Island community values art for and by our young folks

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Young actors in the cast of "Mulan Jr." presented by Main Street Youth Theatre. COURTESY MAIN STREET YOUTH THEATRE

We should count ourselves lucky. We live in a community that values creating experiences for the young to participate in the arts. Heck, even the name of one of our elementary schools is School for the Creative Arts.

One of the great opportunities available to our young people is Main Street Youth Theatre.

MSYT began in the early 1990s as a project of then drama teacher Elizabeth Goodwin. According to current board chair Cinda Seamon, "Many people were responsible for the growth and success of MSYT, but Judy Gallagher and her family, by their support, have given MSYT the ability to reach into our community to grow and develop new generations of youth. Sadly, Judy passed away at a young age, but her vision of putting youth in the spotlight lives on."

MSYT continues to create a family-centered, community theatre where performers are local children, their parents and other community adults.

This season, Main Street Youth Theatre will produce "Peter Pan Jr." in March, directed by Diane Fisher-Simmons; "Seussical the Musical," directed by Josh Wall in June; and a holiday show that will be announced later in the year. There are so many fantastic opportunities for our kiddos.

If your kids want to get involved, consider encouraging them to audition "Peter Pan Jr." Jan. 8. You can find more information at Facebook.com/MSYouthTheatre.

In addition to Main Street Youth Theatre, our public and private schools have thriving arts programs and community members will be able to catch some fantastic musicals starring the students of the island.

Hilton Head Island High School will be presenting "Matilda the Musical" at the Seahawk Cultural Center this spring with a cast that draws talent from the high school, middle school and Hilton Head Elementary.

Also, this spring, Hilton Head Preparatory School will be bringing our community an exciting production of "Beauty and the Beast."

It is a privilege that there is so much musical theatre for us to enjoy - all created by our very own young people.

And even if you don't have a child of your own in theatre, grab a ticket or two to these shows - so that you can say you saw them "back when."

Jennifer McEwen is the director of the Town of Hilton Head Island's Office of Cultural Affairs. CultureHHI.org

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