1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30

All the World Is a Stage

February, 2008
Leave a comment 1477 views

  Can you turn yourself into an actor or actress within one week and then play in a show before a big audience?IMG_6126

  You may be hesitant to say “yes,” but a group of students from international schools in Beijing have proven that they can.

  On January 5, the group of 17 performed Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” in front of their parents and teachers at the British School of Beijing’s Sanlitun campus. The show was the result of what the students had achieved after one week in the Children’s Winter Theater Camp organized by the Beijing Playhouse, an organization that is dedicated to offering the best English-speaking play to English-speaking audiences in Beijing.

  After learning about acting, the most important thing is “to get onto a stage and do it in front of friends and family,” said Beijing Playhouse Executive Director Chris Verrill.

   The camp ran from December 31, 2007 until January 5, 2008. During the time, the students were taught how to sing, dance and act, and set up the stage for the play.

  “It is really fun… And I have learnt how to play dramatic roles and made some friends,” said Dana Novales, a 10-year-old girl who now studies at home. She was playing “Scrooge 2” in the show, which deeply impressed the audience on the day, especially her mother Ruth Novales.IMG_6176

  “It did help (the children) develop their talent and self-confidence,” said Novales with a big smile on her face.

  For two Swedish sisters Fridelina Almstrom and Evangelina Almstrom, who are studying at the Swedish School Beijing, attending the camp also helped them improve their English skills. “When we were acting, I learnt quite a lot (of) English words,” said the elder Evangelina, 11.

  The camp was the second that the Beijing Playhouse organized for kids. The first was in October, 2007. Both were great success.

  “One hundred per cent parent satisfaction…All the students (who came in October) wanted to come back,” said Chris, “The teachers (in the camp) are the crew and performers from Beijing Playhouse. We have a lot of adults that make sure things are moving smoothly.”

  Coming from San Francisco, Chris has been a producer, director and actor in over 40 stage, radio, television and film productions.

  He came to Beijing and worked for China Radio International in 2005, when he found that Beijing did not have an English-speaking theater, while other international cities all do. Then in December 2006, he started the Beijing Playhouse. “We all do this because we love it,” said Chris with pride. “Beijing Playhouse has the largest supply of English-speaking talents… What Beijing Playhouse is specialized in are Broadway main stage productions.”IMG_6252

  Right now Beijing Playhouse has got ten or so sponsors, including the British School of Beijing, which, in exchange for the theater giving it publicity to an English-speaking audience, donated everything needed by the camp and the final show. In addition, the Beijing Playhouse has received support from most of the English-language media in Beijing. But above all, the main stage productions survive basically entirely on tickets, said Chris.

  “As wonderful as our sponsors are, as wonderful as the kids are, as wonderful as the actors are, the crew… the most important part of the equation is the audience. They are the ones that keep Beijing Playhouse growing strong.”

  Chris believes that as China continues to grow, there will be an increasing need for performing arts.

  “Our goal is to appeal not only to a foreign audience, but also local Chinese audience. But our shows will be always in English - that’s our expertise,” he said, adding that Beijing Playhouse will remain in Beijing mainly.

  Although the major target audience is adults and major productions will be Broadway shows, Beijing Playhouse will also do some similar kids’ camps along the way.

  There will also be a Holiday Theater Camp in May (check the Bulletin Board). Before that, Beijing Playhouse will present “Lover Letters” by A.R. Gurney in February during Valentine’s Day and Neil Simon’s “The Odd Couple” in late April.


By Qin Chuan

Share and Enjoy:
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google Bookmarks
  • E-mail this story to a friend!
  • LinkedIn
  • Live
  • MSN Reporter
  • MySpace
  • RSS
  • Twitter
  • Yahoo! Bookmarks
  • Yahoo! Buzz

admin Feature

Related Articles

  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.