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Giving Thanks

November 23, 2017

Give logoHappy Thanksgiving!

At this time of year and always, NBYT is thankful for so many people and organizations who have helped to make our theater successful. Our staff, board members, and parent volunteers are tireless. Our children and teens onstage and backstage are the best on any stage! We’re grateful for supportive school districts and schools— especially Holmes Elementary School in New Britain where we’ve performed many of our shows. We’re grateful for organizations like Hartford Performs which brings NBYT and other arts programs into schools. We’re grateful for other supportive and collaborating arts organizations—like the New Britain Museum of American Art where we performed this past summer. We’re very grateful for Connecticut Magazine—which selected NBYT as Connecticut’s Best Children’s Theater in its September 2017 “Best of Connecticut” issue. Of course we’re grateful for our donors. And we’re grateful for everyone who has been a part of making NBYT what it is over the past eight years.

Since 2010, NBYT has served over 6,000 children and teens in school programming in and around New Britain, homeschool programming, drama classes, and performances by and for children and teens. NBYT is a professionally-run community and educational theater which produces a season of performances by and for children and young adults, provides educational programming to schools in and around New Britain, and offers drama classes and individual coaching and lessons. Programs include “Kids on Stage!” and “Little Kids on Stage!” productions, the NBYT Teen Company, Performance Skills classes, in-school and after-school arts-integrated and arts-enrichment programming, community outreach programs, and more. NBYT is dedicated to enriching the lives of children and young adults by encouraging creative thinking and collaborative teamwork, fostering self-confidence and self-esteem, and developing social and academic skills through involvement in high-quality, low-cost programs in the performing arts.

NBYT participants have come from nearly sixty different towns in Greater New Britain, Greater Hartford, the Farmington Valley, and throughout Connecticut. Over 24,000 people have attended hundreds of performances and share day presentations. As reasons for returning to NBYT, parents cite the quality staff and programs, the low cost of participation, and the gains in confidence that their children achieve.

But providing low-cost theater programs to children and teens isn’t free. Participation fees and tickets costs pay for only part of the set, costume, and prop expenses of each production. NBYT also pays salaries and stipends; office, program, and storage space rent; royalties and script costs; class and craft supplies; insurance; marketing costs; and more. It’s important to us at NBYT to continue to provide children and families with programming at the lowest cost possible. To do this, NBYT relies on donations from a generous community.

A donation of any amount can help. Just $10 will help to pay for a child’s script. A donation of $25 will help to pay for a child’s costume in a production. A gift of $50 will pay for design supplies for a class to make props and costumes. And $100 or more could help to pay for royalty fees, scripts, set pieces, or props for a production. And because NBYT is nonprofit, all gifts are fully tax-deductible.

There are many other ways to support NBYT too. We know well that our families and patrons already support us with participation fees, ticket purchases, program announcements, and more.

  • Attend our production of Annie Jr on December 8, 9 or 10. It’s “the worlds favorite family musical!”
  • Sign up for a class or homeschool program that begins in January. (New class offerings are our on website already; homeschool programs will be posted soon—our homeschool performance group will be creating and performing a vaudeville show in the spring!)
  • Sign up or tell a friend about NBYT’s new all-inclusive programming.
  • Plan to audition in January for a spring production—The Brothers Grim: The Gnome (ages 6-12) or Peter and the Starcatcher (ages 12-18). (Audition dates and details will be announed soon.)
  • Come to Something Rotten—either the Broadway Connection workshop at NBYT or the Broadway touring production at the Bushnell (or both!) in February!
  • Order a hoodie, pullover, or jacket for the holidays.
  • Shop through Amazon Smile and choose NBYT to receive a percentage of sales proceeds, or donate a car or other vehicle to NBYT.
  • Tell a friend or family member why NBYT is important to you and your children and that this organization is deserving of their support as well.

To make a tax-deductible donation online, you may use PayPal (to nbyt2010@gmail.com) or any major credit card.

