Hundreds of happy and enthusiastic fifth- and seventh-grade students packed the Struthers Library Theatre in downtown Warren on Monday morning for some entertaining education by a professional troupe of actors.
Sue Spencer, artistic director for the theater, said the production, "Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory," is an historical rendering of the Civil War, as a part of the theater's Arts and Education program.
She said the theater tries to do three productions a year one tailored for elementary students, one for middle school students and one for high school students in cooperation with the Warren County School District.
Times Observer photo by Rob Andersen
A musical history tour
From left, Jazelle Foster, Bryan Hall, Andrew Goins on guitar and Caitlin Sneed perform for a packed house. The quartet of actors presented “Mine Eyes have Seen the Glory” in a cooperative effort between the Struthers Library Theatre and the Warren County School District’s Arts and Education program.
Spencer said Jen Dilks, an academic teacher-coach with the school district, matches shows to specific educational needs and standards within the schools.
The program is entirely funded by the DeFrees Family Memorial Fund, and presents live theater to children, she said.
Monday's presentation was performed by four actors with Theatre IV from Richmond, Va. Caitlin Sneed, Jazelle Foster, Bryan Hall and Andrew Goins brought their considerable musical talents to the stage with 12 songs representing issues in the Civil War, including the "Battle Hymn of the Republic" as the final piece.
Sneed said, "We started in January, and went on the road in early February. We generally do eight to ten shows a week, sometimes as many as 14. Most of the shows are done in schools, but some are in theaters, like here."
She added that the Struthers Library Theatre is a beautiful venue.
"So many kids came out today. To look up into the balcony, and speak to the back of the theatre was great," she said. "It was definitely one of the largest audiences we have had."
Goins, who is in his second season with the organization, said he had done a lot more traveling this season.
"The show has been well received," he said.
Foster said they have been traveling in a 15-passenger van, along with the set, the sound system and their luggage, throughout the eastern United States, and Hall added that they are tired.
The company has traveled the area defined by Kansas, Texas, Florida and Maine.
Their final performance of the season was for the public Monday evening at the theater, for parents and adults as well as children.