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Live Theatre Workshop sets the stage for local youth to shine

Education program builds confidence and community
Posted: 2:38 PM, Aug 03, 2022
Updated: 2022-08-03 18:00:13-04

Each month, KGUN 9 features a different local non-profit organization as part of our Giving Project—Doing Well, by Doing Good.

In August, as kids start heading back to school, we take an in-depth look at an organization that's introducing young people to live theatre.

It's another summer camp day at Live Theatre Workshop.

In one theatre, kids are singing and dancing.

In another theatre, more kids rehearsing their song.

Live Theatre Workshop has been providing adults, kids and families the opportunity to experience live theatre since 1996.

"This place is bustling. At any given moment, you will see kids singing in one room and actors rehearsing in another room and costumers putting costumes together," said Executive Director Michael Martinez.

"All of that was impossible before the community really rallied behind our cause and our vision."

That vision was a brand new Live Theatre Workshop campus on Fort Lowell near Country Club.

They're now in the new space which houses multiple theatres, and allows them to build sets and create costumes.

Most importantly, it allows Live Theatre Workshop to expand its theatre programs for kids.

"The benefits in theatre, of theatre in the community is really amazing.

It does so much for our kids, it does so much for the economy and it really makes Tucson a vibrant community.”

~Live Theatre Workshop Executive Director Michael Martinez

Amanda Gremel, Director of Children's Programs, knows first hand about taking advantage of Live Theatre Workshop.

She describes her younger self: "I was a pretty shy kid in high school."

While attending Palo Verde High School, Gremel kept a promise to her dad that she would try theatre.

After taking part in Live Theatre Workshop's education program, she's never left.

"It has just become my second home," said Gremel.

Twenty years later, she oversees an education program that reaches more than 20 schools throughout Tucson.

She's able to make a strong connection with those students trying theatre for the first time.

"'Oh, I used to be you, that came in really shy, not wanting to participate',” said Gremel, relating her own experience to that of new students.

“Being able to talk to them on their level and making them feel comfortable in a place where they can take risks. Sometimes they surprise themselves," she said.

Part of Live Theatre Workshop's education program is to go into area high schools and make a positive impression on students who may not have thought about acting or performing.

"At Live Theatre Workshop our mission is to create a space that is welcoming for everyone.

We really lean into that in our teaching approach."

~Amanda Gremel, Director of Children's Programs

We invite you to consider making a donation to Live Theatre Workshop. Even $5 or $10 will make a difference.

Our partner in the Giving Project, the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona, is matching the first $500 in donations again this month.

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Pat Parris is an anchor and reporter for KGUN 9. He is a graduate of Sabino High School where he was the 1982 high school state track champion in the 800 meters. While in high school and college, he worked part-time in the KGUN 9 newsroom. Share your story ideas and important issues with Pat by emailing pat.parris@kgun9.com or by connecting on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.