PayPal donation

Donations may also be mailed to: NBYT, P.O. Box 306, New Britain, CT 06050. NBYT also gladly accepts donations through workplace giving campaigns. Please ask employers about matching grant possibilities as well.

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Join NBYT for SOMETHING ROTTEN!

November 13, 2017

Something Rotten logoOn SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 4, NBYT will host a group trip to see SOMETHING ROTTEN at the Bushnell in Hartford at 1:00 PM.

SOMETHING ROTTEN was called “Broadway’s funniest musical comedy in at least 400 years!” (Time Out New York). Set in the ‘90s—the 1590s that is—brothers Nick and Nigel Bottom are desperate to write a hit play but are stuck in the shadow of that Renaissance rockstar known as “The Bard.” When a local soothsayer foretells that the future of theater involves singing, dancing, and acting at the same time, Nick and Nigel set out to write the world’s very first MUSICAL! With its heart on its ruffled sleeve and sequins in its soul, SOMETHING ROTTEN! is an irresistible ode to those dazzling musical creations that entertain us, inspire us, and remind us that everything’s better when you “embrace the exclamation point!”

NBYT has a limited number of rear mezzanine seats for $45 each. To join us, speak to Darren Farrington, email darren@nbyt.org, or call 860-515-8115 and reserve your seats before Monday, January 8.

And, on SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 3, NBYT will host a BROADWAY CONNECTION MASTER CLASS in “Triple Threat Technique” for ages 8 and up from 9 AM to 12 noon with a performer from SOMETHING ROTTEN who will come to NBYT.

Broadway Connection provides students the opportunity to work in a positive, familiar, and intimate environment with current Broadway performers. The Master Class includes a warm-up and technique work in acting, singing and dancing, and finishes with a Q & A session in which participants are encouraged to ask about education, auditions, working on Broadway, traveling with productions, and the excitement of performing every night!

The three-hour Master Class costs $45 and will be limited to twenty-five students.  Parents may join for the Q&A and to take photos. To register, speak to Darren Farrington, email darren@nbyt.org, or call 860-515-8115. Payment should be made at the time of registration.

Participants are welcome to attend the performance, the master class, or both. Registration for both is offered at a discount cost of $85.

Registration button

 

NBYT Announces New All-Inclusive Programming

November 5, 2017
Robby

Robby performing in Seussical JR with NBYT.

Five years ago today, a young boy named Robby suffered in an accident which left him with a severe brain injury. Robby had performed with NBYT for the first time in the past summer’s production of Seussical JR, and Robby’s mother is NBYT director, musical director, and teaching artist Angela Klimaytis. For five years, Robby’s family has continued to care for, love, and fight for him, and we’ve enjoyed having him in the audience for several productions.

At NBYT, we know that all children can enjoy and benefit from participation in theater, no matter what their abilities or the extent of their participation may be. In honor of Robby, we’re announcing today a new All-Inclusive Program for children and teens of any and all physical, mental, sensory, and emotional abilities. Program development and the first year of programming have been funded by a grant from the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain.

An eight-week introductory Stage Performance class on Monday afternoons for ages 8 to 18 will begin the programming in January. As with all of the our Stage Performance classes, the curriculum will include drama games and warm-ups, development of voice and movement skills to each student’s abilities, ensemble building, instruction of stage performance skills, and rehearsal of scenes for performance. The class will conclude with a showcase performance of scenes for an audience of family and friends. Spring programming will include a second eight-week class plus a small-scale production to be announced.

All-inclusive programming includes those children—as well as others who may choose to participate—in a program that will specifically welcome, engage, and challenge each of them to their own physical, mental, sensory, and emotional abilities. As with all NBYT programming, classes and rehearsal will align with National Arts Standards and over time will cover a range of theatrical texts and styles.

