Drama Club Program Teaches Confidence and Creativity

For one weekend in January, the George Fischer Middle School auditorium was transformed into a Broadway-like stage. The actors and crew of Matilda the Musical Jr. created a show that drew standing ovations from crowds of admirers, and they had a great time doing it.

“I love acting,” said Ella Bancroft, who is president of the Drama Club. “But I think the most fun was getting to hang out with your friends every day.”

“It was also fun to make new friends,” said Analyse Pio, an eighth grader who is Drama Club secretary. The two girls each played Mrs. Wormwood in the play, which featured two different casts.

Seventh grader Aiden Forcheney, who played an “escapologist” in the show, said the play taught him that acting is very creative. cast photo 

“I like learning new skills,” Aiden said. “We had to learn British accents. That was fun.”

Drama Club Co-Advisors Christine Ditota and Maureen Pio may have had the most fun of all. This was the second year that they teamed up to produce the middle school show.

“This program is working out so well,” said Ditota, who is a youth services librarian at the Kent Public Library. “I believe theater is extremely important. Theater inspires the children to create, imagine, play and experience other worlds and situations. Watching their confidence and willingness to jump in and get it done is something we should be proud of. “

With 53 middle school students and eight high schoolers involved, the cast and crew of the play was bigger than last year. The audience was bigger, too. Luckily, there were many helping hands.

“Many parent volunteers are involved,” Maureen Pio said. “There is a core group of six parent volunteers who do a tremendous amount of work. Then there are parent volunteers that sign up to help at the event. Literally, it takes a village to pull it all off.”

The volunteers’ willingness to give their time was paramount to the show’s success.

“A highlight for me as a youth theater director is getting to watch their journey and being a part of the process,” Ditota said. “I get to be present from the moment they open the book, till the moment they close it and confidently become ready…my guidance no longer needed. They stand on stage, the lights go up, and I am no longer the director telling them how. I am just a spectator in awe of their achievements. That’s the highlight for me!"