SCT presents Project P.L.A.Y.

Over 50 children signed up for Project P.L.A.Y. this year, Starkville Community Theatre’s free annual children’s program. (Submitted photo)
Staff Writer

Starkville Community Theatre’s annual summer children’s program, Project P.L.A.Y., will kick off in June, and has continued to grow throughout the years.

SCT Chief Administrative Officer Gabe Smith said Project P.L.A.Y. has been around for around 20 years.

“Last year was one of our most profitable years, and that has continued on this year,” Smith said.

Smith said over 50 children age five and up signed up for the free program this year, and previously around 30 children participated in the program.

On June 4, Smith said the children will begin weekly meetings with the program coordinator M.J. Etua, who will then begin writing a one-of-a-kind play based on the children participating in the program, and there will also be several shorter plays written and directed by the children.

“That’s always a really wonderful time, because all of the children that are a part of it all play a role in the production because the director writes the play around those who participate and are a part of Project P.L.A.Y. It really inspires children to be involved with theatre, and a lot of those children end up being involved with other theatrical groups,” SCT Board President Abigail Voller said.

Smith said the plays are usually based on folk tales or fairy tales.

Performances will begin nightly the week of June 25 and will conclude with a matinee performance on June 30. The times of the performances will be released at a later date.

Smith said for the first time this year, Project P.L.A.Y. partnered with the Make a Wish Foundation, and SCT will be taking donations during the performances, as well as splitting the profit of the performances 50/50 with the foundation.

“Having kids working with art helps to cultivate their creativity and has a wide range of benefits,” Smith said. “They learn about cooperating with others, problem solving and working together with people that are different from them and people that are different ages from them.”

Smith said, along with learning about writing, acting and directing, the children will also get to learn about costume design and work on props and set design.