A New Vice President On Board for Ole Olsen!

Blair Brown has been involved with Ole Olsen since he was eight years old. He is now a high school graduate, making this year a whole decade with the organization; having been part of Ole Olsen for more than half of his life. Acting is Blair’s biggest passion, so Ole Olsen has been an extremely important aspect of his life. To ensure a healthy, secure future for the organization, he feels it is important for a young person like himself to learn from Ole veterans about how to properly care for and operate the theater. So Blair threw his name in the hat & decided to run for VP. Winning by a slim margin, he will begin his duties July 1st. He is grateful for the opportunity to learn from some of Ole Olsen’s most experienced board members, and to help keep the organization run efficiently. Welcome aboard Blair!

Shakespeak to Kidspeak Workshop 6-8th grade

A small but enthusiastic group of five girls—Lehna Wagner, Zoe Kesler, Eve Uttinger, Makenna Johnson & Alexus Moss—spent a week in  Ole Olsen’s Kids Shakespeare Camp learning about the Bard.  Camp days were Monday-Friday 9 am—2 pm & were spent in a variety of historic, theatric, & artistic activities that focused on William Shakespeare’s time and plays.

As they learned about Shakespeare’s personal story, they studied his coat-of-arms and designed their own.  This artistic activity provided an opportunity to share their interests with each other.  Since Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre resembled a donut, the study of each part was reinforced by consuming that part of the donut.  Studying the influence of the Black Plague gave way to making a clove studded pomander ball & gathering flowers for their Medieval Feast table which concluded the last day of camp.  We all got together one evening for pizza party followed by attending a rehearsal of CTW’s The Tempest which showed them the opportunities that await them to perform Shakespeare for a Miami County audience.  The campers had already watched the DVD of some of the older players in CTW’s stage presentation of Romeo and Juliet.

Focusing on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, the campers studied Shakespeare’s lines, which we called Shakespeak, and as a group interpreted them & wrote the script for today’s Kidspeak.  Their final program was to perform scenes from Romeo and Juliet in Shakespeak and then spin it into Kidspeak script. The activities & performance of Romeo and Juliet taught Ole’s Kids to use their “Will Power.”


Auditions Set for Nunsense II—The Second Coming!

Mark your calendars for July 9th at 6 pm at the Peru Depot—our season opens with this hilarious musical comedy featuring five women as nuns. The script also has 3 small roles for men & a marionette. Below is a brief description of the characters to help you decide which role you’d like to audition for. After the show is cast, a read thru will be held on Sun, July 23rd. Rehearsals will begin Aug 6th & be held 3 times a week.

Sister Mary Regina, Mother Superior—a feisty leader who can’t resist the spotlight

Sister Mary Hubert, Mistress of Novices—second in command & always competing with Mother Superior.

Sister Robert Anne—A streetwise tough character from Brooklyn. A constant source of aggravation for Mother Superior.

Sister Mary Paul; aka Amnesia—This nun lost her memory after a crucifix fell on her head. She is very sweet.

Sister Mary Leo—She has entered the convent with the firm desire to become the first nun ballerina.



CTW’s “The Tempest” Reimagined

When coordinators Pat Piper & Tammy Hileman set out to organize a summer Shakespeare offering, they do all of the above.  They re-read the flowery dated text.  They re-do the script by typing it in sentence form (but do not change the language, after all, that’s half the fun of Shakespeare). They re-set it in strange lands or modern times with gender reversals and sometimes re-assignment of lines to different characters than Shakespeare originally intended. They add music. They RE-IMAGINE the works of the Bard.

In an unprecedented move, Coordinators and the Shakespearean Portrayers bring to you, for a second consecutive year, a re-imagined work.  For 2017, they will be presenting one of William Shakespeare’s final works: “The Tempest”.

The Tempest” has a bit of everything: star-crossed lovers, family betrayal, magic and sprites, and one heck of a shipwreck. Billed as a comedy, it is really a tragicomedy with all the universal human elements: love, hate, sacrifice, greed, trust and treachery and most importantly, forgiveness.

As in the past, the play will be performed by high school through college age students, something coordinators feel very passionate about. “This age benefits most, as this is when Shakespeare is a part of their classwork,” says Hileman, “we teach them not to fear. Shakespeare is meant to be heard, not read. Once they understand that, they’ve won half the battle.”

Piper continues, “we’ve often worried about billing them as “kids” performing Shakespeare for fear that could make a potential audience member believe it will be a performance where the “kids” stumble over words and pontificate as they would imagine a Shakespearean actor would.  It is not like that at all.  We work really hard so that the actors know WHAT they are saying and even if the audience doesn’t catch every word, they will get it.  Having travelled far and wide to see professional Shakespeare, we would confidently put our young Shakespearean Portrayers up against professional productions.”

