Tuesday, October 13, 2015

WATCH: Wheelock Family Theatre's Production of "The Trumpet of the Swan" - Trailer

Can a brass horn be the key to love? Louis, a trumpeter swan, is different from his sibling cygnets, for he was born without voice, but with great diligence, patience, and resilience, Louis learns to play the trumpet and communicate his thoughts and feelings through the power of music. E. B. White’s award-winning story is inspired by the natural world and our own very human need to connect and to communicate.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Theatre as a Rehearsal for Life!

Education Programs at Wheelock Family Theatre

Wheelock Family Theatre’s Education Programs are sustained by both a professional theatre staff and Wheelock College, whose mission is improving the quality of life for children and families. Child-development faculty from Wheelock College work with artist-educators from WFT to create a challenging and rigorous theater curriculum that is available throughout the year. The result is a dynamic and exciting education program for students between the ages of 5 and 18. A scope and sequence process can inspire at any age. Some young people might pursue a career in the arts, some may develop an appreciation for patronage, and others might take the practices of critical thinking and creative problem solving into business or science. WFT wants to develop healthy, caring, engaged citizens with the necessary tools and skill sets for life!

Build young imaginations! Use movement, character play, and exercise improvisational skills in classes that foster a student’s creative and social development. Performance skills connect to child and adolescent theory and practice, and help young people learn not just the how but also the why of onstage thoughts, feelings, and actions.  Beyond the stage these are the first tools for success in everyday life.

Our classes for youth can develop and expand a student’s toolbox of skills.  Reaching children through play-acting, storytelling, character development, visualization, and vocal and physical exercises can build a student’s confidence, empathy, collaboration, trust, and other social/critical skills. Theatre can be a rehearsal for life!

Teenagers who are interested in expanding their skill sets in performance are offered a robust selection of weekly classes throughout the year. The Emerging Playwrights Program is designed for teens to enhance writing skills, develop scripts, and prepare staged readings with local actors and directors. Intensives during the school vacation weeks offer rigorous training in voice, movement, scene and character development, and the audition-based summer classes: Story Troupers, Musical Scene Study, Advanced Performance, are serious conservatory classes for teen artists.

All students in WFT Education Programs are invited to audition for main stage shows for appropriate roles. Age, audition specifics, and the rehearsal/performance schedule should be considered.

If you would like our help in selecting the best choice(s) for your child, please contact Lloyd Woodcock at 617-879-1175 or lwoodcock@wheelock.edu

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

WFT - Pioneers in Access and Inclusion

Since 1981, WFT has interpreted every production in American Sign Language.

Access has not been limited to our audiences—actors who are blind, deaf, and physically disabled have consistently been given performance opportunities on our stage. WFT was one of the few theatres in America to offer a theatre education program for deaf teen-agers, receiving the Coming Up Taller Award from the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities.  From 1992 to1998, PAH! Deaf Youth Theatre provided creative and social learning opportunities for deaf teens. 

In 2001 WFT produced “My Hands Remember”, an award-winning production about a Deaf holocaust survivor. 

In 2003, WFT worked with The Learning Center for Deaf Children and the Horace Mann School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing on The Island Project, a multi-disciplinary program involving students, teachers, artists and theater professionals and developed the play, “A Nice Place to Live”, by Adrian Blue and Catherine Rush, about the history of Martha’s Vineyard and the manual language used by the population that was instrumental in the development of ASL. 

In 2004 WFT produced “Hey Sista, Welcome Home” by Aisha Knight Shaw, a local theatre artist.  In 2006 WFT produced Lisa Thorson’s “JazzArtSigns”, a production promoting universal access through music and painting and ASL and audio-description. In 2015, Wheelock Family Theatre produced The Ware Trilogy with Emerson Stage and Central Square Theater, presenting part two of Suzan Zeder's trilogy, A Taste of Sunrise.

