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Why The Laramie Project?

October 8, 2018

LP posterNo Boundaries Youth Theater will open its 2018-19 season this month with The Laramie Project by Moisés Kaufman and the Members of Tectonic Theater Project.

The play tells the story of Matthew Shepard, a gay University of Wyoming student who was murdered in October 1998. The script was developed and written by the Tectonic Theater Project, a New York theater company whose members conducted interviews with more than 200 people of Laramie. The play is a collage of scenes and monologues that explore the aftermath of the attack and the reactions of the Laramie community. It does contain some extreme profanity and graphic descriptions of violence. Because of the subject matter and language, some people have questioned whether a children’s theater should be producing the play.

Children’s theater often gets a bad rap—it’s sometimes looked at as lightweight and frothy entertainment for ungrown minds. But if you’ve been following NBYT for a while, you have may noticed that we like to challenge that stereotype.

We’ve enthusiastically done some of the expected fairy tales and happy musicals, but we’ve also done original musicals and plays, Shakespeare, dramas, and some obscure titles with local historical and educational connections. This out-of-the-box producing got NBYT recognized as the state’s best children’s theater by Connecticut Magazine in 2017. The Laramie Project is the most serious drama we’ve done to date and the furthest from standard children’s theater, so it’s understandable that there have been some questions.

But, at age 21 Matthew Shepard was still very young when he was taken from a bar, driven to a remote field where he was severely beaten, tied to a fence, and left to die. The young men who murdered Matthew were the same age. And the twelve actors in NBYT’s production are nearly that age themselves. We’ve watched them in rehearsals and we know that they feel the responsibility of telling this story meaningfully and correctly. They’ve shown understanding and empathy far beyond their years, and their talents on stage are wonderfully showcased in this piece as well. It’s not only appropriate for a youth theater to tell this story; it adds meaning and depth and hope to the story.

It’s twenty years this month that Matthew Shepard was murdered. If you’ve never seen this play before, or if you want to see it told by young actors, we invite you especially to come to our production.

At its heart, The Laramie Project is about whether we let fear, hatred, and anger define us as a community. It’s a story that needs to be told now more than ever.

The Laramie Project will be performed at Raymond Hill School at the Klingberg Center, located at 370 Linwood Street Street in New Britain. The Community Chest of New Britain and Berlin is sponsor of the production.

Buy tickets

Performances are Friday, October 19 at 7:00 p.m.; Saturday, October 20, at 7:00 p.m.; and Sunday, October 21 at 2:00 p.m. Ticket prices are $13 for adults and $11 for children, students, and seniors. Tickets may be purchased at the door or online through the link above.

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The Velveteen Rabbit: Auditions, Plot and Character List

September 10, 2018

Velveteen posterAuditions are this week for NBYT’s holiday production, The Velveteen Rabbit, or How Toys Become Real. Based on the 1922 classic children’s book by Margery Williams, this new musical tells the story a toy rabbit who longs for nothing more than to be real.

For more details on auditions and a link to schedule an audition time, click here. For the plot and character list of The Velveteen Rabbit, read on!

Plot of The Velveteen Rabbit

It is Christmas night in the 1940’s. Pops and Son sit in their living room. Pops presents Son with a special gift from his childhood. A Velveteen Rabbit. The Magical Nursery Fairy and Passage of Time magically bring us back to a Christmas Eve twenty years prior. In Boy’s dreams, we meet the cast of characters who will take us on the journey of the story of the Velveteen Rabbit (“Once Upon a Time”).

When Boy wakes, it is Christmas morning. The family and Nana enjoy opening their gifts, and among many presents, he is given a stuffed rabbit sewn from velveteen (“Christmas Morning”). Boy plays with The Velveteen Rabbit until family, including Aunt and Uncle come bearing more gifts arrive for Christmas Dinner.

As winter turns to spring, we find we find Nana putting Boy to bed (“Lullaby”). Once Boy is asleep, the rest of the toys come to life. Toy Engine, Model Boat, Clockwork Mouse, Timothy the Jointed Lion, and the other Toys are modern and mechanical, and they snub the old-fashioned Velveteen Rabbit (“Dance of the Toys”). The wisest and oldest toy in the nursery, the Skin Horse, who was owned by the boy’s uncle, tells the rabbit about toys magically becoming real due to love from children. The Velveteen Rabbit is awed by this idea; however, his chances of achieving this wish are slight.

