By Lyndsie Kiebert-Carey
Lake Pend Oreille Repertory Theater Education Director Courtney Roberts wanted to maximize her reach, giving as many local kids as possible the chance to dabble in the art of live theater. With that in mind, LPO Rep kicked off 2023 with Winter One Acts — a six-week program offering equal parts rigor and flexibility for students ages 8-17.
“The program was this experiment that I came up with as a way to get the most kids at a low commitment for a short amount of time,” Roberts said, “and it’s been beyond what I ever could have imagined.”
The results of Roberts’ successful experiment will take the stage on Saturday, Feb. 18 at the Panida Theater with two performances at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m., each featuring three different fairytale-themed one-act plays.
Thanks to support from the Pend Oreille Arts Council and private donor Barrie Peters, students were able to participate in the Winter One Acts tuition-free.
“I really want affordable, accessible theater opportunities for kids of all ages,” Roberts said.
Beyond those opportunities reaching kids of all ages, Roberts also wanted to create a production experience that was inclusive of the local student who might have existing commitments, but who still wants to try their hand at theater. Classes were offered four days a week, but kids needed to pick only one day a week to attend. Those classes were run by both Roberts and fellow LPO Rep theater instructor Elizabeth Iha.
“I see a lot of kids that are athletes, artists, dancers who love theater but they don’t always have the opportunity [to participate] because some of our programs are a bigger commitment. … I see all the scheduling; kids just do so much,” Roberts said. “So I wanted to make this accessible for any student, whether they’re a snowboarder or whatever, to do the show.”
As a result, Roberts said there is a great mixture of experienced theater students and brand new thespians taking part in Winter One Acts — in all, almost 70 students.
“I think it’s so important for kids from all backgrounds and all activities to come and collaborate and be creative together,” she said. “That’s really what Winter One Acts has allowed.”
Tickets to the production are by donation, with organizers recommending a $10 amount per attendee. Those donations, which can be made with cash, card or check, will all go toward future LPO Repertory Theater education programming, including productions and workshops for local youth and adults.
“We’re trying to make it so that it’s a consistent, year-round program,” Roberts said. “We have a lot coming, which I’m really excited about.”
Winter One Acts • Saturday, Feb. 18; first show at 4 p.m., second show at 7 p.m.; doors open half an hour before each performance; suggested $10 donation at the door. Panida Theater, 300 N. First Ave., 208-263-9191, lporep.com/education.
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