The Thompson School put on their first play 6 years ago with the help of a grant from the then Arlington Educational Enrichment Fund (now AEF), the indefatigable efforts of parents who produced, wrote, directed, designed and put their heart and souls into the dream that Thompson kids have a chance to use the stage in their cafeteria as it was meant to be used—to perform. A mission arose from the energy that went into that first production: to allow any Thompson student that wanted a part in the play a chance, free of charge. And that they have fun. That tradition, which continues to this day, informs everything that the Thompson Drama Project does. As kids audition, they know that simply by being there, they have earned their time on stage. As parents agree to let their children do this, they know that while we really could use their help, they won’t be obligated to be there simply because their child has a part. Because we know that many of our parents have to work, sometimes 2 or even three jobs, and that this can stand in the way of their children’s opportunity to do things like this. At Thompson, it doesn’t stand in the way and the village that we are will cover it—and somehow, we always do.
This year we are once again proud to acclaim the work of two of the actors from that first play six years ago, Mara Steinitz and Melissa Thomas, who work tirelessly as Stage Managers. These Arlington High School sophomores attend every rehearsal and many meetings, and provide to the kids in the play a chance to see that they, too, may have a future at Thompson after they leave it’s doors, real or virtual, to move on to 6th grade. Watching these two work is truly inspirational, and while they may get the community service hours they need out of it, (and then some), it is the Thompson Drama community, kids and adults alike, that really reap the benefits. This is their third year running the show.
As you might imagine, the “every kid gets a part” rule precludes us from using well-known productions that don’t allow much leeway with the script. This year we are thrilled to have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to present a first-ever adaptation of a book called Leaping Beauty (and other animal fairy tales) by none other than Gregory Maguire, creator of the Broadway play Wicked, Concord parent and friend of Thompson Drama. We are truly grateful to Gregory for this amazing opportunity, and what we like to refer to as the “pre-Broadway” cast of Leaping Beauty and the Three Penguins and the Big Bad Walrus are working incredibly hard to prepare for their debut in Lowe Auditorium on April 11 and 12. Get it on your calendars!
The Thompson Drama project is an entirely volunteer-run organization dedicated to bringing the stage to kids who might not otherwise ever get a chance. They participate free of charge, and every Thompson student who wants to be in the play get a part. This year we have 45 3rd to 5th graders with on stage speaking parts, and we are just recruiting the K-2's who will be dancing ladybugs this year!
Without your help, the Thompson Drama Project would not be able to provide this chance to so many deserving and talented kids. Every penny of your donation goes directly to keeping the kids on stage. Please send donations of any amount to the Treasurer, Sarah Huber, at 24 Amherst St, Arlington MA, 02474.