Friday, July 24, 2015

WFT's new Director of Education: Lloyd Woodcock

WFT is pleased to welcome Lloyd Woodcock to the Wheelock community as Wheelock Family Theatre’s new Director of Education. Lloyd began on July 1 and already has endeared himself to students, parents, and teachers alike. Prior to WFT, he worked with the celebrated “TADA! Youth Theatre” in New York. As the former Theatre Coordinator of the New York City Department of Education’s public schools, Lloyd oversaw multiple programs and collaborations, including those with the Shubert Foundation and Music Theatre International Broadway Jr. While in New York City he served as Associate Director of The Forum Project, where he created programming that promoted dialogue around issues of power, privilege, and oppression. He also assisted with the planning of professional development workshops for educators, activists, and community-based workers. As Site Director of Wingspan Arts, Lloyd supervised operations of their after-school programs and served as a liaison between the principal, school staff, and parents. He also oversaw administration, curricula, and staffing for the organization’s Education Department. Lloyd earned an MSEd in Educational Theatre from the City University of New York [CUNY] City College in New York. We are thrilled that he is now a member of WFT’s team!

Monday, June 29, 2015

John Bay's Retirement Party brought out the Big Wigs!



And a great big thank you to John Bay upon his retirement!

To the Wheelock Community,

It is with mixed emotions that I write to inform you that John Bay is retiring, effective June 30. As WFT’s first full-time Director of Education John built a model program that continues to thrive. Firmly grounded in child development and multiple intelligences theories, he hired and mentored countless teachers in a child-centered approach to teaching and learning through and about the arts. He developed longstanding partnerships with schools and organizations to make classes available to students who are most in need. With intelligence, thoughtful planning, a collaborative spirit, and openness to new approaches, John made the WFT’s education program a crucial component of the theatre.

More recently he launched a drama and autism initiative with Wheelock College faculty that not only has inspired Wheelock students, but also yielded articles and conference presentations, bringing recognition to both the College and WFT. John truly embodies the mission of both the College and the Theatre. He has improved the lives of generations of young people; parents; WFT teachers and staff; Wheelock students, faculty, and staff; and members of the wider community by helping us realize our creative potential.

We thank John for working tirelessly on our behalf and wish him well as he pursues new projects, and hopefully stays involved in the drama and autism initiative. It is an understatement to say John will be greatly missed.

Yours truly,

Wendy Lement


Wheelock Family Theatre

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Carla Martinez. Actor Profile SHREK THE MUSICAL.

"During my final semester in college, I saw an audition posting for a production of Oliver! at Wheelock Family Theatre. I was new to the Boston theater scene and was hoping to find a company that would welcome me with open arms. That's exactly what WFT did.

Being an actor of color, I always have a million questions running through my mind before heading to an audition. As I walked into WFT that day, I kept saying 'there's no way they're going to cast an Hispanic woman in Oliver.' I was surprised to see so many actors of all shapes, sizes, and COLORS waiting for the dance call. The environment (even though it was an audition) was calm and warm. People were catching up and reminiscing about their time in past WFT shows. Jane Staab even met each auditioner at the door, shook our hands, and walked us all the way to the front of the theatre to meet the music director. I knew from that moment on, if I were to get cast, WFT would become a very special place to me.

Now, as I'm getting ready to open my fourth show, the word 'home' so accurately describes how I feel about WFT. I'm honored to stand on a stage that's accessible to so many different communities. Our ASL performances are some of my favorites and I love getting the chance to interact with the audience during talkbacks. WFT also offers tickets at a number of different prices, so that everyone has a chance to experience live theater; regardless of whether or not they can afford it.

I'm forever grateful for not only the experiences, but the love that WFT has shown me in the short time that I've worked there. Thank you to everyone behind the scenes for being fearless pioneers of inclusion and also to the patrons who continue to donate to this incredible company. It's good to be home!"

Annie Kerins, Carla Martinez, and Jillian Couillard as the 3 Blind Mice in the WFT production of SHREK THE MUSICAL.

Gamalia Pharms. AEA Actor at WFT for many seasons now...

"I feel so blessed to be a part of this amazing WFT production, and to once again be surrounded by a WFT cast that so fully represents our wonderful audiences - all of humanity.

