For the past 10 years, the Lewis Family Playhouse has been producing truly spectacular children’s plays through the MainStreet Theatre Company. Just in case you haven’t heard, the MainStreet Theatre Company strives to make theater a roller coaster ride of unique and engaging experiences for each and every child. And what a ride it is!
The MainStreet Theatre Company has one mission- to educate and entertain children through theater. With the guidance of producer, Mireya Hepner, every child who visits the Lewis Family Playhouse has an entertaining and educational experience.
So, sit tight and learn more about how the MainStreet Theatre Company is educating children through theater arts.
Building Children’s Plays
Choosing a children’s play seems straight forward, you just need a funny and entertaining story, right? Not necessarily! Mireya explains how the MainStreet Theatre Company chooses their children’s plays:
“I tend to look for big ideas or themes, and I choose stories where the hero is someone who we ultimately look up to. My goal is for the children in our audiences to learn empathy, and to identify with the characters in the play.” – Mireya Hepner, Producer.
Mireya also tells us how fun and important it is to pick stories that take children on a journey through their imaginations:
“I love picking stories that take kids out of their immediate surroundings and teach them to see the world in a new way. Theater at its best takes you on a journey, and so I like to mix classics with newer stories.” – Mireya Hepner, Producer.
After the fun and excitement of the show, you may like to talk to the actor behind the scenes, right? Well, you can at The Lewis Family Playhouse where The MainStreet Theatre Company facilitates “talk-backs” at the end of each play. Actors discuss the themes with children in the audience and even provide study guides containing the themes of the show!
Educators find that plays do a great job teaching students the concept of “reality” vs. “fantasy”:
“[A teacher] sent us a letter saying that seeing the play, where actors played multiple roles (including both people and animals), made it much easier for her to teach [her students] the concept of ‘reality’ vs. ‘fantasy’.” – Mireya Hepner, Producer.
Sharing the Gift of Theater
Through a program funded by the Rancho Cucamonga Community & Arts Foundation and supported by donors like The Lewis Family and Bank of America, tickets to The Lewis Family Playhouse are subsidized for Title-1 schools and families.
“I think this program impacts the community in many ways. On the weekends, the program helps many families who might never have stepped in the door, to come to the Cultural Center and experience a live performance.” – Mireya Hepner, Producer.
These tickets give children a chance to see plays for the first time. With art programs being cut from school, Mireya explains how important it is to incorporate art into education:
“We’re really proud that a whole generation of children is growing up with a field trip to the theater being part of their “normal” experience. Just being exposed to live performance, and being introduced to stories they might not otherwise experience, can have a huge impact on how they think about the world.” -Mireya Hepner, Producer.
Featured below is one of the many letters Mireya has received from students who have experienced one of the shows!
Interested in experiencing a show at The Lewis Family Playhouse? Learn More about the fun line-ups in store for the 2017 season!