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Whoa, Momma!

Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Tracey Henry and Suzannah DiMarzio

No arts in school? Teach them yourself

I had an eye-opening interview recently with a California mom and screenwriter who is coming to Tampa Bay for a theater camp. She has also written a field guide for parents on how to bring fine arts back into schools. Her solution: Think of Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland and put on a show yourself.

Cindy Marcus was alarmed at the lack of fine arts in her son’s school, and when the now 10-year-old’s teacher asked her to speak to the class about her career as a Disney playwright (Lion King 2) and director, she did him one better. She offered to help the kids put on a show of their own.

Playdatecolor She then set about getting other parents to volunteer their time and  they helped a grateful teacher broaden his classroom curriculum. She chronicles her learning curve and the rookie parents, many of whom had never stepped foot on a stage, in Playdate: A Parent’s and Teacher’s Guide to Putting on a Play ($19.95, Meriwether Pub).

I was skeptical when I talked to her, I'll admit. You are an experienced hand at this, I told her. I couldn't carry a tune in a paper bag.

It doesn’t take a fine arts degree, she said. The play experience led the parents at her school to set up their own fine arts program. “Moms with no experience went to the library and got books on Van Gogh came in and said ‘We’re going to learn about this.’ And they would look at the pictures and the mom would share what she learned and then they’d have the kids draw a picture like Van Gogh.”

So much drama
Marcus is leading a three-week Teen Acting Camp at the Frances Wilson Playhouse in Clearwater that begins July 12 for ages 11 and up. It is on weekdays 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and there will be three performances July 31 and Aug. 1. Tuition is $400 for new students and $375 for returning students, and some scholarships are available Get the details online here or call (727) 446-1360

-- Sharon Kennedy Wynne

[Last modified: Thursday, May 13, 2010 11:01am]


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