A familiar face could be found on the stage of the Thomas H. Craig Center For Performing Arts at Vermillion High School last week.
Kevin Earlywine, who starred in the Vermillion Community Theatre (VCT) production of “Oklahoma” and who directed the local theatre’s offering of the musical “My Fair Lady,” was back in town last week helping approximately 30 Vermillion youngsters have the opportunity to, like him, experience theatre in the performing arts center.
He, Shelby Bauer and Austin Vetter are part of the Dakota Players, an outreach of the Black Hills Playhouse. Last week, the two helped conduct the VCT’s annual summer Children’s Theatre Workshop in Vermillion.
The workshop is an Artist in Residency program and is sponsored by a grant from the South Dakota Arts Council. The show is funded by participant fees, box office receipts and the SD Arts Council grant.
After participating in various children’s workshops all of last week, the young actors presented the play, “X Is For Zebra,” to an enthusiastic audience last Friday.
The play, Earlywine said, teaches both the cast and audience members that it is okay to be different. “It’s more important to be yourself than try to fit into a group,” he said.
The Dakota Players and the Black Hills Playhouse give kids a chance to learn what it’s like to be onstage and work with actors.
“I think the beauty of all of our shows is they all have very good messages,” Earlywine said, adding that the children’s theatre is the only outlet of its kind for some young people.
“So many times I’ll have a kid say to me ‘I want to do what you’re doing,’” he said. “This is for kids who aren’t into sports, for example, but they have a different type of talent.”