One night that spring, Nana gives Boy the Velveteen Rabbit to sleep with, in place of his beloved China Dog. Though at first he found it uncomfortable to sleep in bed with the boy, The Magic Nursery Fairy and Passage of Time help tell how he quickly grew to like it (“Sleep”). The Velveteen Rabbit becomes the boy’s favorite toy, enjoying all sorts of activities such as picnics with him throughout the season. One day, being late to get home after much important play, Boy leaves Velveteen Rabbit outside. Unable to sleep without the toy, Nana goes in search of the Rabbit. Upon the Velveteen Rabbit’s return, Boy insists to Nana that the Rabbit is real, which brings great joy to The Velveteen Rabbit (“Real”).

Time passes, and the the Velveteen Rabbit becomes shabbier, but is content. That is, until he meets some Real Rabbits in the summer, and they learn that he cannot hop as they do and say that he is not real (“Dance of the Rabbits”). The Velveteen Rabbit begins to doubt everything he thought to be true (“Act I Finale”).

As Act II opens, we find the Velveteen Rabbit having a nightmare (“The Nightmare”). In this nightmare, he is being teased by the Toys and Real Rabbits, but the Magical Nursery Fairy, Passage of Time, Skin Horse, and Boy enter and soothe him.

One day, the Boy comes down with scarlet fever. Mother and Nana, are fraught with worry (“Lullaby Reprise”). The Velveteen Rabbit sits with him as he recovers. The doctor orders that the boy should be taken to the seaside and that his room should be disinfected—all his books and toys burnt, including the Velveteen Rabbit (“Passage of Time”). The Velveteen Rabbit is bundled into a sack and left out in the garden overnight, where he sadly reflects on his life with his boy (“Dreams”).

The Velveteen Rabbit cries, a real tear drops onto the ground, and a marvelous flower appears. Magical Nursery Fairy steps out of the flower and comforts the Velveteen Rabbit. She says that, because he has become Real to the Boy who truly loves him, she will take him away with her and turn him real to everyone. Magic Nursery Fairy and Passage of Time take the Velveteen Rabbit to the forest, where she meets the other rabbits and gives the Velveteen Rabbit a kiss. The Velveteen Rabbit becomes real and joins the Real Rabbits to dance in the forest (“Real/Dance of the Rabbits Reprise”).

The next spring, the Velveteen Rabbit returns to look at Boy, and Boy sees a resemblance to his old Velveteen Rabbit. We flash back to the 1940’s, where Son has learned many valuable lessons (“Once Upon a Time is Now”).

Character List

  • Nursery Magic Fairy: Must be a triple threat (sings, dances, acts); a mystical character; helpful, joyful and sweet; she appears in dreams.
  • Passage of Time: Must also be a triple threat; Nursery Magic Fairy’s sidekick. They always appear onstage together. Equally magical and joyful, she shows the passage of time through dance and by making seasons and time change.
  • Son/Boy: Male or female, but must be able to play male. Very sweet, very active, somewhat mischievous. He loves his toys and playing outside.
  • The Velveteen Rabbit: Male or female. The “youngest” of the toys, emotionally; everything is new to the Rabbit. Runs the gamut of emotions: shy and uncertain, scared and sad, jubilantly happy; loves Skin Horse and Boy, and wants very much to be loved in return; the only “soft” toy other than the Skin Horse; lots of physical comedy.
  • Aunt: Female. A special Christmas guest who is enamored of her nephew, Boy.
  • Uncle: Male. Another special Christmas guest.
  • Mother: Female. Very nurturing, loving woman who wants only the best for her son.
  • Father/Pops: Male. Wise man, great sense of humor, head of household.
  • Toy Engine: Male or female. Acts super cool; like the “popular” kid.
  • Clockwork Mouse: Male or female. Very official, the “smart” kid, the leader, biting tone.
  • Model Boat: Male or female. One of the gang, but tries hard to be cool by sounding official and being funny.
  • Timothy, the Jointed Wooden Lion: Male or female. One of the gang, wants to be cooler, so pretends to be from the government and have top secret information.
  • Skin Horse: Male or Female. Kind and wise and gentle; often plays mediator or parent to the other toys.
  • Nana: Female. Mary Poppins type character. Kind yet strict, one of the family. Very tidy and generally proper, has a very tender heart.
  • “Real” Rabbits: The rabbits the Velveteen Rabbit encounters while out to play with the boy. They don’t take kindly to the odd-looking rabbit at first. They love to dance and play!

Fall Programs and Auditions at NBYT

August 28, 2018

Classes begin soon

No Boundaries Youth Theater begins its ninth season with another ambitious offering of classes and auditions!

