The Children’s Theatre has been bringing entertainment and education in the fine arts to the youth of the Cincinnati area since 1947, through programs such as the ArtReach Program. The ArtReach program provides programming and education to children in the area, and Cincy Chic spoke with the producing artistic director, Angela Powell Walker, to learn how the ArtReach Program has made a difference in the community.
Cincy Chic: How long has the Children’s Theatre ArtReach Program been around?
Angela Powell Walker: The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati acquired the ArtReach program and made it a part of our institution in 2005.
Cincy Chic: What was the story and inspiration behind the ArtReach Program?
Powell Walker: We have always looked for ways to inspire the region youth and beyond with Educational Arts Programming and Entertaining, inspiring imaginations.
Cincy Chic: What is the ArtReach Program, for someone who has never heard of it? What does the ArtReach Program do?
Powell Walker: ArtReach is, in essence, theatre on the go! There are four actors that travel all throughout the United States, with a complete set, costumes, sound equipment and props to put on an entertaining and educational show to help with the curriculum of the classroom. At the end of each performance is a question answer period for the kids to learn about theatre as well as the topic matter being presented in the production.
Part Two of ArtReach are workshops designed to have a more one on one, hands on approach, learning opportunity through the arts. Topic matters range from Healthy Eating to Bullying. Instead of a show, the kids interact with our Arts Integration specialist, making the topic more relevant to them personally, thus learning the concepts faster and retaining the information longer.
Cincy Chic: What inspired you to become involved with the Children’s Theatre and ArtReach Program?
Powell Walker: As the incoming Artistic Director of the Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati, I inherited all divisions of the company with all the rest. The ArtReach division goes hand in hand with the Mission of our organization and it is inspirational to work with all the staff, actors, and teachers to make that mission a constant reality in our region.
Cincy Chic: How has the ArtReach Program made a difference to the community?
Powell Walker: By providing programming that can come to the student, we can service many underserved school programs, that would not be able to come to our Main Stage shows at the Taft Theatre, supplementing their curriculum in an affordable manner.
Cincy Chic: What has been your proudest moment working with the Children’s Theatre and ArtReach Program?
Powell Walker: My proudest moment working with the ArtReach division was when I directed my first show with them. The actors were engaging and eager to learn. They really enjoyed their craft and the opportunity to use their talents to bring to all youth. The more they shine, the more lives they affect and the prouder I become.
Cincy Chic: What’s up next for the ArtReach Program and Children’s Theatre?
Powell Walker: In our 2015-16 season we will expand our tour in two ways. First we are offering six shows instead of the usual five, and we have started a complete second tour of actors to provide programming locally (Tri-State region), expanding our audience reach significantly!
We open with Treasure Island, Little Red Riding Hood, The Elves and the Shoemaker, George Washington Carver, Henny Penny and Mozart’s Sister.
Our local tour will be doing The Elves and the Shoemaker and anchor performances of Coretta Scott King.