The following article appeared in the August 29, 2011 edition of The New Britain Herald. I wrote it as Executive Director of New Britain Youth Theater to highlight past season accomplishments and promote the coming season.
Happy New Year!
No, I’m not four months early or eight months late. It is an odd month for New Year wishes, but for many performing arts organizations a new year is just beginning. Summer programs and performances are over, and a new season of events will soon be underway.
At New Britain Youth Theater, the new season coincides with the start of a new school year. NBYT in-school and after-school programs will be held at as many as five New Britain public schools this academic year—which is NBYT’s second season. Theater programs will return to Smith Elementary School, Jefferson Elementary School, and Smalley Academy. New programs are being planned for Gaffney Elementary School and Roosevelt Middle School. American Savings Foundation has contributed partial funding for school programs, and additional funding is being sought to cover program costs.
Also in the new season, NBYT will add new programs and expand already successful programs. Performances will include the world premiere of a Christmas play, I’m Getting Nothin’ for Christmas; Rodgers and Hammerstein’s magical musical, Cinderella; the whimsical world of Seussical; and Teen Company productions. The Greater Hartford Arts Council has provided partial funding for these performances. Drama classes will be offered on additional days and hours, preschool classes will be added, homeschool and after-school programs will explore new scripts and activities, and new school vacation week programs will be scheduled in February and April. Demand has also risen for outreach programs in new venues and towns.
Of course, any good New Year celebration includes a look back at the year ending too. In its first season, New Britain Youth Theater produced three plays at Trinity-on-Main—A Children’s Christmas Carol, Babe the Sheep-Pig, and I Know I Saw Gypsies (an NBYT Teen Company production)—for a total of nine performances. Year-long programs in three New Britain elementary schools ended with performances of scenes based on folk tales, fables, and legends. A two-month program at Roosevelt Middle School led to a staged reading of Romeo and Juliet. Back at Trinity-on-Main, eight-week Drama Classes and Homeschool Enrichment Programs also concluded with “Share Day” performances. Summer programs included five weeks at Jefferson Elementary School open to all children, five weeks at Smalley Academy for incoming students, and other outreach programs throughout Greater New Britain.
Over the past year, NBYT held a total of twenty-five performances and share days, directly served over 400 participating children and teens, and entertained over 1800 audience members. Children and teens in NBYT programs came from eighteen different towns in Greater New Britain, Greater Hartford, and throughout Connecticut. Much of the audience attended performances at Trinity-on-Main—bringing many new visitors to downtown New Britain.
As a new NBYT season begins, we’re also making New Year resolutions. We promise to continue the mission of NBYT: “to enrich the lives of children and young adults by encouraging creative thinking, fostering self-confidence and self-esteem, and developing general life skills through involvement in low-cost programs in the performing arts.” How about you? Will you resolve to make the arts part of your or your child’s life in this new year too?