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The sounds of singing, acting, laughter and fun can be heard every Monday evening by Peter’s Township neighbors as children ages 5 through 12 rehearse with Alabaster Theatre’s Youth Division, honing performance skills and building confidence.

Alabaster
Colina Montgomery, age 8, of Peter's Township rehearsing for Alabaster Children's Neighborhood Theatre voice class.

“Many students come in the door shy and uncertain, but with a heartfelt desire to sing and dance,” says director, Mary McCormack, who holds a Master of Music degree from Duquesne University and over 20 years of professional musical theatre touring experience. “Confidence is key to unlocking the door to these kids’ power house of creativity. The atmosphere in our classes is supportive. From the first night of rehearsal, our students immediately find themselves on stage learning blocking and memorizing a production number.”

Alabaster Theatre, a non profit company, brings musical theatre classes to neighborhoods so they are accessible but high quality. The lesson plans are designed to be age appropriate, teaching children correct vocal technique and staging fundamentals through “hands on learning.” Alabaster’s young voice lesson students go “on tour” to local assisted living facilities, including Vanadium Woods and Strabane Trails. This inter-generational aspect of Alabaster’s classes brings young and old together, benefitting all involved, while smiling parents look on.

“My child normally has a hard time paying attention in class,” says one parent. “But she loves to sing and dance and has no trouble following directions and staying on task when she comes to Alabaster rehearsals.”

McCormack, the director and founder of the program wanted to create a means to combat the bullying epidemic by helping students focus their energy on talent development, with goals, discipline and a high infusion of confidence. “Our musical theatre students are even required to make their bed while they are enrolled to instill organizational and self management skills,” says McCormack, who has recorded several albums and currently tours with Alabaster Theatre’s professional company.

Alabaster Theatre’s Youth production of The Little Mermaid will run through March 11, 2019 and will take place in Peter’s Township at St. David’s Church at 905 E. McMurray Road. For further information, call Alabaster Theatre (724) 516-5189 or visit www.AlabasterChildrensNeighborhoodTheatre.org.

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