NBYT has included participants on the autism spectrum, with learning disorders, and with physical disabilities or limitations in past productions. Often, however, we’ve gotten inquiries or requests to offer programming so that children or teens who are more challenged may participate as well—specifically because of the social and emotional benefits of participation and because such programming is lacking in central Connecticut.

Classes and productions will be led by Senior Teaching Artist Nicki LaPorte. Working with the theater since 2011, LaPorte is a graduate of Central Connecticut State University with a double major in Educational Theater and U.S. History. During the day she works with New Britain Public Schools in special education, and in the afternoons and evenings she brings a love of the performing arts to children and teens in acting classes and shows. She has also directed and taught through Hartford Performs, East Hartford Public Schools, Performing Arts Programs, the Gateway Project in Huntingon, Massachusetts, and The Freedom Theater in the West Bank of Palestine. She has performed recently with Hole in the Wall Theater in New Britain, and with Elmwood Productions in West Hartford as a puppeteer.

Families interested in learning more about New Britain Youth Theater’s all-inclusive programming or pre-registering for winter or spring programs may contact the theater by email at education@nbyt.org or by phone at 860-515-8115. More information about other NBYT productions and programming may also be found online at www.nbyt.org.

NBYT Holiday Sweatshirt Sale

November 3, 2017

Best Theater 2017 logo (color)

NBYT is selling hoodies, pullovers, and jackets with a special logo celebrating that we are Connecticut’s Best Children’s Theater, as chosen by the editors of CONNECTICUT Magazine in their September “Best Of Connecticut” issue.

An order form may be downloaded and brought with payment to any rehearsal, class, or performance. We’ll have forms available too. Forms may also be mailed, or orders may be placed by phone with a credit card. A first batch of orders will go to our printer by Thanksgiving; a second batch will go in after December 10 (closing date of ANNIE JR) for delivery before Christmas. Orders may be accepted through January as well.

Order items for the whole family and show your NBYT pride!

Sweatshirt Sale

Save the Date to Ride Around the Clock!

October 10, 2017

Bushnell Park carouselSave the date to celebrate New Britain Youth Theater’s recent recognition as Connecticut’s Best Children’s Theater (CONNECTICUT Magazine, 2017) at a fundraiser at Hartford’s Bushnell Park Carousel on Friday, November 10.

NBYT has reserved the Carousel from 5 to 9 PM. Children (of any age) may take as many rides as they like if they raise donation pledges for each revolution they take on the carousel! Come also to enjoy fun, food, and frolic with friends from NBYT!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Bushnell Park Carousel is a 1914 masterpiece, and one of only three left in the world built by master carousel crafters Stein and Goldstein. Housed in a vintage-style 24-sided pavilion, the 103 year-old carousel holds 48 hand-carved wooden horses and two chariots that swirl around a booming Wurlitzer band organ.

Other nonprofit youth organizations are welcome to join in the fundraiser as well—multiplying the fun and raising money for their own organizations.

Current NBYT actors will receive participation information at rehearsals and classes. Others may contact NBYT to participate. Contact NBYT Executive and Artistic Director Darren Farrington for details at darren@nbyt.org or 860-515-8115.

Bring NBYT to Your Classroom!

October 9, 2017

Education logoThis blog post not only tells you how to bring an NBYT educational program to a school classroom—it tells you how to make that happen for FREE!

For nearly eight years, NBYT has provided educational and performance programs in schools, after school, and out of school time for children and teens from preschool through high school. The theater’s literacy-based educational programs promote social, emotional, and creative development. Programs are based upon National Core Arts Standards, and the curriculum is designed to align with the Common Core State Standards for English and Language Arts. Programs have been offered through school districts in New Britain, Bristol, Plainville, and in Hartford schools through Hartford Performs.

dr-seussBringing Books to Life!

