Grizzly Hill School, located in an isolated area of North San Juan, will experience “downtown” entertainment with a performance by local theater group Quest Theaterworks.
The theater company is performing this season’s show, “Emperor’s New Clothes” — an adaptation of the Hans Christian Anderson classic — for Union Hill, Deer Creek Elementary and Grizzly Hill schools today to bring accessible children’s theater to area campuses.
The performance is funded by a grant awarded through Community Player’s Trust, which allowed Quest to perform for only $1 per student.
“I thought if we could bring it to schools and have a traveling show, it would save schools so much money,” said Lois Ewing, managing producer for Quest Theaterworks.
“It’s just an incredible opportunity for the kids.”
The performance is an unusual opportunity for students at Grizzly Hill, who rarely experience such performances because of the school’s location.
“I really wanted to bring it to a school that never gets these opportunities, either through budget reasons or geographic reasons,” said Ewing, who knows Twin Ridges Superintendent James Berardi due to the fact that his daughter has performed in previous Quest shows.
“It’s a great thing,” said Berardi.
“We are very isolated, very far from town, and a lot of times there’s different activities for kids in town, and we have to travel a great distance. The expense and time for (Quest) to come to us at the cost is unbelievable.”
Berardi said the school has paid for assemblies in the past, which take time away from classroom instruction and cost about $500 for the bus alone.
“This whole play will take about an hour and we can still have instruction, but the kids (will) have an experience outside of our capacity to provide,” he said. “It’s wonderful. I’m looking forward to it.”
Exposure to the arts allows children to expand their imagination and make human, rather than digital, connections, Ewing said.
“When it’s a human being as opposed to a cartoon or TV show, the access to the empathy and compassion and wonder is just ramped up,” Ewing said. “You are experiencing it with them when it’s happening. There’s nothing like live theatre that does that better.”
Quest Theaterworks makes a point to offer such entertainment to children, and as long as people attend the shows and support the theater, such programs can continue.
Ewing also mentioned that if large groups go to a performance, such as the Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts, one troop leader or parent can get in for free for every six children.
“As much as we love doing it, we can’t do it at a loss,” she said. “We just think having this for the kids is an important part of it.”
“The Emperor’s New Clothes” can be seen the next three Saturdays at the Oddfellows Lodge in Grass Valley.
To contact Staff Writer Jennifer Terman, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4230.