Civic launches ‘special’ youth program


Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre is “special” in lots of ways besides the quality of the shows we produce.

Civic is the largest community theatre in Indiana, and one of the ten largest in America. Our theatre is concluding its 98th year of continuous operation. And for more than 40 years, we have offered young people (beginning in the important pre-school years) access to a year-round, theatre-based performing arts program. In fact, Jr. Civic’s educational workshops and outreach programs reach more than 15,000 youngsters annually.

All of these factors combine to make Civic Theatre a one-of-a-kind treasure in the state of Indiana.

The new program I am happy to tell you about connects Civic Theatre with the word “special” in even more meaningful ways. Jr. Civic’s premier touring troupe, named ACT ONE, consists of 30 young performers, ages seven to 14, who live in communities throughout Central Indiana. ACT ONE was established to provide youth with the opportunity to strive for artistic excellence while developing poise, self-confidence, creative resourcefulness and important communication skills.

This spring, every ACT ONE performer will pair with a Special Olympics athlete of a similar age to rehearse and eventually perform a musical theatre program during the Indiana State Special Olympic Games in Terre Haute on June 8.

And then in September, a reunion performance will take place during the International Arts Festival in Carmel. In addition, Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre will host the Special Olympics of Hamilton County Award Ceremony at our very own state-of-the-art Tarkington Theatre.

The value of community service is a lesson taught to the members of ACT ONE throughout the year. But this collaboration with the Special Olympics takes the concept of community service to a whole new level. It not only will provide a unique performing arts opportunity for Special Olympics athletes, enhancing their essential life skills, but it also will promote compassion and understanding among ACT ONE participants.

It’s a WIN-WIN program for everyone! And what could be more “special” than that?

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