We’re starting a new feature where Pickle Planet Moncton touches base with some of the great organizations operating in our community. Today we highlight the Capitol Theatre with the help of Melannie Eldridge, Manager of Partnerships and Special Projects.
As a lifelong lover of the arts, a mother, and a Pickle Planet fan, I am bursting with enthusiasm over sharing the Capitol Theatre with this community. My only question was what to focus on. There are wonderful events on our stages and incomparable programming at the Capitol Theatre Academy at all times. So where to start?
After much thought, I decided what I’d most like to share are stories about the people here, what they do, why they love the Capitol, and are important to us. Every day, this place connects countless incredible people doing countless amazing things.
This February, the Capitol Theatre presents “Oliver!”, a massive professional production with close to 60 cast members. Over 20 of these actors are young locals, most of them students at the Capitol Theatre Academy. Productions of this scale are brand new here, beginning just last year with a thrilling sold-out run of “The Sound of Music.”
I was 33 when I had my first opportunity to appear in a major professional theatre production. I had already loved theatre and worked in the community for decades. The youngest cast member in “Oliver!” is 7. (She is also thoroughly adorable.) Working with these exceptional young actors has me marveling at how performing arts can change the entire world of a child in such great and incredible ways. The adventures they experience in a place like the Capitol are lovely and unique. There are countless little treasures to be discovered, all of them memorable.
Treasures and adventures are invaluable nutrients for growing minds. They gain curiosity and imagination and the capacity to believe all things are possible. Apply a young imagination to a newly discovered spot in the labyrinth of an old theatre, racks of elaborate costumes, bright lights and orchestras and entire worlds constructed in sets. That world is as close to a fairy tale as you can get.
What amazes me is that amidst all the fun and whimsy, these youth are also focused, productive, and professional. As performers, the lessons they’ve learned from the Capitol Academy in movement, voice, and creative expression are already highly visible. What deeply impresses me is seeing these young individuals also effectively using the social tools they’ve acquired through theatre education. They are articulate. They are confident. They have a sense of who they are and are comfortable with themselves in a way that I am not sure I achieve as an adult. (I’d say it depends on the day.) Witnessing the laughter, tears, and thunderous applause provoked by their performances teaches them the astounding power they have to affect others. They care about that and feel responsible for it, so they focus, work hard and put their hearts in fully. Those are the people I want leading my community – vibrant, self-assured, filled with ideas and energy and empathy. Put them in charge.
When I was a young aspiring actor, the idea of even just standing on the Capitol stage would have floored me. I had performed in front of audiences for almost thirty years before taking that spot. Still, I was overcome with as much awe, excitement, and wonder as I would have felt as a child. It felt amazing. It also felt terrifying. The stunning hall in front of me was not my school or community centre. It was not small or simple or normal in any way. To me, this place was the big time. I might as well have been on Broadway or in London. I was flooded with a tidal wave of nerves, with feelings of self-consciousness over the thought of standing in that same place once the 782 red velvet seats were filled with spectators. Meanwhile, around me the young members of our cast were laughing, stetching and, breathing as they’d been trained to do, preparing for the work ahead and feeling nothing but joy over being there. They just embraced it. Simple.
This is a great beauty of introducing performing arts to children. It does not matter whether your child wants to sing, dance, act, tell jokes, play music, or juggle chainsaws. (Maybe don’t let your child juggle chainsaws.) It’s about seeing them being bold and confident, about giving them a place to put themselves in front of the world and feel good about it. It’s about making that normal for them from a young age so they trust and believe in themselves. Whether they do what they do flawlessly and feel the satisfaction of that accomplishment, or they trip up, feel the support and encouragement of others, and learn how to continue moving forward. Either journey is a win.
These young artists will soon perform with experienced professional artists in front of thousands of audience members. They will wait in an anxious moment of darkness, watching the historic Capitol curtain, brimming with signatures from past artists who shared the same stage. When that curtain goes up, I’ll wager those kids will be prepared, composed, and probably in far better shape than I. They will go out in those bright lights and they will nail it, ten times. Then they will move on and do something even greater, and then greater than that. Regardless of where life takes them, this production, these people and this beautiful theatre will be remembered by them fondly as a place where magic happens. That is a very special thing.
The Capitol Theatre presents “Oliver!” from February 25th to March 5th. This event will be a tremendous gathering of community members and an impressive showcase of regional artistic talent. Come join in the experience and show your kids a major production led by their peers. For tickets and information, contact the Capitol Theatre box office at 506-856- 4379 or visit http://capitol.nb.ca. You can also enter our contest to win a pair of tickets; check the link at the end of this post!
The Capitol Theatre Academy is still accepting registration for their winter sessions. Instruction focuses on creative expression, self-identity and stage skills. All lessons are adapted to each age level from 6 years to adult. Instruction offered in English and French with all programming delivered by professional artists and educators. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://capitol.nb.ca/en/winter-season.
Interested in seeing a show both you and your kids will love? Machine de Cirque features five crazy characters masterfully handling teeterboards, juggling clubs, drums, and even bath towels. These unique and talented performers are often funny, sometimes touching, and always guaranteed to dazzle audiences of all ages. Watch the teaser at http://capitol.nb.ca/en/item/404-machine- de-cirque. For tickets and information, contact the Capitol Theatre box office at 506-856- 4379 or visit http://capitol.nb.ca. The show takes place February 7 at 7:30pm. Children’s tickets are available for $15.
The Capitol Theatre is one of Moncton’s greatest heritage buildings and has been promoting local, national, and international talent in our region for almost a century. Don’t miss any updates on events; follow The Capitol on Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram today. And watch for most guest posts here on Pickle Planet!