Marysville’s Marshall Elementary School's after-school drama program capped off their classes with a performance for the students'  parents on March 29.

The local Red Curtain Foundation for the Arts sponsored the program for a second year, bringing in a drama teacher to help fourth- and fifth-graders at the school.

“It came about last year because the PTA was interested in doing an after-school drama club,” said Sherry Penoyer, youth theater director for the foundation.

“I’ve taught since the 1980s and they got me to come out of teaching retirement,” she said.

The program allows kids to play some theater games that teach them speaking skills and confidence. In addition they rehearse and perform some small scenes.

This year the students performed some scenes from the fantasy “The Locket” which the foundation is putting on this summer.

“We decided to take some cuttings from the show we’re putting on anyway,” said Penoyer.

Kids performed as the meadowlarks, a frog queen and “frogettes” as part of the whimsical story.

Students said they enjoyed the program.

“I like the friends I made here and how we act like a family,” said student Talia Gibbs.

“I think it was really fun,” said student Acacia Legaspi, who returned to the program this year after participating last year. “Every year you get to put on a presentation and audition for the parts."

The program helps kids gain confidence.

“I think this is really nice because it helps you get out of your comfort zone,” said Gibbs.

“One parent told me that his son has come out of his shell since taking classes at Red Curtain and getting involved in this program,” said Penoyer, who added she enjoys seeing students gain more and more confidence as the weeks go by.

“They’re never too sure the first couple of weeks,” she said. 

Games like “Silly Walks” help students learn how to be comfortable with acting.

“They’re willing to go outside of their comfort zone and just look goofy,” said Penoyer.

“My favorite game was Silly Walks, because you can walk around and make people do weird stuff,” said Legaspi.

She also said she learned how to be still in a game where Penoyer and others tried to make the students laugh.

“They would walk around and try to make you laugh and if you lasted until the end you won the game,” said Legaspi.

The program lasts eight weeks and Penoyer said it teaches students a variety of skills.

“The arts are something that informs more than just the arts,” she said.

“It helps them with public speaking, knowing more about how their body reacts to things around, and developing teamwork is a big part,” said Beckye Randall, operations director with the foundation.

The foundation plans to bring the program to Sunnyside Elementary this year as well.

They also plan to add a teen program this summer.

“So there are opportunities for teens and kids to get involved and get a little more in-depth,” said Randall.

More information about the foundation is available at their website at redcurtainfoundation.org.

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