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Julian Wiles, Founder and Producing Artistic Director
Marybeth Clark, Associate Artistic Director

March 8, 2008

School Matinees for Fiddler on the Roof

Filed under: Back Stage Blog — admin @ 5:15 pm

More than 15,000 students attend Charleston Stage’s School matinee performances each season.   The planning starts months in advance when teacher’s call in and make reservations.    For the Fiddler on the Roof school matinees last week we offered two performances each day at 9:30am and 11:30am. Over 1500 students attended each day.The day before each school matinee, we have to decide where each group will sit, mapping out seating assignments for each class.  It’s a bit like putting together puzzle. On the day of the performance we arrive at the theatre at 8:00 am, brief the volunteer ushers (thanks everyone) at 8:30 and prepare for the arrival of the first students. We stay in communication with each other and the stage manager backstage with walkie talkies.  Soon we’re joined by two police offers who arrive to help with traffic flow. fiddler-school-mat-003.jpgfiddler-school-mat-035.jpg And then the kids arrive! It’s exciting to see the enthusiasm on their faces as they bound out of the busses and into the theatre.  For many of these students it is the first time that they have had the opportunity to see a live theatre performance.  We also prepare comprehensive teacher guides for these performances so teachers can incorporate what the kids see onstage with their academic curriculums.  The best part is hearing the reactions as students watch the show.  They are great audiences because the are uninhibited, laughing loudly, moving to the music, even booing the villains at times.   School performances are kept to around 70-75 minutes to make them more accessible to the studentts and they seem to relish every minute.fiddler-school-mat-023.jpgfiddler-school-mat-018.jpg When the show is over we have about 40 minutes to get the 800 students watching the first show out of the theatre and onto their buses and seat another 800 for the second performance that day.   Thanks to the ushers volunteers from our Volunteer Guild it all goes off smoothly.  You can imagine it is a very busy morning for the Charleston Stage staff who are working the matinees, but a most rewarding one!!!  The best part is seeing the smiles of the children as they leave the theatre.fiddler-school-mat-025.jpg  For information on booking a school matinee performance for your school next season or if you would like to join our Volunteer Guild. Contact us at 843-577-5967.  Beth Curley, Charleston Stage Box Office Manager

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