|FORT MYERS, FL – Florida Repertory Theatre’s Education Department is pleased to announce its 2019-2020 season line-up. The Education Department season includes productions in its popular Theatre Conservatory Program, its second offering for the 2020 Junior Theatre Festival, and Theatre for Young Audiences Series, which tours across Southwest Florida to grades K through 12.
Overseen by Education Director Kody C Jones, Florida Rep’s educational programming now reaches upwards of 37,000 young people and families each year. The department’s five core programs are Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA), Camp Florida Rep’s winter, spring, and summer intensives, classes or youth and adults, in-school residency programming, and the Theatre Conservatory. Each year, new programs are paired with state educational standards to help bring children more interaction with high-quality theatre.
Florida Rep Education’s Conservatory Programs are designed for young artists who want to pursue a professional theatre career, offering them an introduction to the real-life theatre experience. With public performances over two weeks, the program receives the same creative support as Florida Rep’s main stage performances with professionally designed sets, sound, lighting and, costume design, and direction. Florida Rep’s production staff builds and oversees all creative departments to deliver a professional experience for students.
“Each season we set out to find titles that will not only challenge and excite our students but also our audiences as well,” said Education Director Kody C Jones. “This year we’ve created an eclectic and diverse mix of vital themes and entertaining subject matter that anyone can enjoy. The Conservatory season features the recent Broadway smash hit ‘Matilda’ in the fall, the comedic horror/satire ‘Bat Boy’ in the ArtStage Studio Theatre in the spring, and concludes with a world premiere production of ‘Parkland’ by Eric Coble in the summer of 2020.”
The world premiere of “Parkland” by Eric Coble is a first for the Conservatory Program. Coble’s new works for Florida Rep, like this season’s adaptation of the best-selling novel “Refugee,” have been seen on stages across the region as part of the Theatre for Young Audiences Touring Series, but never before has the theatre commissioned a play for its teen-centered Conservatory. “Only with the constant education of the past and active push for change can we truly expect the Never Again movement to come true,” said Jones. “The atrocities we saw in Parkland rebounded in a movement for change that was faster and stronger than any we’d ever seen before, and it was led by our nation’s youth. They are our future, and enabling them to speak and supporting the voices is what this project is all about.”
For the second year, Florida Rep Education will send students to perform at the Junior Theatre Festival in Atlanta, Georgia. The Junior Theater Festival is the world’s largest celebration of young people performing musical theatre and brings together student musical theater troupes from all over the world for a weekend of performances, education, and development. Each troupe performs 15 minutes from a Broadway Junior show for adjudication by a panel of musical theater experts. The weekend also features events such as professional development for teachers, workshops for students and parents, and a New Works Showcase featuring soon to be released musical adaptations, and concludes with a grand finale concert headlined by Broadway’s best.
“In January 2019 Florida Rep Education attended the Junior Theatre Festival for the first time in history with 30 students ages 8-18 from the Southwest Florida area,” said Associate Education Director Christina DeCarlo. “The students performed a 15 minute cut of Disney’s ‘Mary Poppins, Jr.’ and were awarded the Freddie G. Excellence in Dance trophy. The students learned so much from this experience, and we are thrilled to represent Southwest Florida again at the 2020 festival in January.”
New for the 2019-2020 season, Florida Rep Education will produce a staged reading of Sara DeLappe’s new play, “The Wolves” for International Women’s Month. A finalist for the 2017 Pulitzer Prize in Drama and directed by Florida Rep Ensemble Member Rachel Burttram, this play follows girls indoor soccer team as they navigate big questions and wage tiny battles with all the vim and vigor of a pack of adolescent warriors.
As part of Florida Rep’s mission to make professional live theatre accessible to audiences of all ages, one of the pioneer programs Florida Rep Education offers is its Touring Theatre for Young Audiences Series (TYA). Touring to schools and community groups in throughout Lee and Collier Counties, and beyond, the TYA series takes the arts directly into the schools and invites students into the theatre to view professional productions with professional actors paired with study guides and tailored to meet Sunshine State Standards of Learning.
“There’s nothing more exciting than bringing a fully realized production into a school’s cafeteria or gym,” said Outreach Manager Anna McCullers, “and turning that space into a theatre where some students even see their first play. It is so rewarding to see students transformed by the power of theatre.”
Bookings are available NOW for the TYA series, and teachers and educators are encouraged to book early, as dates are limited. To reserve a production for your school, contact Education Outreach Manager Anna McCullers at (239) 332-4665 ext. 1552.
