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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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Children's Theatre Workshop participants prepare for performance

A Children's Theatre Workshop at New Mexico State University July 16-27 will provide 20 local children the opportunity to perform in a play and 25 university students the opportunity to learn how to incorporate drama into the classroom.

Participants in New Mexico State's Children's Theatre Workshop prepare for their performance Friday. (NMSU photo by Meghann Dallin)

Education majors will have firsthand experience working with children and theatre simultaneously as they prepare the children for their performance of "Marguerita's Secret Diary," written by assistant professor of theater arts Tom Smith.

The 25 assistant directors are enrolled in the summer course "Creative Dramatics," a course focusing on how to integrate drama and the fine arts into the classroom.

"Everybody learns and grows, so it's a positive experience for the children and the education majors," said Ruth Cantrell, theater arts department head and managing director of the American Southwest Theatre Company.

The children, ages 7-14, will rehearse from 10 a.m. to noon daily in preparation for their performance at 6 p.m. July 27 at the Hershel Zohn Theatre.

"Marguerita's Secret Diary" is the story of a girl who records family stories in her diary and recounts the tales for the audience.

Cantrell, who has been running the summer workshop for 16 years, said the program is set up as a means for children to express themselves.

"I enjoy working with children. They replenish you with their energy and their willingness to try," she said.

Rather than trying to "turn them into stars," Cantrell said, she encourages them to simply trust their own abilities.

"Past participants have told me the program helps to build their confidence, whether they choose to pursue a career in theater or not," she said.

Photo is available at http://kiernan.nmsu.edu/newsphoto/ch_theat.jpg.
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