Important lessons in the theater

Published 8:53 pm Thursday, May 14, 2015

Be innovative. Work hard. Be the best you can be.

Important lessons, all, especially for kids. With an uncertain future brimming with possibilities, children need to see plentiful examples of successful people who can show them the way.

The Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts is helping out with that. This season, it has welcomed more than 3,600 students from schools and day care centers in Suffolk and surrounding localities.

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The students got to see kid-friendly shows ranging from a rhythm-filled performance by Black Violin to the Virginia Opera’s production of “The Princess and the Pea.”

For many of the students, it is their first trip to a live theater performance, executive director Jackie Cherry told me. She said one student even asked if the president lived there, because he had never seen drapes before except in pictures of the White House.

Black Violin played some classical violin but then got into songs their young audience would more easily recognize during their show on May 1, which I attended to do a story on the center’s school show series. They imparted the lesson on innovation both with their words and with their music, as they mixed the violin with drums and a disc jockey and sometimes plucked the violin as if it were a guitar.

“Whatever you do, just make sure you’re doing it better and different than anyone else has ever done it,” Black Violin’s Ked Marcus said to the students.

“Thinking outside the box is what this whole show is about,” said Wil Baptiste of Black Violin.

Thanks to the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts and its many partners in the school show series for making this kind of inspiration happen for local kids. It is vital that we prepare today’s children for what they face in the future, and the lessons they learned in the theater can translate to any endeavor they choose.