Late last month, four professional actors, including Starlight Theatre’s education and outreach manager, Andy Pierce, brought smiles and inspiration to children, parents and staff at Children’s Mercy Hospital with Just Imagine, an interactive theatre program.
Four actors lead each performance, bringing with them props and specially designed costumes to take children on a fun, fast-paced theatrical journey. In recent years, Starlight’s troupe of actors has brightened the days of hundreds of children and adults at area sites including Hope House, Kids TLC, KVC Academy, KU Medical Center, Horizon Academy and more. For audiences like Children’s Mercy Hospital, costumes are made exclusively for the performance by Kansas City Costume Company, and are vacuum sealed for protection of the patients.
In 2019, the program is rapidly expanding. For the first time, Just Imagine has two full performance troupes – allowing the program to commit to more performances, and have numerous people trained to play multiple roles. This year’s goal is 40 performances, and Starlight is proud to be on track to achieve it!
The program has also added a new script, geared toward older youth. The troupe will start rehearsing the new show for teens and tweens April 7 at Starlight.
“The magic of a Just Imagine performance is its ability to transport audiences to a happy place where they can leave their life challenges behind, if even for only an hour,” said Barb Schulte, vice president of education and outreach at Starlight. “We are so excited and proud to be able to extend this program’s reach in Kansas City."
Generously supported by a donation in memory of Richard J. Van Winkle Jr., Starlight’s Just Imagine program reaches some of Kansas City’s most vulnerable residents, particularly children struggling with illness in a hospital setting or being served by social service agencies. These youngsters get a chance to use their imaginations and briefly escape life’s challenges during the hour-long performances.
For more information or to inquire about booking the troupe for a performance, contact Barb Schulte, Starlight Theatre’s vice president of education and outreach, at firstname.lastname@example.org.