Teatro Catalina 2015 Trip
This year nine Theatre and Dance students visited the city of Villa Catalina, Nicaragua to immerse the community in a weeklong theatre program: Teatro Catalina. The students dedicated their Spring Break to teaching the children basics in acting, design, and dance. Each SCU student chose a subject to teach and led the children in activities that pertained to each of these subjects.
Prior to going to Nicaragua, the group met weekly throughout the Winter quarter with faculty advisors Aldo and Renee Billingslea and prepared the play and activities that they would bring to the group in Villa Catalina. In the past the group adapted fairy tales and Disney stories into plays for the Teatro Catalina group to perform. However, this year the group wanted to do something that the children in Villa might know better. The theatre and dance students researched several folk tales that could serve as a story, but eventually the group found the children's book, El Perro Invisible, by Sergio Ramirez, the former vice president of Nicaragua. The group decided that this was a great story to have the children perform in Nicaragua.
During the trip each SCU student was pushed and found that they could specialize in a skill that was needed each day. There were people who were more confident with translating, playing with the children, leading the theatre games, and teaching the dance. It was important that all of us had different skills, because it made putting on the show that much easier.
On the first day that the SCU group visited Villa Catalina, there was only a small gathering of people for the day, but the SCU students were still excited to teach the children their first activity. The SCU students began their workshops by teaching a dance to Enrique Iglesias' Bailando. The dance was later incorporated into the story during the party scene. That same day, the students held auditions for the play and this year the group asked Osmar, one of the members of Teatro Catalina, if he would be interested in directing the play. Through Teatro Catalina members of the Villa Catalina community have pushed themselves to be more involved with the arts.
By Wednesday the number of children that were coming to the community center had tripled from the first day. We continued to have rehearsals with many of the older children, but wanted to get the younger children involved too. On the day of our set design workshop, we gave the younger children templates to create a costume or design makeup for themselves. The younger children were really excited to be included this year, since in years past the focus primarily went towards the children performing in the play.
When Friday finally arrived the show was finished and ready to be performed for the community. This year we decided to perform the play in the community center so more people from the community could watch the performance. It was great seeing everyone’s hard work come together and put on a performance that everyone was proud about.