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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

What Happens When You Say Yes

Creative Costuming--and actors of all ages-- at work!

Sometimes it can be a challenge to work with teens. Some libraries have a hard time attracting them to their library, their programs, their teen advisory boards. Once they are there, it can be tricky to figure out the best way to harness their energy and ideas so you can create something really great together. It can be terrifying to run with one of their ideas--but it can also be amazing.

In a non-library example of this, teens and pre-teens from the Menomonie Area Homeschool Group were so excited about Shakespeare, they wanted to produce a play of their own. They begged a receptive adult (who did theater in high school) to help them produce Much Ado About Nothing.

Bad Guys

After rehearsing all summer, the play was produced for sold-out-crowds earlier this month. Cast members ranged in age from 6 years old to adult, and most of the major roles were played by teens. The costumes (in hilarious steampunk style) were created by a 16-year-old.

Sneaking up on a lovesick Benedick

Bare bones in terms of experience and facility, the production they pulled off was fabulous! The kids were excited to be there, very focused, very willing to prepare. Most of all, they were working hard because they were working on an idea they came up with themselves, with a director who was exactly the right combination of confident and humble.

How do you elicit this sort of involvement at the library?