“We couldn’t be more excited for next season’s lineup of professional TYA tours that will be visiting schools all over SW Florida,” Jones continued. “This year’s titles will take students on a wild ride through magical realms of Narnia, kingdoms and shipwrecks of Shakespeare’s ‘Twelfth Night,’ and the everyday hardships at the Elementary School of ‘Junie B. Jones.’”
For more information about all of Florida Rep’s education programming, tickets and showtimes for Conservatory productions, visit www.FloridaRepEducation.org or call (239) 332-4665 ext. 1553.
Florida Rep Education operates in the Historic Arcade Theatre as part of Florida Repertory Theatre on Bay St. between Jackson & Hendry with limited free parking in the Fort Myers River District. Follow Florida Rep Education on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat.
The 2019-2020 Conservatory Season
Roald Dahl’s MATILDA THE MUSICAL
Book by Dennis Kelly. Music & Lyrics by Tim Minchin
Directed by Chistina DeCarlo
October 10–13 and 18-19, 2019
Auditions: August 13 and 14, 2019
Roald Dahl’s classic is the story of an extraordinary girl who, armed with a vivid imagination and a sharp mind, dares to take a stand and change her destiny. Packed with high-energy dance numbers, catchy songs and an unforgettable star turn for a young actress, “Matilda” is a joyous girl-power romp perfect for children and adults alike!
BAT BOY: THE MUSICAL
Story and book by Keythe Farley and Brian Flemming
Music and lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe.
Directed by Kody C Jones
April 8–11 and 15–19, 2019
Auditions: December 10, 2019
Based on a story in “The Weekly World News,” this cult-classic is musical comedy and horror show all in one. “Batboy” is the story of a half-boy/half-bat creature discovered in a cave near Hope Falls, West Virginia. He finds a new family with the local veterinarian and falls in love with histeenaged daughter, Shelley. When a revealed secret shatters their newfound happiness, the whole town discovers Batboy’s shocking and unholy past.
A World Premiere by Eric Coble
with contributions from Florida Rep Education Students
Conceived and Directed by Kody C Jones
The “Parkland Project” is comprised of two separate programs that hinge together in this student-driven creation. It’s not only a world premiere theatrical production, but also a social-justice project for participating students, schools, and the local community. The students of Southwest Florida will research, interview, and explore the past atrocities of Parkland to investigate, inspire, and unite to start a conversation about the future. “Parkland” is meant to provoke insightful thought and initiate change. Commissioned by Florida Rep, “Parkland” comes from Broadway playwright and author of last season’s “Refugee,” Eric Coble.
2020 Junior Theatre Festival Selection
FIDDLER ON THE ROOF JR.
Music by Jerry Bock. Lyrics by Sheldon Harnick
Book by Joseph Stein
Directed by Christina DeCarlo
Auditions: August 13 and 14, 3:00 – 6:00 PM
Junior Theatre Festival 2020 is Scheduled for January 17-19
Set in the little village of Anatevka, “Fiddler on the Roof” follows Tevye, a poor dairyman, and his five daughters. With the help of a colorful and tight-knit Jewish community, Tevye tries to marry off his daughters and instill in them a sense of tradition in the face of growing anti-Semitism in Czarist Russia.
2019-2020 Theatre for Young Audiences Touring Season
JUNIE B. JONES THE MUSICAL
Book and Lyrics by Marcy Heisler
Music by Zina Goldrich
Adapted from the books by Barbara Parker
Recommended for grades PK-4
Directed by Kody C Jones
The first day of first grade has never been more exciting for Junie B., and a lot of things have changed for her. Junie B.’s friend, Lucille, doesn’t want to be her best pal anymore and on the bus, Junie B. makes friends with Herb, the new kid at school. Join Junie B. as she navigates the exciting world elementary school!
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
Based on the novel by C.S. Lewis
Adapted by Don Quinn
Recommended for grades 5-8
Directed by Jason Parrish
From the mind of C.S. Lewis comes a thrilling adaptation of a classic story. An old house in rural England becomes the home base for four children who stumble into an incredible adventure through an old wardrobe. The wardrobe is a hidden passage to an incredible land called Narnia, where they make friends with the frightened forest people who have all but given up hope for the return of summer and the good King Aslan, their one true ruler.
William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night
Adapted & Directed by Bill Kincaid
Recommended for grades 9-12
“Twelfth Night” is one of Shakespeare’s most beloved comedies about an unusual love triangle and the fictional land of Illyria. The madcap adventure demonstrates just how far we are willing to go to find true love and to discover how to love one’s self.