MELBOURNE, Fla. – It’s an experience combining education and theater.
Thousands of kids pack the King Center for the Performing Arts in Brevard County each year for special performances, getting students out of the classroom and exposing them to the fine arts related to lessons learned at school.
“It’s so exciting to see all these classes come. This is the first time being able to take my class to this kind of show,” said Lockmar Elementary first grade teacher Ivy Winnett.
Winnett was on a field trip with her class to see “The Magic School Bus: Lost in the Solar System” in April. It’s a musical based on the book series promoting science, technology, engineering and math.
“We’ve been able to do a little background on the solar system and put it in my curriculum,” Winnett said.
The show is part of the Titan Youth Theatre program in partnership with Eastern Florida State College. For more than 25 years, the program has offered educational and cultural experiences through theatrical and musical performances shown during the school day at the King Center for the Performing Arts in Melbourne.
“We’re cultivating appreciation for the arts. The program is connecting and aligning what’s being studied in the classroom as well, so each of the shows selected is selected for K-through-12 youth,” said program director Karen Wilson. “The whole goal is to create access through affordable student-friendly ticket pricing.”
Tickets are under 10 bucks for most shows in the Titan Youth Theatre program.
“For some of those kids, if it weren’t for programs like this, they would probably never have that type of experience,” Wilson said. “I just love when the kids come in and they’re just looking up at the building and they’re just so excited looking around at everything.”
The Titan Youth Theatre program is also open to the public.
Frank Engi was seated in the theater with his granddaughter. This was the first time he brought her to see a show.
“It’s real important to have kids at this age to get into the theater and get exposed to this,” Engi said.
More than 10,000 students and young adults are served each year through the Titan Youth Theatre program.
As the school year comes to a close, Wilson is looking forward to next season with a new schedule of engaging educational programming through performances like The Magic School Bus.
“Sometimes I sit at my desk and try to think of different programs that could create memories and leave an impact like no other and that’s the driving force behind what I do. Then you get the love from the teachers and the students when they’re here,” Wilson said.
Wilson said she’s still working to finalize next season’s shows, but wanted to bring awareness to the program so educators and families can make plans to attend a future show. When the new schedule is released, you can view it HERE and purchase tickets.
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