Speaking of these fine, young actors, “The Tempest” cast, representing all three Miami County school systems and two Indiana colleges, are as follows: Kiley Stiers (Prospera), Ethan Kimm (Caliban), Avery Jackson (Ariel), Quenton Freeman (Stephano), Blake Martin (Sebastian) Lily McBride (Trinculo), Madison Krieg (Miranda), Dominick Gard (Antonio),April Wolfe (Gonzala), Austin White (Alonzo), Austin Hunter (Ferdinand), Isabella McBride (Swab), & Katie Parker (Swab). Sea shanty musical stylings by Aaron Birnell, Quentin Watson, & Aaron Jones as well as cast members Blake Martin and April Wolfe.

The Tempest” re-imagined as if it were a Pirates of the Caribbean story, will be presented on July 28, 29, 30 and August 4 & 5, 2017 at Maconaquah High School Auditorium.  These performances are FREE to the public.  Friday and Saturday shows are at 8pm and Sunday is at 2pm. Again, these performances are FREE, in an air conditioned auditorium that will have new seating.  You can’t go wrong for a family outing, savvy?

Shows are graciously sponsored by: NICF, REMC Roundup, Psi Iota Xi and Ryan Schmidt of Edward Jones and are offered in partnership with Ole Olsen Memorial Theatre and Maconaquah High School.

When asked WHY they feel so passionately about re-imagining Shakespeare, Piper and Hileman will bend your ear for hours. They will tell you they were inspired by Kurt Schindler modernizing and re-imagining Cole Porter songs as well as Jayne Kesler for starting a Shakespeare outreach program for junior high students.  They will cite that it is a cultural benefit to the entire community, a full immersion study project for the participants, and a recruiting mechanism for local theatres.  They will tell you that kids who participate in the arts have significantly higher test scores than those who do not; they will tell you that there is a place for EVERYONE in theatre and often those who do not excel in athletics or academics find a place to shine in the theatre.  All these things, and a passion for this project – for learning along with their Shakespearean Portrayers – keeps them Re-Imagining.  After all, “we are such stuff that dreams are made on, and our little lives rounded with sleep.” (William Shakespeare, “The Tempest”, Act 4, Sc 1).

Children’s Theater Group Begins Rehearsals for “Peter Pan”

Peter Pan is coming to the Ole Stage July 21st – July 23rd.  The magic of Peter Pan will remind the audience of the imagination that drives our children. Peter Pan comes to visit the three Darling Children: Wendy, Jill, & Michelle and whisks them away to Neverland where no one must grow up.  Peter Pan is plagued by his best enemy Captain Hook & her band of rowdy pirates.  The story is not complete without the help of the Lost Children & Indians to defeat the infamous Captain Hook.

This year our production has 25 children, 6 are returning to the Ole stage & the other 19 are all new to Ole Olsen. The Children’s Theater Group is welcoming children from the ages of 4-14 to take part in this adventure.  The Children’s Theater Group has children from all three school districts & most have little or no theater experience.

Director Stephanie Wagner & Assistant Director Tait Wagner are looking forward to this story being told to audiences.  This is Stephanie’s directorial debut & she is looking forward to having an exceptional performance.  “The children are working so very hard & they are so excited to be here and it’s been so much fun working with all of them.”

Stephanie is chairperson for the Children’s Theater Group for Ole Olsen.  Stephanie says that she loves theater & loves the opportunity to work with the children in bringing this play to life.  “Watching the kids learn & grow on this stage is such an amazing experience.  You can see it in their eyes that they understand what you are talking about & when they finally ‘get it’ it’s just so exciting! Right now, it’s fun to be at practice because the kids are so excited to be there and be up on stage.” Tait says that he is looking forward to seeing all the children’s hard work at rehearsal pay off when the play opens on July 21st.

The pair hopes to help expand our theater’s youth talent & know that by starting at these ages it gives the kids an opportunity to experience being up on stage & grow the seed of acting for all future performances.  The Wagner’s hope to continue being with the Children’s Theater Group for many more seasons.

Congratulations to the cast selected for Ole Olsen’s Children’s production of “Peter Pan!”

Peter Pan – Lehna Wagner
Tinker Bell – Taylor Johnson
Wendy Darling – Makenna Johnson
Michelle Darling – Maya Wagner
Jill Darling – Abby Duncan
Mr. Darling – Miguel Sebastian
Mrs. Darling – Bethany Ewer
Crocodile – Nikolai Wagner
Captain Hook – Eve Uttinger
Smee – Deklyn Finnegan
Skylight – Braxton Caldwell
Starkey – Olivia Marshall
Noodles – Kiearra Springer
Cookie – Victoria Moss
Sweetie – Bethany Ewer
Lost Children:
Raccoon – Madison Caldwell
Fox – Landon Caldwell
Hop – Lily Peebles
Cubby – Alexius Moss
Squirrel -Alexandria Manchester
Chief Big Panther – Miguel Sebastian
Tiger Lilly – Kaylee Hewitt
Chattering Chipmunk – Nikolai Wagner
Raging Water – Landyn Wagner
Everyone did such a GREAT JOB! We are so excited for this production and everyone is going to be so great!