I have loved the story of Shrek from first seeing the film when it came out in movie theaters. The message of acceptance, and that love comes in all shapes, sizes and colors is a message WFT fully embraces, with its mission of inclusion and diverse casting policies since its inception in 1981.
From my first job at WFT back in 1985, Glinda in The Wizard of Oz, I knew I had found a place where I truly felt welcome and belonged – a true family. I have enjoyed being a member of many casts here at WFT that reflect the diversity of Boston in all aspects - race, age, gender, and individuals with disabilities."

Gamalia is a member of Actors’ Equity Association and has appeared at Wheelock Family Theatre in: the Elliot Norton Award winning production of Hairspray, The Wizard of Oz (three productions), The Hobbit, Cinderella, A Little Princess (two productions), Kiss Me Kate, The Good Times Are Killing Me, Ole' Sis Goose, The Sound of Music, Beauty and the Beast, The Beanstalk, The Giant and Jack, Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse (two productions), Pippi, Honk, Seussical, Hello Dolly, Oliver!, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Trumpet of the Swan, Anne of Green Gables, Stuart Little, Aladdin, My Fair Lady, Once Upon a Mattress, and Phantom Tollbooth.

Jon Allen, Gamalia Pharms, and Tyla Collier in WFT's HAIRSPRAY 2014.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Review Quotes! Everybody Loves Shrek!

“Wheelock's delightful and energetic Shrek sends a positive and timely message about not judging ourselves or others by what's on the outside rather than by what's on the inside. In our looks-obsessed society, it's a message that kids can't hear enough.”
-Margaret Hagemeister; Boston Events Insider

“The performance itself was… full of heart, dedication and sincerity. The ensemble cast sings and dances their hearts out, and their comedic timing is on point.”
-Meghan B. Kelly; WickedLocal.com

“You will be treated to a very entertaining, fun and professional performance. I was really impressed with everything from the wardrobe to the dance numbers. The cast did an amazing job in making all fairy-tale creatures come to life. You can tell the little kids and little kids at heart enjoyed the show by the sound of the infectious laughter in the theater.”
–Nicole; 5StarMommy

“Shrek the Musical was one of the best musicals I have ever seen. My favorite part was when Donkey fell down from the sky. Lord Farquaad, as tiny as he is, will make you laugh your head off. Fiona is sassy, rude, and sweet all at the same time. I know this, you’re going to leave this play with a smile!”
 -Makenna; 5StarMommy

“Weird or not, I can guarantee that your kids will love the show.”
-Victoria Burdman; At Home in Boston

“I laughed even more than the children in the audience.”
–Beverly Creasey; Boston Arts Review

“Wheelock’s production is a good one that executes the material well. Shrek himself (Christopher Chew) is impressive and consistent in the title role, Shonna Cirone brings the same biting sarcasm Sutton Foster did in her role as Fiona, Mark Linehan steals the show in the physically taxing role of Farquaad, and Maurice Parent wins over every kid in the audience with his Donkey. The ensemble, which includes everything from eighth graders to professionals, are versatile and energetic, and the puppetry used for the Dragon is masterful.”
-Jamie Loftus; Boston.com

“Sometimes you just have to trust the kids. The first glimpse of Wheelock Family Theatre’s Shrek is a surprise. Instead of the round, green, smoothly computer-animated ogre of the movie, this Shrek is tall and hairy, with a lumpy green headpiece and mossy dreads. But as played by Christopher Chew in Wheelock’s “Shrek the Musical,” this ogre was a hit with the children…. they laughed and cheered and clapped in all the right places.”
-Joel Brown; Boston Globe

“Okay, so maybe it's not so simple to create an engaging and entertaining show that appeals to both kids and adults. But the Wheelock Family Theatre's production of Shrek the Musical, about a grouchy ogre, a feisty princess and a loquacious but kindhearted donkey, does it, and does it so well that when the curtain closed on the final makes-you-want-to-dance-in-your-seat song, my 9-year-old son and I looked at each other and said, "We want to see that again!"
-Michelle Curran; Mommy Poppins
“Do not make the monstrous mistake of missing this show!”
–Al Chase; White Rhino Report

“From the colorful, sparkling, feathery costumes to the beautiful backdrop lighting and transformative sets, all of the show's visual elements are first-rate.”
-Sarah Chantal Parro; Talkin’ Broadway