The Herald-Times

Ivy Tech's Waldron + BPP equals more theater options for kids

Marcela Creps
331-4375 |

May 1, 2011

BLOOMINGTON — It may surprise those who know him to learn that Chad Rabinovitz was a shy child.

And Rabinovitz, artistic director of the Bloomington Playwrights Project, understands how involvement in the theater can help children overcome their shyness to let their inner light shine.

This summer, children with an interest in various facets of theater will have the opportunity to participate in camps offered by the Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center and do just that.

Ivy Tech has partnered with the Bloomington Playwrights Project to offer a variety of theater classes to children ages 5-17.

Rabinovitz said many of the classes were offered over the years by BPP, but the partnership will allow them to expand their offerings to encompass more age groups.

“We do all this primarily because it is not what the school can offer but what the community needs,” Rabinovitz said.

Paul Daily, artistic director of the Waldron, called Rabinovitz “one of the most collaborative people in Bloomington,” which made it easy to launch the new Ivy Tech/BPP Theatre for Youth. Adding more youth programming is helpful for Ivy Tech, which offers Ivy Arts for Kids, as well.

“There was a time when we had no children’s programming,” said Susie Graham, director of Ivy Tech’s Center for Lifelong Learning.

So far, the classes are popular, with few spots remaining in some of the camps. One class, Girls Camp of Rock, is already full.

Theatre for Youth starts on June 9 with Broadway Kids, a new program designed for kids ages 5 to 8. When working with such young children, Rabinovitz said one of the keys is getting children comfortable with the act of storytelling. One way he does that is to play a game where each child contributes one line to a story.

DramatiCATS allows 8- to 12-year-old kids to write and perform original plays they develop. For the children, it is rewarding to see their work come to life as they perform it with one of the teachers. Daily recalled seeing one of last year’s DramatiCATS students watch as one of her scripts was performed by adults. He remembered how the girl’s face lit up while watching the performance.

“That’s what’s great, is to see what the kids imagined come to life,” Daily said.

When it comes to writing, Rabinovitz said the beauty of creating stories is its low cost.

“You don’t need money. You don’t need anything to do it,” he said.

Youth Musical Theatre Ensemble is geared for youth ages 10 to 17 and will culminate in a production of the musical “Zombie Prom.”

Rabinovitz enjoys working with children, who are often more open to letting go than adults.

“I find it unbelievably fun. It’s creative. I find it to be a bit of an outlet,” he said.

Many of the teachers who are brought in for the camps are experienced in teaching theater to children. With younger children, the classes are kept to a 1-to-5 ratio.

“It really is about being able to give one-on-one time,” Rabinovitz said.

The classes focus on process learning to create. Kids also learn to get comfortable with sharing what they create.

“For us, it’s really teaching that there is no wrong,” Rabinovitz said.

As a “terrified kid,” Rabinovitz said it took time for him to overcome his shyness. When working with children in the theater, he sees children develop the skills to overcome such shyness.

“You learn to use what you have rather than completely changing who you are,” Rabinovitz said.

While some children may fear messing up on stage or doing something wrong, Daily said campers learn how to move on and not dwell on mistakes that happen to everyone.

“That’s what rehearsal is all about — is making mistakes,” Daily said.

Summertime theater

Ivy Tech/BPP Theatre for Youth offers four summer camps, however, the Girls Camp of Rock class is already full. Classes run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Broadway Kids is for children ages 5 to 8 and runs June 9-17. Cost is $200.

DramatiCATS is for children ages 8 to 12 and runs June 20-July 2. Cost is $250.

Youth Musical Theatre Ensemble is for children ages 10 to 17 and runs July 11-Aug. 7. Cost is $475.

All camps are held at the Bloomington Playwrights Project, 107 W. Ninth St., Bloomington.

To learn more about each class or to register, check out or call 812-330-6041.

Chad Rabinovitz, above, artistic director of Bloomington Playwrights Project, is one “collaborative” person, says the Waldron’s Paul Daily. Joshua Boucher | Herald-Times

Copyright: 2011