Lime Springs Children’s Theatre Troupe is Organization of the Year

Next Performance: Cinderella’s Glass Slipper April 28, 7 p.m. April 29, 1:30 & 7 p.m. LS United Methodist Church


Lime Springs - A great organization is one that gives back to the community. As a bonus, it helps its own members. That description fits Lime Springs Children’s Theatre Troupe to a “T,” or maybe that’s a “Double T!”
The group was named Organization of the year by the Times Plain Dealer and is a fairly young group. It celebrated its 10th anniversary in December, but in that time it has worked with over 120 area youth and has entertained crowds of parents, friends and strangers through 22 performances and is working on number 23. 
Its mission is to encourage reading by bringing literature to life through theatrical productions and provide hands-on learning experiences in theatre.
Just like other youth organizations, such as scouts, 4-H or FFA, LSCTT helps shy children gain confidence, average kids become leaders and all youth learn to get along with others.
Being part of the theatre is full of life-lessons for the young actors. They need to learn to be quiet when they are waiting for their turn on stage, they need to pay attention, they need to learn their lines, and they learn respect for their fellow thespians.
Sometimes those lessons come at a price for the plays’ directors, Janet DeVries and Rita Roberts. It can be a hair-pulling experience when the entire group of 15-30 kids in third through 12th grades are in one space!
Parent and board member D.J. Miller said, “I have noticed their [William and Danny] confidence in speaking in front of people has gone up.” The boys’ favorite parts of theatre are the costumes and singing.
Piper Jessen also enjoys the costumes and singing, but she likes the make-up as well.
Benjamin Matthias likes the singing, costumes and acting. He started in third grade, and the sixth grader is currently practicing for his seventh play.
Leann Slavin, another parent/board member and the person who nominated LSCTT, has noticed a positive impact on her children. “I see a self-confidence when they need to speak in public. It has also had a significant impact in their reading comprehension and fluency. LSCTT also brings together community children, of all ranges, who may not otherwise interact with each other.  Finally, it is teaching them time-management and responsibility as they need to balance school activities, play and home commitments.”
Amy Henry says being in the theatre has made a positive impact on daughter, Skylar. “It’s made her confident, and it amazes me how those kids memorize their lines . . . and everyone else’s! Her favorite part is being with her friends, the costumes and the final performance.”
Clara Keller enjoys the LSCTT. She said, “It has helped me to memorize words.” Her sister, Ella noted, “It has helped me to be a better reader, and I get to meet new friends.”
They say it takes a village to raise a child, and that is certainly the case with LSCTT . . . it takes an entire community in and around Lime Springs to make the organization successful.
None of the fun the youth experience would be possible without that dedicated group of adults willing to give of their time and talents to help them succeed. Those talents include finding props, building and painting sets and sewing costumes before the production and running the lighting and sound systems, working in the green room, helping with hair and make-up and making treats.
Most importantly, it takes leaders, who give a minimum of 120 hours each for every performance. DeVries and Roberts participate in 32 rehearsals for 60-65 hours plus all the behind-the-scenes time they invest.
They were both surprised when adding up the hours spent on each production, but luckily they have each other and a good group of family and friends to help. “We’re a team,” DeVries noted.
She is also amazed by the progress she has seen in the kids. “It’s great to see how they’ve grown from the beginning of the play to the end and from year to year.”
“Parents have told us they did a great job talking in front of their class or lectoring in church,” Roberts added. 
Of all those plays, what were some of their favorites? DeVries liked “Little Women” because both her daughters were in it.
Roberts said she was copping out. “I don’t have one, because each one has touched my heart. My favorite will make me laugh, cry and applaud, and the children in every play have allowed me to do that.” She added, “I am the meanest, but their biggest applauder!”
DeVries agreed. “We are proud of all of them. We stress that. And the theatre has shown them how to respect each other.”
The group’s next play is “Cinderella’s Glass Slipper” and is being performed April 28-29 at the Lime Springs United Methodist Church.

Cresco Times

Phone: 563-547-3601
Fax: 563-547-4602

Cresco TPD
214 N. Elm Street
Cresco, IA 52136

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