Cindy Says: Just Keep Swimmin’

Cindy Says: Just Keep Swimmin’

This snowy winter day I find myself a little warmer recalling the joy from our 2021 Junior Theater Festivals Online Extravaganza. No, not in Atlanta or Sacramento with thousands of enthusiastic students and teachers, but sourced from everyone's personal and well-used stage space/ workspace - their computer. Those of us who designed the event followed the advice we give everyone-take a positive risk.

As we "unpacked" our feedback and conversations and evaluated, we came to some clear outcomes. ALL ages were craving to see, hear, adjudicate, be inspired, laugh, cry with kids and musical theatre. Students and their teachers were beyond grateful of the whole experience, altered and distant as it had to be. The highly creative performances, student-generated conversations on diversity and inclusion,  the unique situations groups worked through to be a part of JTFOE all demonstrated how we cherish the arts even more post 2020.

After the last confetti canon went off, all who took part felt like we were given an extra dose of vitamin supplements. How do we seamlessly continue moving forward in a positive way with the path still uncertain?

Being with all of you, even virtually, generated some honest advice:

• Take your newly discovered tech skills and marry the best with your best practices when we return "in person". They may be for organization, communication, student sharing or unique streaming opportunities. Platforms are creating and improving by the week.

• Take advantage of the multitude of Professional Development Workshops that will inspire and connect you. There are more available online than ever before especially geared toward current teaching practices.

• Watch shows and performances- old, new, and YouTube. Every time you take a seat on your couch to participate in a theater experience you are sustaining yourself as a lifelong learner, yes even virtually. Watch from a learner's perspective and leave with a stockpile of ideas to use in a million ways.

• No matter what your role is doing theatre with children, being a leader for your students, their parents, and your colleagues is integral, especially during these times. It does take endless zoom rehearsals, texts, extra planning, and energy during a pandemic, but its reach is limitless.

• No one deserves an extra hug more than all of you. I admit, it has been difficult to find the energy to execute what our students need as well as save programs. The final result will be the sweetest…. Hang tight, friends! CR

Cindy Says

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