Hollidaysburg program starts its actors young

As the producer of the Hollidaysburg Area Children’s Theatre, I would like to thank Lucinda Kelley for her letter to the editor commending the plays she recently attended.

One of the shows she mentioned was the HACT production of “The Little Mermaid Jr.”

In her letter, she mentions that this production was put on by a junior high group of students. I would like all readers to be aware that this show was performed by elementary students in grades four, five and six.

There was not a student on the stage that was older than 12 years of age. Our group is made up of students from our three elementary buildings and the lead characters in the show are usually fifth and sixth graders.

We perform our shows at the Hollidaysburg Junior High School only because the elementary theaters are not large enough to hold the large audiences we draw.

We take it as a compliment that Kelley felt our young actors and actresses were junior high students, but I just wanted to set the record straight that they were elementary children ages 9 through 12.

Our program has been built up over a period of 16 years, and each year we have many people amazed at the talent of these very young actors and actresses.

Kelley also mentioned that she can tell our kids put a lot of work into the show, and she is absolutely correct.

Our production starts with auditions for the show in October and the students then practice two to three times a week for two hours at a time up until two weeks before the show. Then it’s four days a week practices for two to three hours up until the show.

Based on this, I agree that it would be wonderful if the Mirror ran a special insert as you suggested.

A great many of the students that go through the HACT program continue into the junior high and senior high programs as leads.

So to add to Kelley’s comment about seeing them on Broadway or television someday, if they came from the HACT program you would be able to say, “Hey, I saw them perform when they were in elementary school.”

Tim Surkovich