Orpheum supports children in our community

Two weeks ago, I watched 18 children from the ELL classes at Lenihan walk into the Orpheum Theater Movie House for a one-week workshop that was being taught by three interns who were also a part of the “Something’s Afoot” live theater production occurring in the Black Box Theater. The workshop was based on mysteries since the play, “Something’s Afoot, which is a British comedy musical, is also a mystery.

There were children from the Burmese, Guatamalan and Hispanic cultures. As young Lenihan Middle Schools students, they were a bit shy and a little intimated by the theater space and newness of this weekly adventure. Throughout the week, it became very apparent they were becoming more comfortable with the space and loved the teaching and attention that the Something’s Afoot intern teachers were giving them. Toward the end of the week, I heard much laughter and talking coming from the doors of the movie house.

I was invited to come into the Orpheum Theater on the last day of their workshop to see the final presentation they would be giving on stage. Family members were also invited to see their children. Each child was announced and went on stage alone to present an art drawing of a detective they had drawn and tell a mystery story about that detective to the audience,. As a former speech-language pathologist who worked with many children in the various school districts, I sat with tears in my eyes as I watched these beautiful children, who came into this workshop very shy, not having much eye contact, and then get up on stage alone to present their beautiful art and fun stories to an audience of family and strangers. Each student was rewarded with lots of clapping, and also presented with a Master Detective medal and a certificate declaring they were now a master detective. It was a moment that I will never forget, seeing the pride and happiness on their faces. And I think it is a moment that these young Lenihan students will never forget either, their summer week at the Orpheum Theater Center, the fun that they had here, and all that they learned about being on a stage and presenting something they created. There are not many places in Marshalltown that give children that opportunity. Thank God they have this one!