The Collingswood Youth Theatre, founded by Mrs. Barbara Lefkoe and sponsored by the Borough of Collingswood, began in the spring of 1995. The first show, “Unhappily Ever After”, had a cast of 40 students from third through sixth grades who performed during the last weekend in April in the Collingswood Middle School auditorium.
In the summer of 1995, the Collingswood Board of Education added the summer theatre workshop to its list of enrichment programs. Twenty-two students from grades 3 through 8 were involved in that first summer show, performed during the last week of July.
The purpose of the Youth Theatre is to provide experiential learning to elementary and middle school-aged children interested in the performing arts. Each child participates in the entire process of putting on a theatrical production including auditions, approximately 15 rehearsals to learn the techniques of acting, dress and technical rehearsals, and of course, the performances!
Over the past 20 years, the Youth Theatre has performed many shows including The Wizard of Oz, Enchanted , Annie, Jr., Robin Hood (with original music by Collingswood resident Tim Ward), The Adventures of Pinocchio (written and composed by Collingswood resident Jack Jeckot), and Beauty and the Beast.
The cast size has grown to approximately 65 young performers per show. Collingswood residents may register during the first two weeks of the enrollment period which is at the beginning of November for the spring show and the beginning of May for the summer show, at which time any slots left are available to residents of other communities. There is a tuition fee to cover expenses for the workshop. All registered children receive a part in the show.
Each production involves many dedicated and talented adult and youth volunteers. With committees dedicated to sets, props, costumes, make-up, ticket sales, program production, concessions, and the cast party, every show becomes something special. There is a need for talents of many kinds, and frequently many members of the family become involved in the theater process.
Adults as well as children of all ages are invited to see the young performers of the Youth and Summer Theatres create theater magic. So save our dates, the last weekend in April and the Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings of the last full week in July, to support the efforts of our wonderful cast members and see a great show.