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Is the Palo Alto Children's theater lossing it's gem luster?

Original post made by 78sun, Community Center, on Aug 17, 2009

The children's theater gained it's popularity through the spirit of the children. It was created to support the children in the community. It was a safe, fun and morally positive experience of performing on stage.

Since the new crew has arrived with fiery to change everything, it is less about the kids and more about "something else???" Pressures from the city to be profitable and pressures from the Friends to prove that they are making the right decisions. What about the children!!!

If you give a mouse a cookie will have a cast of only "three children" I have heard...Have you heard that the current crew is actually afraid of children!!! More and more of the plays are casting fewer children.

Practices Monday - Sunday now...who cares about a fun experience for the kids or their well-being...the new crew wants to "make the theater more professional!" And the Friends are happy to point out the fact that the theater has a new bill board, sound system, or a Grant...Wow!!! but What about the children?

Let's have try-outs on the first day of PAUSD school they say...who cares about the kids?...They were hired to turn the once "Children's theater" into a less beloved place of community.

Who cares about the kids? They have taken out all the fun in the play subjects and make sure that 75% of the plays to our young children are dark subjects of death and betrayal, and audutery ...

And to top it...the new crew just smiles and will not listen to the community that once made the theater a special gem. They will just have to wait until they have changed enough that no one shows up any more.

Comments (6)

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Posted by Kate
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 17, 2009 at 12:50 pm

This has been simmering since last fall and is edging toward disaster. Could it be that the choice of a new director was also not a good one - but it is risky to say so less one be accused of you-know-what. Something is wrong here. City Hall, wake up.


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Posted by 78sun
a resident of Community Center
on Aug 17, 2009 at 1:14 pm

Dear Kate,
Thank you...I agree. It is good to know that others feel the same and see that something is not right!


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Meadow Park
on Aug 17, 2009 at 7:28 pm

"Something is wrong here. City Hall, wake up." This has nothing to do with City Hall. PACT is an independent entity. The fact that it's subsidized to the tune of $1M. from the taxpayers of Palo Alto is pure generosity which should end. PACT should be left to sink or swim on their own.


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Posted by Solon
a resident of Professorville
on Aug 18, 2009 at 10:55 am

Don't the parents and friends run the theater and make all the decisions?
Shouldn't the City give funding only, make no decisions, leave that up to the parents and Friends who should run it?


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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 20, 2009 at 2:37 pm

I hate to sound like a broken record, however, why is it that if your child participates in Children's Theater, the City pays, but if your child plays Little League Baseball, you pay?


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Posted by Miss The Old PACT
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Aug 30, 2009 at 8:33 pm

My opinion is that PACT no longer is the warm, all-inclusive place it once was. It used to be that every child who was brave enough to come to auditions would get a part. So, maybe they were a rock or a tree or a shrub, but they got the experience of being on stage. Eventually, they might even get a speaking part and find themselves center stage as part of that evolution. They learned self confidence. They got a wonderful positive experience, they learned teamwork as well as what was involved in producing a show.

Now? Not so much. The casts have been scaled back, and I was told by one staff member that the previous practice of including all the kids who wanted to perform was too hard on the staff and too much work.

The result? Now, the children who audition are 'cast for the part' which basically means that a child who's shy and reserved will not get the chance to have the experience that might very well help them come out of their shell. They will face rejection, and that will drive them further into that shell. Nice. Way to go, new PACT. Oh wait; I've heard that was called (whitewashed) a 'learning experience.' Yeah, that builds character.

Lucie Stern wanted the children of Palo Alto have a good positive place to spend their time, and until now, I have always felt that the PACT was precisely that place. All sorts of children were able to come, find a common ground, and develop friendships that might never have otherwise happened. The previous staff supported this idea, and an entire generation of kids grew up at PACT.

Now, it's all different, and now I need to find another place for my kids to participate in theater. I don't care if I have to pay for that privilege because I want them to have the experience. But not the way the new PACT is run.

I miss Michael. I miss Pat. And I miss the old PACT that had heart.


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