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Raise the Curtain

Theatre Lawrence Executive Director Jamie Ulmer Explains the Importance of Introducing Theater to Children

Article by Linda Ditch

Photography by Linda Ditch and Provided by Theatre Lawrence

Originally published in Lawrence City Lifestyle

LCL: Do you remember the first theater show you ever saw?

Ulmer: I can't remember which one came first, but it was either "Fiddler on the Roof" or "The Music Man" by the high school in the town where I grew up. They would do a matinee performance for the elementary school as their final dress rehearsal. As a second grader, that was my first real introduction to theater. And I just remember being blown away by what they were doing.

LCL: Why should kids be introduced to the theater?

Ulmer: There are studies that conclusively prove the sooner you introduce kids to the arts, the better. If that's taking them to a museum, a little concert, or enrolling them in a class, the sooner you expose kids to quality arts, the more they will see its value. That's why here at Theatre Lawrence, we've been pushing to expand our education programming.

LCL: What do you offer?

Ulmer: Emily Giles is our education director. She has done a tremendous job of expanding what we offer educationally from our School's Out, Theater's In program to the summer camp workshops. We're offering music and introduction to theater classes for even little, little kids. We had to put a disclaimer in the Tiny Troopers program enrollment form saying the child must be potty trained. But the sooner you introduce them to theater, the better.

To sign kids up for Theatre Lawrence classes or check out the new season that begins in September, visit theatrelawrence.com.

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