community theatre

Enter Center Stage right: youth theatre program launches in Lower Sackville

Free programs needed in area, says theatre director

The curtains are up in Lower Sackville for youth looking to get involved in theatre.

The Center Stage theatre program launches at the Gateway Community Church in Lower Sackville on Feb. 13 and will be held Wednesday nights for 10 weeks. It’s free and open to all youth in the area in grades 6 to 8.

“Six months ago, I didn’t have theatre arts on the brain, but that’s part of the process of discovering how to work with youth,” said Mark Baker, executive director of Youth Unlimited Halifax, the faith-based group behind the program.

man stands next to building doors
Baker outside of Gateway Community Church, the location of Center Stage.   Justin Gollop

The idea for Center Stage came about when a Youth Unlimited volunteer mentioned her background as a graduate of Dalhousie University’s theatre program.

Baker chose to focus on the middle school age range because, he said, it might provide a “spark” for high school and other theatre programs. The goal is to stage a theatrical production for the community at the end of Center Stage.

Darla Scott, director and instructor at Eventurous Theatre Company in Middle Sackville, said free programs are needed in the area. Eventurous offers a 14-week program for youth in grades 6 to 9, but only from September to December.

“When I’ve kind of suggested to kids, maybe if these nights didn’t work, that there were other programs, or they want to continue trying, some of the comments that some of the people have given is cost, also travel,” she said.

Other than Eventurous, the closest drama program is Bedford’s Discover Drama. It’s not free and is only available to children aged eight to 10. In Halifax, classes at Neptune Theatre cost $205.

Baker said he’s already heard from a few interested parents, so he expects the program will be successful.

“I think it will, but time will tell,” he said.

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