One of the reasons why I enjoy working at Wheelock College is because of the Wheelock Family Theatre, which is located right next door to the Earl Center for Learning and Innovation. The two WFT shows that I have seen thus far in my Wheelock career are their 2013 production of The Hobbit and their 2015 production of Shrek: The Musical.
I developed an interest in theater in high school that continued into college and beyond partially because I got to know quite a few of the actors who were involved in the Cougar Catwalkers (the name of my high school’s drama club – our mascot was the Cougar). The first show that they did that I saw was their production of Once Upon a Mattress, which I saw with my mother in my high school’s auditorium in the spring of 2001. This show, coupled with the production of The Lion King that I had seen the previous year as part of my eighth grade trip into New York City, really stuck with me.
According to their website, the WFT offers classes and workshops throughout the year that are geared towards young people between the ages of 5 and 18. They also present themselves as being a “professional, affordable theater for every generation!” I can definitely attest to this statement. The enthusiasm of the Wheelock Family Theatre staff members, interns, and student employees is infectious, as is their dedication to making theater affordable (and fun!) for everyone.
This past summer, the WFT used part of the Earl Center as a rehearsal and performance space for one of their classes. It was exhilarating coming into work and being able to watch the children (who looked to be about in the 8-10 year old range) rehearse, work on their props and costumes, interact their group leaders, and just generally have fun. I left work that day smiling from ear to ear.
That’s what I love about the theater. It’s supposed to make us smile. It’s supposed to make us think. It’s supposed to give us a chance to escape reality for a few hours and enjoy a show that people have spent hours and hours working on perfecting.
Currently, the Wheelock Family Theatre is performing The Trumpet of the Swan. You can learn more about the story and buy tickets by visiting the Wheelock Family Theatre website.by