Matinee Series educational, fun

Grants provide scholarships for admission

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Sumter Opera House will begin its third annual Matinee Series of kid-friendly shows on Oct. 5, when Artrageous Artreach presents a one-hour version of its multimedia show at 11 a.m.

Seven more matinees will be presented, with two of them, Artrageous Artreach and Lightwire Theatre's Moon Mouse: A Space Odyssey also presented in the evenings in a longer version for general audiences, said Ellen Jansen, Community Improvement Coordinator for the City of Sumter.

The Matinee Series is made possible by Y.E.S. (Youth Education Scholarships), funded by grants from Duke Energy Foundation, other sources and private donors that cover the cost of admission and transportation for students. Jansen said a condition of the Duke grant was that underserved students be given first priority admission to the shows. Individual teachers and schools apply for the tickets, and if any remain after they are served, the public can purchase tickets at the regular prices, $10 for students and $15 for adults. There is no charge to the students in the Y.E.S. program. Teachers are required to complete exercises with their students both before and after they attend performances.

According to City of Sumter Cultural Manager Seth Reimer, Artrageous Artreach combines music, visual art, dance, puppetry and more in an interactive show that gets students involved in its high-energy performance.

The schedule for the Matinee Series presented by the Sumter Opera House is:

Artrageous Artreach, 11 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 5

The Theatreworks USA Production of Pete the Cat!, 9:30 and 11:30 a.m., Wednesday, Oct. 25

Based on the children's book series by Kimberly and James Dean, Pete the Cat! is a musical about the blue cat who's sent to live with the Biddle family to learn how a house cat should behave. Of course, Pete is definitely not a house cat, and all sorts of adventures result.

The Warehouse Theatre Presents "Othello," 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 27

An abridged version of Shakespeare's play about jealousy, love and evil, told in Shakespeare's own language. Warehouse Theatre, a leading Carolinas touring company, sets its "Othello" in the future.

The Theatreworks USA Production of The Cat in the Hat, 9:30 and 11:30 a.m., Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018

Dr. Seuss' famous, mischievous cat in the red-and-white striped hat creates chaos in this production based on the Seuss book of the same name. The cat is a sure cure for the boredom of a rainy day that confines Sally and her brother to the indoors. From the minute the Cat in the Hat says,"I know it is wet and the sun is not sunny, but we can have lots of good fun that is funny," their boredom is gone.

Theatreworks USA, based in New York City, was founded in 1961 and states its mission as to create, produce, and provide access to professional theatre for young and family audiences nationwide, including disadvantaged youth and under-served communities.

Virginia Rep presents Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad, 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018

The Richmond-based Virginia Repertory Theatre presents a tribute to Harriet Tubman, who escaped slavery in Maryland, became an abolitionist and helped other slaves escape on the Underground Railroad. Known for leading them to freedom, Tubman was called the Moses of Her People. She also was a spy for the Union during the Civil War. The drama features music, as well as Tubman's story.

The second-largest U.S. touring company with programs for young people, Virginia Rep presented a well-received program on the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the Opera House in February 2017.

Lightwire Theatre's Moon Mouse: A Space Odyssey, 11 a.m, Friday, March 16, 2018

Lightwire Theatre, based in New Orleans, will light up the Opera House with electroluminescent wires while combining theater, dance and technology. Lightwire Theatre literally brings illumination to the darkness with their magical performance "Moon Mouse:A Space Odyssey." The troupe's glow-in-the-dark show has mesmerized audiences around the world and across the U.S. "Moon Mouse" is a unique, family-friendly show that will be presented in a longer version at 7:30 p.m. Tickets will be available to the public. Check out the group's video at www.lightwiretheater.com.

ArcAttack, 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 11, 2018

This troupe uses the electrical coils invented by Nikola Tesla as instruments in a unique musical performance with guitars, a robot drummer, high voltage stunts and an educational component. ArcAttack was a semifinalist on "America's Got Talent," and has since taken this production around the country and the world.

Kid Power: Operation Lunch Line, 9:30 a.m. and noon, Thursday, April 19, 2018

Interactive and educational, while still highly entertaining, Kid Power's musical show helps kids learn more about the importance of nutrition and exercise. The troupe invites the audience to join them exploring the insides of the body of Max, a boy who doesn't eat healthy foods, is sedentary and just doesn't feel very good.

In Operation Lunch Line, the kids in the audience help Max out while learning how to use their "kid power" to make healthy choices themselves to feel great.

All performances will be presented at the Sumter Opera House, 21 N. Main St. For more information about the Sumter Opera House Matinee Series, visit the website www.SumterSC.gov/MatineeSeries or call (803) 436-2616. Call the same number for information about the Main Stage series, memberships and sponsorships, or visit www.SumterSC.gov/MainStageSeries.