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Where I belong

Saturday, 26 September 2015 15:03 Fredi Bockover

12004065 10152998938962032 6467714909716495884 nThe beaming kids in Arabian shirts

With messy veil-worn hair

forget the too-tight shoes that hurt

And the itchy socks they wear


The lights burn bright on my smiling face

The butterflies in my stomach do flips

Looking into the crowd, my heart starts to race

But my nervousness slowly slips


The glasses glare from the guy in row c

Is the only thing in sight

From the great big mass of people in the

theater tonight


The notes from the night before

are running through my mind

and that plot twist in scene four

gets the audience from behind


Intermission comes and goes

A game of mafia backstage

Grandma's opening night rose

Wilts. Showing how we've turned the page


The cast gets better with every laugh

A little sweaty hand squeezes mine

My tights rip right down the calf

In the receiving line


"If it's not your prop don't touch it"

"Always pause for laughter"

"Hey, those wings cannot be hit"

"Hang up your costume after"


Despite the long tech week nights,

that note unachieved in a song,

And those silly audition frights.

I still know that like Iago to Jafar,

On stage is where I belong.

MTVarts has helped me in utilizing every tiny little bit of creativity within me in everything I do, making even mundane tasks in life a little more colorful and right brained, and forced me to work harder, push myself, and love theater more than I thought anyone could ever love anything. Doing MTVarts IQ Workshops like The Little Mermaid Jr. and Aladdin Jr. helps theater buffs, and budding young actors alike fine tune their skills, and have tons of fun with other amazingly talented kids who love singing, dancing, acting and hamming it up just as much as they do. It makes my heart happy to know that in both of the IQ Workshops, and through the support of MTVarts and every amazing, patient, and loving volunteer, I've seen kids find their voices, come out of their shells, and become truly amazing performers!


Building a Team and Making Them Family

Thursday, 24 September 2015 18:35 Carrie Swingle Production Manager

In 2014, Little Mermaid Jr. was my first time as a Production Manager for MTVarts. I had seen it done before, had assisted others in the role, but this was my first time in the role myself. I knew enough about it that I knew I could fulfill the role, but was nervous about venturing out on my own.

My favorite part of being the Production Manager for the artsIQ workshop and production is the 60 kids that need me to help, mold, and take care of them for 2.5 months. Those who know me know I love hugs already, kid hugs are fantastic! Bigger than that is the responsibility to teach, care and nurture these young minds with something that I enjoy so much, theater!

During Little Mermaid's tech week, one of my hardest moments was the amount of children that would continually tap me on the shoulder and call my name so they could ask me a question. I would wake up during the night hearing children's voices call my name repeatedly. A couple nights ago, during the Aladdin tech week, I realized that not a single child had done this. I had to think about why that would be, and I realized it was because we have an awesome team of volunteers. Not that the kids can't come to me or don't want to come to me, but that each volunteer knows their job so well that they don't have to come to me for every question or concern.

I wanted to share just a little bit about these hardworking people who are now great friends:
• Laura Ackert, our vocal director, is a music teacher at Pleasant Street and Dan Emmett Elementary schools. She not only teaches the kids to sing great music, but she teaches poise. She makes music fun and still can have control over the kids so they can learn the music in time for show opening.
• Michelle Betz, our choreographer, has danced for a long time. Sometimes, I feel like Michelle is in my dreams picking the best moves that feature our wonderful little actors. She always has a smile on her face, a hug to give, and a kind word to say. She is way better than me at rolling with the punches that sometimes come as we find scenery, music and stage direction does not fit with her vision of the dance.
• Amy Anglin, our costume madame, has never done costuming before. She is a high school teacher out of Westerville. With 60 kids to costume, some of them needing more than one costume, MTVarts decided we needed to rent our costuming this year for our youth show. Amy was the perfect person to pick for this role as she is highly organized, not afraid to ask questions and works super hard for all aspects of her life. She is always coming up with ideas and videos to make things easier. Amy's positive attitude and fun is contagious! If you meet her, you'll know instantly why we all love her!
• The best way to describe Kristen Campbell, our parent coordinator, is passionate. She loves the kids, she loves the interaction and she loves watching the growth. Kristen is the ball of enthusiasm that makes every activity fun and exciting. She knows what's important to parents and advocates for their needs. This way parents can get answers efficiently and with explanation. I love watching Kristen work with the kiddos because you can see the joy radiating off her face.

These are just a few of the amazing people we have on our team. They each have an assistant, plus there is lights, sound, box office, stage crew, makeup, hair and so much more that is needed to make these shows entertaining, enjoyable and exciting. I look forward to seeing you all at Aladdin Jr. Enjoy the show!