The new season kicks off with auditions this month for a December production of an original musical adaptation of The Velveteen Rabbit. Based on the 1922 classic children’s book by Margery Williams, the play tells the story of a toy rabbit who longs for nothing more than to be real. With a script, music, and lyrics written specifically for young performers, this magical story explores themes of friendship, love, and overcoming insecurity—all coming to life in a world with plenty of talking toys, a magical nursery fairy, real rabbits, one very real boy, and many others!

Auditions for The Velveteen Rabbit are on Monday and Wednesday, September 10 and 12, at Holmes Elementary School at 2150 Stanley Street in New Britain (off Hartford Road (Route 71)). Audition times both days begin at 6:00 p.m. Actors auditioning should prepare any musical theater song and should bring sheet music if possible, or they will be given a song to sing. Actors should also wear comfortable clothing and be prepared to learn a few dance steps. Rehearsals will also be on Monday and Wednesday evenings. The production will be performed at the same location on December 7, 8 and 9. To schedule an audition, visit www.nbyt.org, call 860-515-8115 or email auditions@nbyt.org.

Also this fall, NBYT will perform The Laramie Project. The most serious drama that NBYT will produce to date, The Laramie Project is the story of 21-year-old Matthew Shepard, the two young men who targeted, viciously beat, and left him to die in a field in Laramie, Wyoming in October 1998, and the community that became suddenly synonymous with this hate crime. It’s not a story about Matthew Shepard being gay. It’s about whether we let fear, hatred, and anger define us as a community. And it’s a story that needs to be told now more than ever. Auditions have already been held, and the play will be performed by older teen and 20 year-old actors of the company on October 19, 20 and 21.

Theater classes and homeschool enrichment programs also begin in September at NBYT. On Saturday mornings beginning September 22, the theater will offer classes in stage play (ages 5-9), acting (ages 9-14), and improv (ages 10-16). Younger children will stage Central American Stories. Drama games and scenes based on Mexican and Central American folktales will be used to teach the basics of theatrical storytelling, character development, voice, and movement. Older students will focus their study on comic timing in a class title Make ‘em Laugh. The theater’s popular improv class welcomes new students and challenges returning students to build new skills. Each eight-week class term ends with a short performance open to family and friends.

On Thursday evenings beginning September 20, all-abilities classes begin and are open to all children ages 9 through 14, including those of any physical, mental, sensory, or emotional ability. The class begins with drama games and warm-ups, development of voice and movement skills to each student’s abilities, ensemble building, and instruction of stage performance skills. The group then develops and rehearses an original play or short scenes for performance.

Homeschool enrichment programs begin on Tuesday, September 18, and include a program for young actors ages 5 to 8, a performance program for ages 8 to 14, and classes in music (ages 8-16) and improv (ages 8-16). This term, the performance class will produce an original murder mystery, and they’ll discuss and learn about some classic mysteries written for the stage. The term ends with a daytime and evening performance for family and friends.

Classes and homeschool programs are held at NBYT’s Studio Theater space at the New Britain-Berlin YMCA Program Center at 362 Main Street in the Kensington Center of Berlin.

The theater can be reached for questions or registration at 860-515-8115 or info@nbyt.org. More information is also available on the theater’s website at www.nbyt.org.

Register for Fall Classes!

August 15, 2018

We hate to see summer vacation end as much as any kid, but it’s almost September and time to start thinking about Fall Classes! How about making the school year a little more dramatic with a class in acting or improv?

ALL-ABILITIES CLASSES

All-abilities 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.

STAGE PERFORMANCE FOR ALL
Thursdays 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Ages 9 – 14 (8 weeks, September 20 – November 15)

The class will begin with drama games and warm-ups, development of voice and movement skills to each student’s abilities, ensemble building, and instruction of stage performance skills. In the second hour, the class will develop and rehearse an original play or short scenes for performance. A one-hour class option is also available. Please contact us for details.

SATURDAY CLASSES

STAGE PLAY: CENTRAL AMERICAN STORIES
Saturdays, 9:30 – 10:30 am
Ages 5 – 8 (8 weeks, September 22 – November 17)

Join us South of the Border as we explore the rich history of folk tales, fairy tales, and fables from Mexico and Central America. Drama games and scenes based on these tales will be used to teach the basics of theatrical story telling, character development, voice, and movement. Older and returning students will be challenged to further develop roles and begin script analysis. The term ends with a showcase performance for family and friends.

STAGE PERFORMANCE SKILLS: MAKE ‘EM LAUGH (COMIC TIMING)
Saturdays, 10:40 – 11:40 am
Ages 9 – 14 (8 weeks, September 22  – November 17)

Playing comedy, and finding the right timing for that comedy, is one of the hardest skills for actors to learn. This class will explore various types of comedy and how to play it for the biggest laughs! Prior acting experience is recommended but not required. The term ends with a showcase performance for family and friends.

