Parnell library hosts free kids theater workshop
By STEPHANIE BRUMFIELD / Staff Writer
MONTEVALLO – Every year for the last 10 years now, the Parnell Memorial Library in Montevallo has hosted a free, two-week-long kids’ theater workshop.
And every year, the library sees an increase in attendance.
Pauline Beach, the workshop’s assistant director and former director of the library, said the library recruits kids interested in theater at surrounding schools. The library then hosts auditions, and each kid who auditions is automatically given a part in an original musical, Beach said.
This year, 35 kids ages 6-12 auditioned and received parts (compared to 24 kids last year) for a musical called “Seascales and Fishtails” written by Paul McEntee, the workshop’s director, who has been involved since the beginning.
Brady Brown, 11, plays a seahorse and has been participating in Parnell’s annual workshop for the last three years with his 12-year-old brother, Tucker.
“The musical is about three fish learning to swim and discovering the new world of the sea around them,” Brady said. “They’ve lived in a pond their whole life.”
After spending the weeks of July 8-12 and July 15-19 rehearsing two hours daily with McEntee and other theater enthusiasts, the kids will perform the show July 19 starting at 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.
“It’s neat because we get to dress up and make our own costumes,” Tucker said.
Erin Moeller, 9, said she enjoys the workshop because she learns a lot, but she also really enjoys working with McEntee.
“He is always fun, and he’s always smiling,” Erin said. “He turns your lines into a song even when they aren’t part of a song.”
Assisting McEntee is a team of volunteers and eight teen helpers. Some, like Sam Reece, participated in the workshop as children and now work behind-the-scenes. Now 14, Sam is now working offstage for the third year in a row, where he runs the spotlight, practices lines with kids, decorates sets and serves as a theater tech.
“It’s great,” Sam said. “It’s one of the best things about summer.”
Volunteers include parents, too. Sariah Homan has two kids involved this year, and she serves as the workshop administrator. She studied theater in college and enjoys sharing her knowledge with the kids.
“I love getting to work with the kids and see the difference (I’m making),” Homan said. “I see kids say lines without any meaning or action, and to bring that out of them, to see the click, that’s what I love.”
For more information, visit Parnellmemoriallibraryfoundation.org.