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Community theater fills void for youth

In recent years, there has been an increased focus on math and science in the schools, often at the expense of fine arts programs which have been reduced or eliminated. The Idaho Falls Youth Arts Centre offers several programs to fill that void. It sponsors a choir, a violin strings program and musical theater.

They are currently doing “Peter Pan” at the Idaho Falls Civic Auditorium.

“I think it’s really fun because you get to meet new friends and get new experiences,” elementary school age student Kinzley Lewis said.

It’s the goal of the nonprofit Idaho Falls Youth Arts Centre to provide opportunities like this.

“Our mission is to serve under-served youth so kids that would never get the opportunity to be in a choir, do strings programs such as violin or be in a performance such as ‘Peter Pan’ can do so”, Executive Director Tina VanderMeer said. “So we reach out to the schools and different organizations and let them know we provide scholarships.”

Paul Menser, who plays Captain Hook, is happy a void is being filled.

“I mean there is more to life than math and science,” Menser said. “This teaches you to be a person. This teaches you to deal with other people. It just adds so much more to your life because you can be somebody else rather than what people are telling you to be. It opens up your imagination to possibilities that might not have existed otherwise.”

For the young cast members, it’s about more than building their own talents.

“When you do it, you’re just really excited for the show,” Chirstin Johnson said. “You feel so happy you’re able to do something for someone else and let them enjoy what you’ve worked on for so many years and I just think that’s great.”

Kinzley Lewis added, “You get to have fun. You get to clap along and you get to crow. It’s super fun. You also get to believe you can really fly by thinking of wonderful things.”

For more information, go to the Idaho Falls Youth Arts Centre website at “Peter Pan” runs Saturday, Monday and Tuesday at the Idaho Falls Civic Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. with a 2 p.m. matinee Saturday. Tickets are available at the door.

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