Professional play series put on for students

The cast of ‘Voice of the Prairie,’ (from left) Lana Dvorak, Jeanitta Perkins, Charlie Barron...
The cast of ‘Voice of the Prairie,’ (from left) Lana Dvorak, Jeanitta Perkins, Charlie Barron and Aaron Orion Baker, answer questions from fifth graders following the performance.
Updated: Mar. 9, 2018 at 9:03 PM CST
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The Children’s Play Series was presented by the Patrons of the Arts for Poplar Bluff students kindergarten through fifth grade.

The students were able to choose from “The Nutcracker,” “The Country Mouse and City Mouse,” and “Laura Ingalls Wilder: Voice of the Prairie.” The plays were put on by the Repertory Imaginary Theater at the Tinnin Fine Arts Center.

“It was quite moving to see their expressions while they watched the characters from the story come to life on stage,” said Teresa Webb, first-grade teacher of Eugene Field. “I believe they walked away from the experience with a newfound appreciation of performing arts and gained a deeper understanding of the lesson learned from (the play).”

Getting to see the reaction of students was one of Webb’s “most treasured memories” of the school year, she continued. Faculty colleague Kristen Spain added that watching the faces of the students sitting on the edge of their seats, soaking in every word, was “priceless.”

“My Alanii Render now wants to grow up and be in performing arts in college because she was so inspired by one of the actresses that day,” said Spain of one of her first-grade students. “In her words: ‘I didn’t know grown-ups could play and act silly on stage in front of kids and get paid for it!’”

Three Rivers College has been arranging for professional plays to be performed directly for schools within its service area for the past few years. The plays are free thanks to the Patrons of the Arts Society, which subsidizes the costs with help from business sponsors.

“Having a variety of opportunities in the arts education is so important for our students. These experiences help kids develop on many fundamental levels,” stated Patty Robertson, R-I assistant superintendent of curriculum. “Some students find their ‘voice’ while studying the arts. Creative expression is also a great way to build self-confidence.”

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