One of our most popular classroom programs for younger students is Bringing Books to Life! This 40-60 minute program combines an introductory acting class with story-time as children engage in listening, discussing, and performing to better understand the themes of a book and how actors can bring the book’s story to life on stage. Students use their bodies, voices, and imaginations to pantomime characters and actions which are included in bringing the chosen book “to life.” The stories of Dr. Seuss—with their many wild characters and busy action—lend themselves particularly well to this program, and we book many classroom visits on and around Read Across America Day (Dr. Seuss’s birthday) on March 2.

Super Duck (5)

Bringing Scripts to Life!

In this introduction to dramatic literature, students learn that plays are intended not only to be read, but to be performed! Approaching a script as an actor enhances students’ understanding of plot, themes, and the emotional journeys of the characters. The script may be one already read in class, or may be new to the students. Successful scripts used in past classrooms have been dramatic adaptations of Charlotte’s Web, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and Little Women.

Page to Stage

Students work with a Teaching Artist to create a short adaptation based upon a piece of literature or topic studied in class. The class begins by briefly discussing the creation and performance of theater, and then groups brainstorm and exchange ideas. In one or two follow-up visits, groups explore and put their ideas into presentation form, and then revise and perform their dramatic work.

Introducing Improv!

Students get a basic understanding of improvisational theater concepts and are introduced to short-form improv games designed to build teamwork and have fun! Students will be able to take what they learn and use it to not only become improv performers, but also better listeners, thinkers, and speakers.

Jan 16 (5)

Dramatic Literature in Performance

Students explore language, characters, and themes while focusing on a specific work of dramatic literature. All or select students also get on their feet to perform selected scenes with a Teaching Artist directing. Previous classes have focused on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, or Twelfth Night, or Aristophanes’ The Birds.

 

To book any of these programs or to learn about others, email education@nbyt.org or call 860-515-8115.

Now, about those free performances in schools! Share this post on Facebook, retweet it on Twitter, or reblog it with a link back to this post, and you’ll get one entry in a contest to bring a free program to a school anywhere in Connecticut. Entries are unlimited. You must also email education@nbyt.org with your name, the way that you shared the post (so we can confirm), and the school that you’d like to receive the program. There will be one winner for a free one-hour program (for a single classroom or grade level, to be scheduled this year subject to availability). All entries must be submitted by November 30 at midnight. No purchase is required to win, and winners will be notified early in December.

Celebrate a Birthday at NBYT!

October 9, 2017

Birthday logoDid you know that you could celebrate a birthday at NBYT! The party includes an hour of fun with an NBYT Teaching Artist, and you can choose the theme or focus of your games and activities!

NBYT birthday parties are two hours (generally 60 minutes of activities and 60 minutes of party time) plus 30 minutes time allowed for set-up and clean-up. Extended time is available for an additional cost. Games and activities are run in NBYT’s studio theater location in Berlin, and a space with tables and chairs is provided for refreshments (which are not provided by NBYT). Here are some birthday activities that you can choose.

Oh, the Drama!
Children take part in introductory drama games and activities, physical and vocal warm-ups, and improvising scenes based on suggestions from the birthday child and other guests.

Pirate party

A pirate themed p-ARRR-ty at NBYT!

Bringing Books to Life!
Based on a popular NBYT educational program, children receive basic introductory acting instruction and help to bring a story—of the birthday child’s choosing—to life on stage using physical and vocal character choices and pantomimed props!

Improv Mania!
A greater emphasis on improv instruction and games based on suggestions from birthday child (or teen), other guests, or even parents, which often appeals to older children and teens!

Karaoke!
Using our microphone and speaker system and a media device, the birthday child or teen can choose a play list or theme, or can open it up to any karaoke video track found on the internet! Pull from our collection of hats, props, and accessories for you and your guests to become stars too!

Party cost is $175 for up to 15 children, and $10 for each additional child up to 20. Scheduling is subject to space availability. Parties may also be held at other locations arranged by the party-giver.

For more information, contact Executive and Artistic Director Darren Farrington at 860-515-8115 or darren@nbyt.org.