East Lynne Theater Company to Host After-School Workshops

The Equity professional East Lynne Theater Company is now in its third year of providing an after-school theater program for students in the Wildwood School District. Throughout the whole school year, ELTC's artists-in-residence meet with two classes two afternoons weekly. Group sizes vary between ten to twenty students, and topics cover improvisation, movement, and working with scripts.

Funding for this program is through the 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant that was procured by the district. Other after-school workshops in Wildwood involve filmmaking, cooking, and music.

The artists-in-residence working for ELTC are Sally Bingham and Rudy Caporaso. Sally, who has been an actor, director, and playwright for over twenty years, directed "The Dancing Princesses" last summer for ELTC's Student Workshop, and created an after-school theater residency at West Cape May Elementary School, focusing on Shakespeare. Rudy, co-founder/co-artistic director of Rev Theater Company, has appeared in numerous Off-Broadway, regional, and London productions. He's worked extensively in outreach theater programs for Boys and Girls Clubs, YMCAs, and charter and public schools in New York City, Philadelphia, upstate New York and in Connecticut. Currently, he's playing the title role in Rev's production of "Hamlet" in Scranton, PA.

In March, ELTC's artistic director, Gayle Stahlhuth, will be directing students at West Cape May Elementary School in her adaptation of Mark Twain's "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court." The performance is on Tuesday, March 31 at 7:00 p.m. at the school, and is admission-free. This marks ELTC's tenth year of providing workshops at this school, with funding procured by the theater through the New Jersey Theatre Alliance's Stages Festival.

Theater workshops such as ELTC offers, support the development of skills in students' creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, and communication. Acquisition of these skills bolster academic and overall success in life.

Believing that art should be accessible to students, ELTC has provided theater workshops to schools in South Jersey, at no cost to these towns or schools, continuously, for the last fifteen years, and is the only not-for-profit in South Jersey to do so. The theater seeks funding through organizations like Target and the New Jersey Theatre Alliance, and individual contributions.

ELTC values its place not only in the theater community, but in the community in which it serves. In 2012, East Lynne's in-school theater residency at Glenwood Avenue School in Wildwood paved the way for The First Presbyterian Church of Cape May to lend a hand. Attending the student performance was Pastor Jim Richards, and his wife, Jackie. Since most of the students at Glenwood receive free lunches and breakfasts, Jim and the deacons at First Presbyterian agreed that the church would supply funds to facilitate the inclusion of Glenwood in New Jersey Food Bank's BackPack Program, which it still does to this day. This service provides schools with supplemental food for distribution to eligible children to be placed "in their backpacks" for the weekend.

For information about ELTC's residencies and other programs, including the mainstage production season, call 609-884-5898 or go online to www.eastlynnetheater.org.

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