WALDOBORO — The Waldo Theatre welcomed more than 60 local children in the RSU 40 district Thursday, June 17, to perform their original creative pieces on stage. Titled “Festival of Original Plays,” this show celebrated the culmination of The Waldo’s spring in-school theatre education programs at three local schools and featured original stories, acting and performance created by area youth.

Designed by The Waldo’s teaching artist, Mia Branco, the InterAct in-school theatre education program focused on storytelling and performance, and emphasized communication skills, team-building, and self-confidence development. Medomak Valley High School alum Julia Clark worked as a teaching assistant for the spring program.

“On Thursday we watched students bring to life stories of mystery, humor and adventure,” said Branco. “I am so proud of all the hard work, creativity and teamwork that students put in to bring their vision to the stage. Having the opportunity to see students under the lights on the Waldo Theatre stage was a true joy.”

Managing Director Ken Stevenson said, “It was so great to hear those voices laugh and see those beaming faces on the stage — everyone in the theatre felt that pure joy of expression. We look forward to more performances like this in future that we share with our community.”

Represented were Ms. Harris’s 6th grade class from Friendship Village School, Ms. Munro’s 4th grade class from Union Elementary and Ms. Crawford’s 5th grade class from Prescott Elementary. “Your program is one of, if not the, best outside program that I have had students participate in over all of my years of teaching,” said Patricia Crawford, a 5th grade teacher at Prescott.

The Waldo plans on continuing to expand its youth programs with a youth theater summer camp with Branco July 11 through 22 (openings and scholarships are still available) and through a variety of after school classes at The Waldo this fall.

“We believe that central to The Waldo’s mission of connecting to our community through the performing arts is the need to reach area youth and families that are hungry for these types of programs,” said Board President Keri Lupien. “There are so many opportunities to connect with kids on a socio-emotional level through theater — it’s a wonderful way to build self-confidence, improve communication, and make new friends. We’re so lucky to have such an amazing resource with Mia.”

The Waldo Board of Directors would like to publicly thank the Onion Foundation, the Maine Community Foundation Expansion Arts Fund, and the Nellie Leaman Taft Foundation for underwriting and making these programs possible.