Theater Magic

Tuesday, 22 September 2015 16:11 Matthew Dinnen

mdinnenBeing part of a musical production is a huge commitment. The cast has to attend hours of rehearsals, memorize tons of songs and lines, and learn all kinds of choreography and blocking for the different scenes. As the time gets closer to the actual performance, practices get even longer and more frequent. Life becomes very hectic, and little time is left for anything else. So, why do I do it? Well, the experience of being part of a musical theater production is really amazing — almost magical!

For the production of Aladdin Jr., about sixty participants started off with an acting workshop in the summer. For some, it was their first theater experience. Over the next few days, we read through the script, started to learn some of the songs, and practiced our acting skills with fun games. Then, gradually over the next several weeks, a real show started to grow from this small beginning. Watching all of us develop into our characters and become more confident as we perform is so cool. It is hard to believe how much progress we have made over the weeks. Then, as costumes, props, and special effects are added, the magic starts to occur. Everything gets exciting as all the parts of the show come together somehow, and it becomes ready to share with audiences.

But, that's not all of the magic. All of the participants change from the beginning to the end of the production too. We go from being random students who signed up for an acting workshop to a theater family. By spending so much time together, we get to know each other, share many laughs, and become good friends. So, thank you, MTVarts, for not only increasing my acting skills and love of theater, but for also giving me new friends and a lot of great memories!

Matthew - Age 14




My Time with MTVarts

Monday, 21 September 2015 16:03 Chloe Skillman & Cora McFadden

chloeHow MTVarts has helped/changed my life was helping me get out of my comfort zone. Being on that stage, with all those people watching you, can be kind of scary. I'm not going to lie, it was pretty scary the first time I did it. It also really helped my self-esteem a lot. I was one of those people who thought they couldn't do anything right, but once I got on stage, that all changed. MTVarts was the reason.
I have been in 2 shows, so far, with MTVarts. I was in The Little Mermaid Jr. I was given the honor of playing Alana, one of Ariel's sisters. I am now in the newest play, Aladdin Jr. I am playing the part of narrator 1. With both shows, I didn't get the parts I was trying for, but I know they assign roles that are perfect for each and every person who tries.
Thank you very much, MTVarts, for helping me with my self-confidence, forcing me out of my comfort zone and giving me the opportunity to be on stage, where I belong.
Chloe – age 13



Being a part of a production like MTVarts makes me feel proud. When I hear people clapping for us, it makes me feel like I am part of something important. MTVarts makes me feel like more than just a little girl. When I am in practice or performing with the group, I feel like an actor, a dancer, and a singer. I love it.
MTVarts gives children like me a place to interact with some of the other children around here and make new friends. It is so fun to be in a group of girls who are all dancing and singing together. I was still friends with some of the people I met in last year's show, and this year I met even more people! I'm grateful that I get to be a part of this show.
Cora - age 9




No worries with MTVarts!

Wednesday, 09 September 2015 18:08 Amy Anglin - Costume Madame
The MTVarts Youth Acting Workshop is the capstone to our summer!  My daughter is always excited to see her friends and learn new techniques to improve her acting skills.  I feel comfortable leaving her in their care from 10-3:00 because the leaders of MTVarts are true professionals...and many of them are teachers!  I know the children and teenagers are cared for, supervised, and encouraged. 

Amy's daughter, Kelly, and Andrew Ruckman (Jafar)
Each day the production manger e-mails a Daily Report detailing the activities and teasers for the next day's events.  The week concludes with a real audition for a REAL SHOW!  While some might think auditions are scarey, the staff of MTVarts prepares the kids with what to expect and explains why an actor might not be chosen.  (You might be too tall, too small, etc.)
No worries!  Everyone who participates in the workshop is guaranteed a role in the show!  Whew!
Still, the staff of MTVarts cultivates each child by bringing out their theater talents.  It is incredible how the choreographer finds just the right choreography to give just the right person.  She makes EVERYONE look natural and beautiful.
The choral staff takes these tiny voices and through practice with singing techniques, takes the group and turns them into a chorus!
Overall the crew of MTVarts instills confidence through the theater that students will carry with them into every aspect of their lives. 
Service, poise, character education, and public performance are just some of the attributes that are reinforced.  Kids learn to serve each other while participating in activities.  The leaders model this service as they are ALL VOLUNTEERS!  Poise is taught daily--what do you do if you forget a line?  Relax because your cast will help you.  Character education:  respect, kindness to others, honesty, etc. are also taught through example.  Additionally, the scripts used always reinforce a positive message about how to treat others and be true to yourself.
To sum it up, this is a wonderful opportunity for the novice to the experienced actor.  My daughter said it best, "I'm just so happy to be here!  They help me be a better ME!"

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