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Cast and crew of "Getting to know... Once Upon a Mattress" rehearses at the Coastal Repertory Theatre on Thursday. Kyle Ludowitz/Review

This month, children all over the Coastside will be singing, dancing and pouring their hearts out on stage. No less than four youth theater productions will be presented in May, involving hundreds of local students.

Kimberly Krol, education creative director for Coastal Repertory Theatre, said that its spring production is a showcase of everything the children have learned throughout the year.

“In the fall we work on skills and developing technique, understanding what it takes to put on a show,” she said. “May is a nice close to our program without interfering with other end-of-year school activities.” 

Youth theater teaches so much more than just how to perform, said Julie Hockridge, head teacher and music director at Wilkinson School.

“It teaches the children so many life skills, like working together, supporting your friends, listening, public speaking and much more,” she said. 

In many productions, kids are not only the actors, but also actively involved in other aspects like costumes, sound and lighting, and set design.

Robotics students at Sea Crest School have applied their skills to design an enormous light-up staircase for their school’s production of “Aladdin, Jr.”

“It will be the highlight of the set,” said Miriam Romero-Gross, Sea Crest’s director of marketing and communications. 

Students with Coastside Young Actors Workshop don’t just memorize their lines, they invent them. Using a process called guided improvisation, the students come up with their own characters, plots, songs and music to create a completely original production.

This year they will present “1965: The Play, Wrath of the $50 Pineapple!” It is a story of intrigue and suspense involving a corrupt mayor, a scientist, an evil cook, a dog, a ninja and, of course, a pineapple. 

Whether it is an all-school production or an after-school program, youth theater is a fun finale to the school year.

“It truly brings the community together,” said Hockridge. “It is a joyful way to finish the year.”

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