All-star Creston students present Shrek the Musical

(Photo by Kelsey Yates)
(Photo by Kelsey Yates)
(Photo by Kelsey Yates)
(Photo by Kelsey Yates)
(Photo by Kelsey Yates)
(Photo by Kelsey Yates)
(Photo by Kelsey Yates)
(Photo by Kelsey Yates)
(Photo by Kelsey Yates)

Last weekend, Adam Robertson Elementary School (ARES) went green with a production of Shrek.

The massive cast and crew of 63 students spent eight weeks rehearsing lines and perfecting melodies. Their hard work ended up ogrely ever after, with a cheering audience at the Kootenay River Secondary School Theatre on May 6 and 7.

“We needed a show that would accommodate a large, eclectic cast and that would speak to this community,” said Kyla Hamm, ARES teacher and director of the play.

“We are a diverse and vibrant place, and the message in Shrek is that celebrating differences helps a community grow and come together. I think that message rang clear.”

She added that the production was fully supported by school administration and the community, with many parent volunteers stepping up to help.

“We’ve had six teachers directing the show and working on it together,” said Hamm.

“This was absolutely a team effort driven by teachers who are passionate about the arts in education and the role arts plays in the development of children.”

Because the cast was so large with a wide array of unique characters, students were encouraged to get creative with their own costume ideas. The posters and props were also created by talented young artists at ARES.

“There was a huge element of student design at play,” said Hamm.

“Some of the characters costumed on stage were imagined, designed, and made by the children who wore them, which helped the show really come to life.”

Many of the students who signed up to participate with Shrek had never acted on stage before, let alone sung in front of an audience.

“The kids just have really impressed me with their willingness to try something new and to be brave,” Hamm said.

“That’s a huge act of courage right there.”

Reflecting on her own 15 years of experience as an educator and performing artist, she added that there are many benefits for children involved in the arts.

“I think it’s foundational to creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, and confidence building,” she said.

“And the experience is more than just the performance. The kids get to start something from scratch and then see it come to life. They know their hard work paid off, so that starts to trickle into other aspects of their learning.”

Performing arts also provides a safe place for kids to explore their individuality and their talents.

Hamm hopes that the camaraderie formed amongst the students will continue to evolve with the ARES drama club.

Participating in the school production certainly made one student into a believer, much like Smash Mouth.

“It’s one of the most fun things I’ve ever done,” said Grade 7 student Lucien Catherall, who played the lead role of Shrek.

“I enjoyed practicing all my songs and lines and getting up on stage acting as Shrek in front of everybody.”

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Creston Valley