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Clarke Middle School Represents The USA At World Festival Of Children’s Theater In Toyama, Japan

Alyson Brown

Clarke Middle School has been selected to represent the USA in the World Festival of Children’s Theater in Toyama, Japan.  The Clarke Drama company will present their gold medal award winning production of “The Jungle Book” an adaptation of the Greg Banks script.  Over 30 performance companies from around the world will perform in Toyoma this summer, showcasing some of the world’s best children’s theater.  The event is sponsored by The International Amateur Theatre Association, which governs all amateur theatre – including children’s theatre and youth theatre. Clarke Middle School was also given the honor of representing our country in 2000 at this prestigious event.

The theme of the festival is “We Build the Future” and all theatre groups will participate in a number of activities including opening ceremonies, workshops, and performances.  The Clarke company, the only group chosen from all of North America, will be attending this festival with performance troupes from Russia, Uganda, Singapore, Nepal, Egypt, Malaysia, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Hungary, Lithuania, Monaco, Morocco, China and many others. In a world where there is so much division, the festival promotes building bridges between cultures.

This year has been an exceptional year for the Clarke drama program. Their production of “The Lion King” won Best Overall Musical at the MET/Broadway in Boston awards ceremony. The production received fourteen nominations in technical and performance categories. “The Jungle Book” won the gold medal at the Massachusetts Middle School Drama Festival in May along with six all-star company awards. The shows at Clarke are truly a collaborative effort with the performers and techies spending months in preparation for the performances. The students learn how to design costumes, create props, program lighting, build sets, control the sound and work together to create a cohesive aesthetic to the productions. Their efforts are clearly paying off by the accolades they have received.

Alyson Brown, the head of the drama program at Clarke for 22 years, has worked with the students over a period of 20 weeks including 200 hours of rehearsals to create the production that will represent our country in Japan. The time commitment of these students has helped them to build the confidence to perform in front of their school community, their hometown and a world audience. The Lexington school system truly fosters arts education and the Clarke students’ work is representative of this support.

A farewell performance in their hometown of Lexington, MA will take place at the prestigious Cary Hall on July 16, 2016 at 2:00 pm.  With a capacity of 750, they hope to garner the encouragement of their hometown community prior to going to Japan. Proceeds from the tickets sales will help to defray the costs of the group’s travel to Japan. See a preview of the production here: Jungle Book Trailer

Tickets are available at www.caryhalllexington.com or by phone at 617-531-1257.

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