Palo Alto Children’s Theatre 1/8

Costumes

The minute you walk into the theater at PACT, the cozy atmosphere and friendly staff makes any visitors feel welcome right away. Old photographs from previous productions and marks on the wall from the actors make it apparent that the Palo Alto Children’s Theatre works to “nurture the intellectual, artistic, and personal development of children” (http://www.cityofpaloalto.org/gov/depts/csd/theatre/default.asp, mission). Every volunteer at PACT can find the work best suited to their personality, such as acting, pulling props, or working on costumes and set pieces. In this way, each child will be able to discover his or her own passion while contributing to a larger production. This process not only serves the volunteers involved, but also the community at large by putting on wonderful productions that bring joy to those watching. PACT is mainly a theater, but it also functions as a school. PACT teaches classes, contributing to the intellectual growth of their students. Working as a volunteer at the Palo Alto Children’s Theatre is a wonderful experience for anyone involved, and it offers the benefit of developing the skills of “critical and creative thinking, cooperation, and aesthetic sensitivity” (http://www.cityofpaloalto.org/gov/depts/csd/theatre/default.asp, mission).

    Is acting the only part of theatre? No! Many hands are needed to create a successful theatre production. On Tuesday, 16 of us walked over to Palo Alto Children’s Theater to help them prepare for their upcoming productions, Goodnight Moon  and The Princess in the Pea. While at Palo Alto Children’s Theatre we learned the importance of all the jobs other than acting that go into creating a theatre production. After a tour of PACT’s beautiful theaters, we separated into three groups and got to work. One group started in the costume bank, where all the fabulous costumes used in PACT’s shows are kept. Costume making is one of the most important jobs that help to create a fantastic play helping portray a story. Tons of time and effort are channeled into creating unique and elaborate costumes that set the stage for an eye catching setting. We helped Alison, who creates and pulls many of the costumes, by organizing the vests, buttons, and coats so that they are more easily accessible. This taught us that even the smallest jobs help in the big picture. We also worked in the front office, where we alphabetized and filed some papers and even got to edit a few scripts that might be used for future shows! We hadn’t expected this job to be as important as the others, but we soon found that in actuality it is the crux of any theatre production. The final job we helped with was pulling props from PACT’s awesome prop basement, which is filled to the brim with hundreds of hand props, instruments, luggage, fabric, and many other cool items to be used in shows. With the help of Luke, the propmaster, we searched the crowded prop basement for the props that PACT needed for Goodnight Moon and The Princess in the Pea.

The Friends of the Palo Alto Children’s Theatre is a group of volunteers that supports the PACT through fundraising, publicity, and community advocacy. Their current goal is to raise funds to sponsor the renovation of the Black Box Theatre to increase the capabilities of the interior for future performances. This renovation would include stage and seating equipment, new catwalks, and lighting and sound systems. Jobs that require volunteers include the ones we did while we were there: helping in the front office, organizing costumes, and pulling props for upcoming shows. There is always a need for builders, painters, costume designers, and publicists in preparation for future shows as well. Bakers, potluck servers, and costume sale workers are needed to raise money. You can also get involved by participating in the shows–on the PACT website (http://www.cityofpaloalto.org/gov/depts/csd/theatre/productions.asp) there is information about auditions. Also high schoolers can act in monthly Playhouse performances, classic fairy tales performed for preschoolers one weekend a month. To volunteer, send an email to volunteer@fopact.org.

Written By Juliet ’16

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Showing 6 comments
  • Katya

    That sounds like so much fun! I didn’t know you could volunteer there!

  • Kelly

    Sounds like this trip was a ton of fun 🙂 Wish I could’ve come too!

  • Sarah

    Sounds like a great trip!!! I look forward to seeing its progress

  • Kelly

    Sounds like this was a ton of fun!! Wish I could’ve come too 🙂

  • Shivani

    This sounds like an amazing cause! I would love to come help out here in the near future 🙂

  • emily

    That is a great way of helping out.

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