Theater kids shine at the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre
BY WENDY ALTSCHULER For Sun-Times Media
Students from the 2013 Lights Up! camp production of Disney’s 101 Damatians Kids.
Located in downtown Arlington Heights, the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre (MPAC), which consists of a 350-seat theater, a ballroom, four classrooms and 13 music studios, has been entertaining and nurturing members of the community and beyond since 2000. The theater hosts more than 300 performances per season, and the School of the Performing Arts educates and inspires more than 2,500 students. The numbers don’t lie: the MPAC has a major impact on the local environs as well as the Chicagoland theatre community.
“By offering a wide variety of programs through both our school and our theatre, we really hope that everyone in Arlington Heights can find a way to enjoy the arts,” said marketing director, Hollis Sienkiewicz. “We also strive to make the arts accessible for everyone. To us, that means keeping ticket prices low, offering scholarships for our classes, partnering with other community organizations and creating outreach programs that bring that arts to individuals with special needs.”
The arts, Sienkiewicz said, teach children valuable life skills such as teamwork, confidence, empathy and communication, which are all vital lessons.
“The best part is, kids often don’t realize they’re learning these things – they’re just having a blast putting on a show,” Sienkiewicz said.
During the summer, kids are invited to put on a full production, which allows students to obtain a well-rounded theater experience. Kids have the opportunity to participate in all aspects of the show-auditions, casting, rehearsals, set and costume design and much more. Four different camps, divided by age groups, are available each summer: Little Lights Up! for ages 4-5, Lights Up! for grades 1-3, Curtains Up! for grades 4-8 and a High School Performance Experience.
“Our students learn how to interact on and off stage, with their cast mates; how to make wise and creative character decisions, to really bring their role to life; and how to perform for a live audience,” Sienkiewicz said.
Last year, the camps presented six full productions and four showcase performances, such as: Guys and Dolls Jr., Seussical Jr. and Disney’s 101 Dalmatians Kids.
“We strive to have a welcoming and encouraging environment in all of our camps and classes, and as a result, we often see new friendships blossom and creativity and imagination flourish,” Sienkiewicz said.
For more information on the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre or the School of the Performing Arts, visit www.metropolisarts.com.