Hi! Ms. Katie here, writing my first ever blog post…but our Main Stage Residency at Cardinal Elementary is so exciting, I couldn’t stop myself!
This fall’s production could easily be subtitled “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” For one, we’re in a whole new school - new building, some new students, new mascot! However, the majority of the administration and staff from the former McKinley building moved to Cardinal, so it’s a continuation of our partnership there. It’s still the same exemplary project - Kaleidoscope - and still part of the longest-running arts partnership in APS history! (We’re especially proud of that, so I like to mention it a lot.) In fact, when including the McKinley shows with this first production at Cardinal, this is our 36th Main Stage Residency with this school!!
...we were in talks with Cardinal to do a fall show...we just didn’t know WHAT we could do.
The return to in-person programming has been exciting and daunting and easy and difficult and scary and exhilarating. During the summer of in-person summer camps, we were in talks with Cardinal to do a fall show...we just didn’t know WHAT we could do. Knowing that the school wanted, more than anything, to return to an in-person program meant that I knew we’d only have two returning teaching artists - myself and Mr. Nigel. AND, I couldn’t tell him what to prep because we didn’t know what we would be permitted to do. The Main Stage Residency at this school is typically a musical, and singing can be a super-spreader event. It also typically has a cast of 40 from grades 2nd-5th. That’s a lot of people, not a lot of space, a variety of “pods” when you mix classrooms and grades, and singing, dancing, and acting all together! We discussed a variety of contingencies that we knew we could “make work,” but no details on anything until we knew more.
A week before school started, I was able to meet with our incredible faculty and parent liaisons at Cardinal. Not only did I get to see the new building (I did not go down the slide, but I absolutely know where it is...just in case), but I got to hear that we had the support of the school to do whatever we could to put on a show. Knowing that the administration of Cardinal supports and trusts ETC is incredible. (it’s also mildly scary to be the one doing all the new things with them - two fully virtual shows last year? Sure! A new idea this year? Sure! First and only performance on the new stage in 2021? Sure!)
In less than an hour, we had a plan - this fall, 40 Cardinal students from grades 2nd through 5th are creating TWO musicals. We’ve split the cast into two separate casts, divvied up the rehearsal schedule, brought in two new teachers (Miss Victoria, our Production Manager; and Miss Amanda, our Choreographer), created seating charts for the first time ever, and figured out how to do snack outside. The process for the students is the same - they all still worked with their groups to write two scenes that work within the larger script that they are a part of; collaborated on a song with their group; are memorizing their songs, lines, and choreography; and are creating backdrops, costumes, and props. The difference is that this year instead of a 45-60 minute single story we have created two 25-30 minute stories that stand alone. They both are based in Greek Mythology (our fearless fifth graders are the 12 Olympians, while all of the fourth graders are Odysseuses/Odysseusi making their way home) and are both incredible scripts that I can’t wait to share with our audiences!
I hope we’ll see you in November for a night or two. It’s all new, but the talent of these students is comfortably familiar!