Backstage introduces new children’s theater series
BRECKENRIDGE – Backstage Theatre artistic director Christopher Willard came to Breckenridge last year about this time and one of the first things he noticed was the abundance of families in town. Almost immediately, bringing children’s theater to his new audience was a number-one goal.Willard isn’t new to the genre; in fact, he describes it as a passion of his. “Hyronomous A. Frog: The Frog Prince,” which the Backstage is presenting this summer as the first production of their new Summer Children’s Theatre Series, is the same show Willard presented at the Arvada Center in Denver nine years ago.”I’ve had it in my heart for so long,” he said. “It’s great for kids and so wonderful for adults as well.”During his time writing, acting and directing children’s theater in Denver, Willard’s garnered several recognitions by the Denver Post theater critics. He views the genre as being somewhat neglected.”There’s a lot of bad children’s theater out there,” he said. Since it’s for children, he said he thinks people believe they can just throw it together. But, he sees it as quite the opposite.”Children are the most discerning people in those seats,” Willard said. Through fidgeting and squirming they let the director know they aren’t interested and alternatively they will suspend their disbelief more fully, according to Willard.Another motive the director has to produce quality children’s theater is in keeping his art medium alive.Nurturing the future performers and future audiences with a good impression of theater is essential to continuing the growth of theater and “making sure we have a theater,” he said.”It’s such an important part of life development for kids – a place for them to learn about right and wrong, to gain life lessons, to be invigorated and entertained and to stimulate their imagination,” he said.The performances will be 11 a.m. Saturdays and Sundays (following the opening Friday, July 7 at 7 p.m.) and 11 a.m. Sundays running July 7 through Sept 3.Leslie Brefeld can be reached at (970) 668-4626 or email@example.com.
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