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February 13, 2014

Orpheus Theatre offering children's winter workshop

Bera Dunau Staff Writer
Cooperstown Crier

---- — This winter break, a new group of children will get to experience the programming that the Orpheus Theatre has to offer.

From Feb. 17 to Feb. 21, the Oneonta company will be offering a workshop for children in grades first through sixth. The Winter Break Theatre Workshop is held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Throughout the five-day workshop, participants will play theater games and learn theater crafts and skills. The participants also develop their own characters and write a play together.

“Throughout the week they develop both their characters and the play,” said Sarah Lynn Serafin, executive director of the Orpheus Theatre. “It really encompasses all that goes into putting on a play. All while having fun.”

Serafin said that the enthusiasm of the participants helps with the crafting of the play’s story.

“Children are incredible individuals, their imaginations are vast,” said Serafin. “The ideas come streaming out of them.”

The workshop culminates with a performance of the play that the participants have created over the course of the workshop. This performance will be held at 5:30 p.m. at the Foothills Performing Arts Center. The performance will be free and open to the public.

Serafin said that the workshop isn’t just for extroverts.

“Really anybody who has shown something that leads a parent to believe that they might be perfect on the stage (should attend),” said Serafin.

She also said that a number of students enter the theater’s workshops clutching their parents arms.

“By the end of the week they’re up on stage performing,” said Serafin.

She said that the workshop provides participants the opportunity to make new friends, particularly those outside of their school districts. She also said that a number of participants in Orpheus’ children’s programs have continued on with their participation in theater, appearing in Orpheus’ main stage productions and beyond.

“We have people who started in our workshops who are on national tours,” said Serafin. “We’ve grown a lot of talent here.”

The Winter Break Theatre Workshop costs $185, plus $100 for each additional family member. Financial aid is not available for the Winter Break Theatre Workshop, but is for other programs. Food is not provided, and participants are asked to bring a bag lunch.

Serafin said that the number of participants in the winter workshop has varied from eight to twenty. She said that they don’t cap maximum registration though, instead choosing to hire staff based off registration.

“We don’t want to prevent anybody from having this experience,” said Serafin.

Those children who complete an Orpheus Theatre workshop can also join Orpheus’ KaTs Theatre Troupe. This troupe, for children and teenagers, meets once a week throughout the school year, and is free to participate in. The troupe will be putting on the play “Alice in a Winter Wonderland” at the Foothills Performing Arts Center on Feb. 22 at 2 p.m. Tickets will be $5.

Those interested in learning more about the Winter Break Theatre Workshop, or who wish to register their child, can call 432-9392.

Children’s programs aren’t the only upcoming developments for the Orpheus Theatre. This Valentines Day, the theater will be hosting the “wedding” of Theresa Maria Scalafini and Rory Flynn at the Otesaga Resort Hotel in Cooperstown.

The event, which costs $100 for couples and $56 for individuals, is a theatrical, interactive wedding, where participants are given characters to play before the start of the event.

“It’s like a murder mystery (party) except nobody dies,” said Serafin.

The event features an Italian style buffet dinner and a cash bar.

Other upcoming events include the Orpheus Theatre’s performances of the musical comedy “Nunsense” at the Otesaga on March 7 and 8, auditions for this year’s main stage production of Shrek on Feb. 28, and the Mardi Gras Gala & Silent Auction on March 1.

“It’s not our biggest (event) but it’s definitely our most fun,” said Serafin.