CENTER STAGE: JCA program gets kids moving

Published 3:00 am Friday, September 27, 2019

On Monday afternoons, The Studio on East Walnut Street in downtown comes alive with the sound of young children.

The children who are enrolled in Center Stagers are eager to learn and to do and to meet new friends and just have fun moving with purpose.

Jenny Meadows, director, said Center Stages is offered to children ages six to 12 through a Johnson Center for the Arts grant.
“The children have fun together as we learn about body movement and as we stretch and dance and they learn about using our voices as we talk and sing,” Meadows said. “They learn about friendship and about working together as a team. And, it is all in fun.”

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And there is even more to Center Stages, Meadows said. “There is a culminating goal.”

“In December, we will present a musical, titled ‘Elf Jr.’ And the children will not only be the actors and the singers in the musical, they will also come up with ideas for the masks they will wear in ‘Elf, Jr.’ and have the fun of making their masks.”

Meadows said the Christmas production will be a culminating activity of things they have learned at Center Stages.
“They will be in costumes they have created and they will sing and dance in telling the story of ‘Elf, Jr.,” Meadows said. “But most importantly, by performing on stage they will demonstrate the confidence they have gained as members of Center Stagers as well as the friendships they have formed.”

Wiley White, JCA exhibitions coordinator, said turn out for the Center Stagers troupe has been excellent this year.

“We had a great group last year and even more this year and that is exciting,” White said. “Our mission at the JCA is education in and exposure to the arts,” White said. “Center Stagers focuses on both. There are many theater programs like this for young children in Alabama but most of them are in the northern part of the state. The JCA is proud to be able to offer a theater program to young children in our community.”

White said participation in Center Stagers helps children cultivate friendships and develop self-confidence.

“Center Stagers provides opportunities for young children to speak in public which helps give them confidence in the classroom and in school programs,” White said. “And, they have many opportunities to explore their creativity and to gain confidence in who they are and in what they can do and accomplish.”

White said fall registration for Center Stagers is close but will reopen for the spring program.

For more information about JCA opportunities for children, call 334-670-2287.