Letter: Barrington Community Theater is a great program

To the editor:

I’ve spent many hours imagining the best way to help my children have all the best experiences and opportunities to grow and learn. Like most people my wife and I bring our children to everything they express an interest in, and encourage them to take healthy risks and try new things. A little over three years ago, my middle child wanted to try acting and so we contacted the Barrington Community Theater (BCT).

Please read about our experience below and bring your child to participate in Community Theater or their Summer Camp Program.

Gregory was an active child (some might say too active) and while friendly and outgoing, he had trouble following directions and paying attention. At school and in sports, he often found himself being lectured about behavior and directed to listen more carefully. Our normally cheerful and free spirited child was a little less happy.

From the moment we arrived at BCT, it was clear that the staff and participants were passionate about theater. Nine and Ten year old actors stood shoulder to shoulder with High School Seniors in what can only be described as an talented and committed acting community. The directors heard all the children perform cold reads over 2 nights and we did not know what to expect, but the following night we received an e-mail and saw that each child was cast in multiple performances with varying degrees complexity. We were surprised to find Gregory cast in a supporting role in a Shakespeare play and a larger role in “Paper or Plastic”. I can remember as we purchased our tickets for the big performance several weeks later that my expectations were somewhere around a Charlie Brown Christmas pageant, but after only a few minutes of performance it was clear that these were not just children stumbling through their lines with a parent mouthing the words from the audience. These were dedicated performers who had worked hard under the strong leadership that BCT offered to them. As I left the theater, I felt not only proud of my child’s performance, but also unexpectedly entertained!

Since that time my son has performed in more than 30 shows, including “It’s a Wonderful Life” where he and I were able to prepare and perform together. He has learned to juggle and performed with the BCT circus arts group in the towns arts and entertainment show at the Barrington Library this winter. He creates balloon animals for the neighborhood children. He shows up early for shows and stays late so that he can work with the “tech” producers who patiently allow him to help with the equipment and describe what they are doing, even though the preparations are hectic. He understands how important it is to listen and follow directions as the rest of the cast and the show depends on everyone knowing their role. He reads his scripts and memorizes long monologues. Most importantly when I bring him to BCT, even if he’s had an awful day at school, or too much homework once he gets to the middle school for rehearsal he’s got a smile across his face and by the time its over he’s the happy, enthusiastic kid that I love.

I want to thank the dedicated staff of Barrington Community Theater as well as the town for providing a child focused environment that allows my son to be himself, learn acting skills, but more importantly life skills while building life long relationships. The experienced theater professionals provide opportunities for children to be involved in all aspects of theater which inspires and excites them. Many of them fell in love with performing in the Barrington Community Theater. Please support the Barrington Community Theater, its a self funded program. Encourage your child to participate, come and see a show or find out how you can be involved in their scholarship program.

Eric Hecker

Barrington

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