IMPROV IN PERFORMANCE
Saturdays, 11:50 am – 12:50 pm
Ages 10 – 16 (8 weeks, September 22 – November 17)

Get a basic understanding of improvisational theater concepts such as story building, environmental awareness, saying “yes,” and making and accepting dramatic offers. The class will be introduced to short-form improv designed to build teamwork and reinforce basic concepts. Returning students will be challenged to build their skills and develop longer scenes. The terms ends with a performance, and other performance opportunities may be added.

HOMESCHOOL CLASSES

HOMESCHOOL JUNIOR PLAYERS
Tuesdays, 9:00 am – 9:45 am
Ages 5 – 8 (10 weeks, September 18 – November 20)

A new program for younger homeschool performers offers our popular Saturday Stage Play class on Tuesday mornings. Drama games and scenes based on folk tales will be used to teach the basics of theatrical story telling, character development, voice, and movement. The term ends with a showcase performance for family and friends.

HOMESCHOOL REPERTORY PLAYERS
Tuesdays, 10:00 am – 12:00 noon
Ages 8 – 14 (10 weeks, September 18 – November 20)

A performance and production class is offered beginning in September and January—each term focusing on a different theme or style of theater. In Fall 2018, the class will produce an original murder mystery, and we’ll discuss and learn about some classic mysteries written for the stage! The term ends with a daytime and evening performance for family and friends.

MUSIC
Tuesdays, 12:30 – 1:30 pm
Ages 8 – 16 (10 weeks, September 18 – November 20)

Students will learn about the musical elements of pitch, duration, tempo, dynamics, timbre, and form through a sequential, developmentally appropriate course of study.  Students will engage in a variety of musical activities including singing with quality folk literature, playing instruments, and movement to the masters, both classic and contemporary. Students will create, perform and respond to music in an environment that encourages them to be tuneful, beautiful, and artful.

IMPROV
Tuesdays, 1:40 – 2:40 pm
Ages 8 – 16 (10 weeks, September 18 – November 20)

Students will get a basic understanding of improvisational theater concepts such as story building, environmental awareness, saying “yes,” and making and accepting dramatic offers. The group is introduced to short-form improv games designed to build teamwork and reinforce basic concepts. No prior experience in theater or improv is necessary, and participants will be able to take what they learn and use it to not only become better actors, but also better listeners and speakers. Experienced performers will be challenged to expand their skills and stretch their choices.

COACHING AND PRIVATE LESSONS

Private acting coaching, lessons, and audition preparation are available with NBYT Teaching Artists on a weekly or one-time basis.

To register for one or more classes, click below!

Registration button

COST AND OTHER DETAILS

The cost of each one-hour class is $100 per student for each 8-week term. The cost of the two-hour all-abilities class and two-hour homeschool class is $150.

Students within one year of the age requirements may be allowed to register with approval of the instructor and Executive Director.

All classes meet at the New Britain-Berlin YMCA Program Center at 362 Main Street in the Kensington section of Berlin.

For more information, or to arrange a visit to NBYT, please call 860-515-8115 or email classes@nbyt.org.

Audition and Performance Dates Announced for THE VELVETEEN RABBIT

August 13, 2018

Velveteen poster

Before Toy Story, there was The Velveteen Rabbit.

No Boundaries Youth Theater’s holiday production will be a new children’s musical written by NBYT Teaching Artist Angela Klimaytis. The Velveteen Rabbit, or How Toys Become Real, based on the 1922 classic children’s book by Margery Williams, tells the story of a toy rabbit who longs for nothing more than to be real. With a script, music, and lyrics written specifically for young performers, this magical story explores themes of friendship, love, and overcoming insecurity—all coming to life in a world with plenty of talking toys, a magical nursery fairy, real rabbits, one very real boy, and many others! The production will be directed and musical directed by Angela Klimaytis, with Kristen Bennett serving as assistant director and Chelsea Derby as choreographer.

All children and teens, ages 6 through 18, from any town and with or without prior experience, are welcome to audition. There are a number of roles for older actors, roles for girls and boys, and many featured ensemble roles. Older children age 13 and up may also contact NBYT with interest in helping backstage.

