IMAGINE! LWC youth theater program has record participation


Even after the campus slows to a crawl for summer, Lindsey Wilson College’s theater department is alive with activity.
In 2013, the college began a summer residence program called TheatreFest!, where college students or recent graduates can participate for an internship that involves working to plan, rehearse, and perform shows over the summer.
In 2018, IMAGINE! Youth Theatre became part of TheatreFest!, where these interns would help produce a show involving local youth from ages eight to 18.
This summer’s IMAGINE! Youth Theatre production is an abridged version of Tuck Everlasting, a musical that was adapted from a 1975 children’s novel of the same name by Natalie Babbitt.
Tuck Everlasting follows the story of a young girl hoping to escape her domineering family. Previous productions include The Glass Menagerie; Seussical the Musical; and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.
The director of TheatreFest! and IMAGINE! Youth Theatre is Assistant Professor of Theater at Lindsey, Jeremy Cloyd. His desire to provide the theatre experience to youth in the community has clearly paid off.
“This year we have 30 kids,” Cloyd said, smiling. “We had eight last year.”
Cloyd believes IMAGINE!’s numbers have tripled this year due to multiple factors. One of these is due to the success of last year’s show. Another is that Kaleigh Foster, the theater and choir teacher at Adair County High School is participating in Tuck Everlasting, opening up a new relationship between the high school and LWC.
Either way, Cloyd and the interns (such as Shiane Lussier) are ecstatic about this explosion in numbers. Lussier is a junior at Lindsey Wilson who has held multiple roles in theater, from lighting and sound to performing a monologue in last semester’s production of Heroines.
For TheatreFest!, her current job is stage manager, which she describes as a very rewarding experience.
“It’s a lot of getting to know these kids and working with these kids and getting to know the story and helping these kids tell it. They are the ones telling the story; it’s not us. The interns help out, the interns are in the show, but they are there to facilitate and help the kids grow,” she said.
With Lussier was Adair County Elementary School student, Addison Giles, who plays the lead role of Winnie Foster, said she was drawn to the program because, “Theater, I feel like you can express your feelings through your character. You don’t have to just be the character…you can express your feelings through the songs and through the lyrics.”
Another intern is Sabrina Ruiz, a junior at Lindsey Wilson College. Ruiz is double majoring in theater and is an experienced performer who is excited to bring her history with the medium into the internship program.
“I’ve been doing theater since maybe around fourth grade,” she said. “So when I found out there was an internship opportunity where I would be able to work with kids, I decided this would be a good next step to work towards my love of theater and my love for kids.”
IMAGINE! Youth Theatre lasts for five weeks. Their efforts will culminate in a production of Tuck Everlasting on June 28 and 29 at 7 p.m. and on June 30 at 2 p.m. held at the V.P. Henry Auditoriam on the LWC campus.
The interns will continue to work at Lindsey to produce their own show, The Miss Firecracker Contest, on Aug. 1 and 2 at 7 p.m. and Aug. 3 at 2 p.m. Both shows will take place in the VP Henry Auditorium in the LR McDonald Administration Building at Lindsey Wilson College.
By Kenley Godby

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