QUINCY — It’s not every day you can find Disney, Pixar and Marvel movie characters all together on Pride Rock, but that was the scene Saturday morning at the Quincy Community Theater.
Student Principal Brendan Shea led the QCT Kids Company class through a retelling of Disney’s “Lion King” on mats in the theater’s black box student area.
“Our theme for this semester is Disney Adventures, so we’re expanding to all of their properties,” Shea said. “The thing is, we want to teach students to use their imaginations to interpret these stories, to make them their own, so they can start using their creativity and creating something new.”
Saturday was the first class of the current semester of Kids Company Lessons, teaching children in kindergarten, first and second grade the fundamentals of performance.
“We teach acting is the body, the voice and the imagination,” Shea said. “So we’re starting, at a very basic level, to teach kids that those are three things that we use to tell a story. We want them to learn to tap into those three things, and that’s starting to organize their creative play into sort of thing. that comes close to acting.”
The students wore no costumes, had no props and no sets, but they followed as Shea gave directions on the stage, the saw rushing wildebeest, lions and hyenas rushing through the African plains in their minds.
Shea said QCT has been able to keep classes going with very little disruption, even over the past two years during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’ve been doing it regularly since fall 2020,” he said. “When we were able to come back, we had to start with small groups of no more than five. As the compliance rules eased, we were able to increase the class sizes. We just want to offer something consistent for the children. We have had a break over the summer, but we’ve been able to deliver the course fairly regularly for some time now.”
The theater requires tuition for courses, but it offers scholarship opportunities for all of their courses. In addition to the Kids Company, Saturday mornings also offer their Little Theater People class for 3-5 year olds. QCT also offers classes for older students and even for adults.
“We want to make sure everything we do is accessible to everyone,” Shea said. “The only reason we would turn someone away is if we just hit the maximum number of students.”
Current classes will last another three weeks before planning begins for the next semester. Shea said the classes have many repetitive performers, as well as siblings who come to learn together.
“The dream is that these kids learn to love playing and will come back for our student productions and then the mainline productions,” Shea said. “We have so much talent in this community, and with these classes, we just want to fuel the creativity of these kids.”
For more information on shows and classes offered by Quincy Community Theater, including information on applying for scholarships, please visit 1qct.org.