with Disney in Schools to bring the program to rural schools. One of the areas of interest to them was Kingman after researching the city and Kingman Center for the Arts. “Kingman was just a perfect option, size, and distance that’s not too far and worked really well,” Melanie Jupp, Senior Program Manager Education and Outreach for The Smith Center said.

Most grants need to be applied for in order to receive the aid but for KCA, The Smith Center called them and discretely asked if they wanted to participate in a program. Kristina Michelson, executive director for KCA called back responding to the offer without knowing what the offer entailed.

“KCA couldn’t be more excited to join with The Smith Center in introducing our community’s children to the joy of performing,” Michelson said.

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Students performing “The Jungle Book” in front of family and friends after learning the musical for 17 weeks. (Photo Courtesy The Smith Center Photographer Geri Kodey)

Children will learn a Disney musical for 17 weeks. At the end, they will perform what they learned in front of their peers and in March they have the opportunity to perform it at The Smith Center in Las Vegas.

“The goal is their school performance. The Smith Center is the cherry on top,” Jupp said.

There’s many ways to incorporate students in the production that don’t necessarily mean performing in the show. Students can help with marketing, have students welcome guests at the door or help with set design.

Michelson can’t wait to see the long-term impact it has on the students. For as long as the program has been in the Las Vegas area, Jupp said they have heard positive feedback from teachers expressing how much they enjoy it. And how this program has had students enjoy coming to school and learn their lines.

Teachers and students will learn how to put on a theater production through the help of a teacher artist. Their job is to help run the program but also to develop the necessary skills it takes to sustain a theater program for the future.

KCA will receive $10,000 to help with paying for its teacher artists, covering any meetings, trainings, or anything else that would fit the budget.

KCA has already sent out invitations to the elementary schools in town but still haven’t made a decision on which two Kingman elementary schools will have the chance to put on a magical show.

Once the school is picked then they have the option of choosing, “101 Dalmatians,” “Aladdin,” “The Aristocats,” “Cinderella,” “The Jungle Book,” “The Lion King” and “Winnie the Pooh,” to learn and perform.

Anyone with theatrical experience can apply to be a teacher artist. If interested send a resume to info@kingmanarts.org.