Windsor’s Youth Theatre was created in 1985 by Fran Elligers to share her passion of musicals and acting with the children of Windsor. The program started out with eight students, and over the past 26 years, the theater group has grown to more than 50 children spending countless hours preparing to put on a performance for friends, families and community members.
Elligers passed away unexpectedly in 2010, but the theater she created endures in her memory under the direction of Kelsey Fitzsimmons and Lauren (Pouliot) Rozak, students of Elligers and longtime members of the group.
After an initial audition class, the group of participating students is typically separated by grade and begins to work on a variety of skills for their performance, which is only a few months away. Fitzsimmons said the first step in the rehearsals is to start slow and teach “Theatre 101” to the children so they understand the real mechanics of being on stage.
These basic mechanics include learning stage directions like “stage right” or “upstage,” learning how to always face the audience, as well as how to forget about the audience and become a part of the show and be a part of the action onstage.
After the basic mechanics are taught and roles are cast, the group will begin to rehearse the performance, running lines and choreographing the children’s moves and dances. While running lines, the children are taught how to project their parts to the audience as well as how to use their bodies to tell a story.