Auditions are on Monday and Wednesday, September 10 and 12, at Holmes Elementary School at 2150 Stanley Street in New Britain (off Hartford Road (Route 71)). Audition times both days begin at 6:00 p.m. Actors auditioning should prepare any musical theater song and should bring sheet music if possible, or they will be given a song to sing. Actors should also wear comfortable clothing and be prepared to learn a few dance steps. Rehearsals will also be on Monday and Wednesday evenings. The production will be performed at the same location on December 7, 8 and 9.

Registration button 2

To schedule an audition, click above! You can also visit www.nbyt.org, email auditions@nbyt.org, or call (860) 515-8115. Pre-scheduled auditions are preferred, but walk-ins are welcome. Those cast will be asked to pay a participation fee of $150, but partial financial waivers and payment scheduling are available.

 

Audition and Performance Dates Announced for THE LARAMIE PROJECT

June 28, 2018

Laramie poster

This fall, the NBYT Teen Company will begin the theater’s 2018-19 season with The Laramie Project by Moisés Kaufman and the Members of Tectonic Theater Project.

“The Laramie Project is the most serious drama that NBYT will produce to date,” says NBYT Executive and Artistic Director Darren Farrington. “It’s the story of 21-year-old Matthew Shepard, the two young men who targeted, viciously beat, and left him to die in a field in Laramie, Wyoming in October 1998, and the community that became suddenly synonymous with this hate crime. But it’s not a story about Matthew Shepard being gay. It’s about whether we let fear, hatred, and anger define us as a community. And it’s a story that needs to be told now more than ever.”

Auditions for the production will be held on Monday and Wednesday, July 30 and August 1, at 6 p.m. at the theater’s Studio Theater space at the New Britain-Berlin YMCA at 362 Main Street in Berlin. Anyone who cannot attend on July 30 or August 1 may schedule an audition earlier in July. Actors auditioning should prepare a dramatic monologue of approximately one minute from a modern play (1920 to present). Actors auditioning should also be prepared to discuss the subject matter and their interest in this project. A company of 8 to 12 actors will be cast who will play over sixty roles in the script. Due to language and content, the ages for this production will be 16-20. Younger actors may join with their parents full understanding and permission; older actors may join with permission of the director.

Rehearsals for the production will begin on August 29 and are planned for Mondays and Wednesdays from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. (Auditions are being held early so actors may begin learning their lines in August.) As part of the rehearsal process, a workshop will be held with a member of Tectonic Theater Project who will travel to NBYT from New York, and discussions are planned with local LGBTQ advocacy groups. Performances will be on October 19, 20 and 21. Due to the short rehearsal period, some additional rehearsal time may be necessary.

To schedule an audition, or to ask any questions about this production, please email auditions@nbyt.org or contact NBYT Executive and Artistic Director Darren Farrington. Pre-scheduled auditions are preferred, but walk-ins are welcome. Those cast will be asked to pay a participation fee of $150, but partial financial waivers and payment scheduling are available.

Art Show & Auction Coming to NBYT

June 8, 2018

Art Show logo

UPDATE: Due to some logistical and scheduling challenges, the Art Show and Auction is being postponed to Spring 2019. We look forward to bringing you more updates as we plan in the coming months!

No Boundaries Youth Theater (formerly New Britain Youth Theater) is excited to announce the kick-off of a five-year strategic growth plan with the announcement of its first annual Art Show and Auction to be held on August 25, 2018.

Attendance at the late summer event is open to all, and will include a cocktail reception and hors d’oeuvres. Tickets are $25 for adults, $10 for students, and exhibiting artists and children under the age of 10 are free. The event will be held at Ellis Street Commons, 321 Ellis Street in New Britain, from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. Tickets may be purchased online.

Art submissions are open to artists of all ages and abilities and art of all mediums. All art must be original, display ready, and available for sale. The suggested minimum commission to NBYT is 30% of sale. No entry fee will be charged for any artists, artists may submit up to three pieces of art, and loading and unloading is the responsibility of the artists. Drop off dates for art are August 18 from 9 am to 1pm, August 24 from 2 to 6 p.m. or by appointment. Cash prizes will be awarded for students grades 9 and up and for adults in the categories of Best in Show, and First, Second, and Third Prize. Non-cash prizes will be awarded for students up to grade 8. More information for artists is available by downloading the art submission form.

“We are thrilled to kick off our strategic plan initiatives with this Art Show,” noted Cindy Donaldson, NBYT Board Chair. “No Boundaries Youth Theatre has helped over 7,000 children since our founding in 2010, and we want to see that legacy grow. We strive to keep the fees to our students minimal and have been fortunate to receive various grants over the years, but it simply is not enough to support the staff, equipment, and everything that is needed to run the theater optimally. The Art Show allows us to share the love of all arts and support our mission.”