Theater of Arts Discipline presents “Beauty and the Beast” sold out
By Isabel Vander Stoep / [email protected]
This weekend, Theater of Arts Discipline (TOAD) summer camp students will perform “Beauty and the Beast” at the sold-out Evergreen Playhouse.
“It’s probably one of my favorite shows and I wanted to direct it because all the different parts, costumes and gothic history behind it and, to me, it’s about a woman. whose strength is really at the center of the show, ”said Rich Garrett, who co-founded TOAD with his wife, Kris.
The Garrett’s live in Chehalis. During the year, TOAD organizes an after-school program for students in the region. For four weeks, students learn and perform a musical. TOAD provides what Garrett calls “the theater in a box” with costumes, sound, lights and a director.
A few children’s theater groups offer similar services, such as the Missoula Children’s Theater, but usually include their own staff in the performances. TOAD casts instead only feature students from the participating school.
In summer, TOAD organizes day camps. The students rehearse from 8:30 am to 3 pm for three weeks to prepare for the show which is only played three times.
On the first day of camp, children learn a song and dance before auditioning in the afternoon. The casting is decided that evening.
At the end of the first week, the actors learned the choreography and the score. The second is devoted to practice. The third week, “Tech Week”, is the last and most difficult as all the technical pieces are added, creating a whole new set of challenges for directors and actors.
And after a weekend of three performances, it’s over.
If the TOAD camp had been created purely for the purpose of creating spectacular actors, the students might have performed more than three times. The goal, on the contrary, is to cultivate positive experiences for children in the arts, to encourage relationship building and, most importantly, to help students gain self-confidence.
TOAD’s summer program welcomes children aged 6 to 16. Some, Garrett said, come year after year. Each summer, he sees their character grow on and off the stage. During those three weeks, he said, the students are like one big family.
With only three shows, the demand for tickets is high. Initially, TOAD limited the audience size to 60 people. After the parents of the camp participants bought their tickets and the others were quickly picked up, people called to complain. Garrett said he increased the number of tickets to 100 earlier this week. Already, tickets are sold out.
It shows that the community values the arts, Garrett said. A theater player for 40 years and an educator for 18 years, he is bewildered by the common tendency to fund the arts when school budgets are cut.
Most of the time, TOAD works with schools in Olympia, Lacey and Tacoma. They will seek to expand their local impact in the years to come.
After Beauty and the Beast ends this weekend, TOAD will start again with a new camp for the show “Seussical the Musical”, which will be presented on the outdoor stage of the Evergreen Playhouse.
“Whether or not they’re doing theater in the future, the confidence they gain makes a difference when they step out into the world and do what they’re going to do,” Garrett said. “They will always see these experiences as something important in their life.”
To register for TOAD’s next summer camp, visit toadtheatre.com/summer-camp-2021.