The Aurora Players Summer Program, ProjectSTAGE, is a two week program for students entering grades 4-9 in the fall of the school year following the program. It is divided into two separate “Acts” to split up the age groups. Each program runs weekdays from 9am-1pm with a performance the final Friday and Saturday evenings at 7pm.
ProjectSTAGE is a truly unique program! Our goal, as Aurora Players volunteers, is to pass on to our students a true love for theater and help boost their creativity and self confidence in all they do. Not only do they learn about acting, they learn about props, costumes, set design, lighting design, and every other aspect of theater we can teach them.
Act 1 is a true introduction to theater for students entering grades 4-6 next school year. From day one they are immersed in every aspect of theater. For this younger group, we select a play that is fun and light. Fun games are used to teach things like the parts of the stage, projection, and improv. All costumes, props, and sets are made from items that can be easily found at home or bought cheaply. Stage direction and blocking is basic and fun. The goal is to have the children be confident enough to go onstage and project to the audience.
Act 2 is for students entering grades 7-9 next year. This is where we really start to get into character development and stage presence! The selected play(s) are usually a bit more serious and involved. This session challenges the students to think of theater as an art form. Costumes and sets can be a little more involved but are still made with items easily found or built. Although the program is only two weeks, the kids put on a full production at the end. We rig full lights and sounds with the help of our lighting/sound designer, sell tickets and give out programs with bios of each child. Each participant is even given a show T-shirt!
The program is funded through the sale of tickets (usually $5) to each show. In this way, Aurora Players is able to keep the cost of admission to the program to just $75 per child, making it accessible to as many families as possible.
One of the best parts of this program is the volunteers behind it. Our volunteer producer, Erin Francis, has ten years of experience and handles all the organizational aspects including student registration, supply ordering, program development and day-to-day business. We are also fortunate to have a team of high school students (projectSTAGE “graduates”) who help each day with organizing and keeping the students engaged. They lead them in games, take them in groups to practice lines, and help out with lighting and sound for the production. All directors are well supported in this program with volunteers who have experience with ProjectSTAGE.
We have seen the difference this program makes in children’s lives. We love seeing them go on to act in school productions and more. But it all starts with our amazing Directors. We can’t have a program without them and we are in desperate need of directors for both Acts 1 & 2.
Please contact Erin Francis if you are interested in learning more about running a two-week session or know of someone who might be interested. Directors are offered a generous stipend for their time and experience. Please consider joining us in spreading the love of theater to these amazing children!
Contact Erin Francis with questions and/or interest: Jedistar1001@gmail.com
Aurora Players’ ProjectSTAGE schedule for the summer of 2024:
Act 1 – Grades 4-6 in 24/25 school year
July 1-5 (no class on July 4)
Shows July 12 & 13 at 7pm
Act 2 – Grades 7-9 in 24/25 school year
Shows July 26 & 27