Did you know the Wagon Wheel has youth theatre programs that directly impact the lives of more than 400 students each year?
Wagon Wheel Jr. is the fastest growing entity under the Wagon Wheel Center for the Arts umbrella and serves students of many ages and performance experience. The summer workshops alone impact 100 students in 2nd grade to seniors in high school. Additional Wagon Wheel Jr. programs include dance and acting classes, high school internships in wig design, performance/stage management, and carpentry, and two full youth musicals produced each fall and winter.
What sets Wagon Wheel Jr. apart from other regional youth theatre programs is the hands on learning experience students receive under the training from Wagon Wheel professionals. Scott Michaels, Artistic Director and Choreographer, directs the Jr. musicals each year and teaches the dance classes. Kira Lace Hawkins, professional actress and experienced arts educator, directs the musicals alongside Scott, teaches the acting classes, and directs some of the summer workshops. Long time Wagon Wheel professional actors and gifted theatre art teachers from Chicago, Ben Dicke and Andy Robinson, direct the summer workshops alongside Ben’s talented wife Emily Luhrs, who is a professional equity actress. And high school interns are mentored by the entire team of dedicated professionals including Jennifer Dow, wig designer and professional actress.
“Emma’s involvement in Wagon Wheel classes, camps, and shows has helped her grow, not only as an actress but as a person. She truly appreciates working under the consistent and professional leadership at the Wagon Wheel.” – Holly, mother to Emma.
Students who participate in any Wagon Wheel Jr. program don’t just learn how to act, sing, or dance. The programs at the Wagon Wheel equip students with transferable skills that apply to every area of life. They practice and grow valuable traits like team work, self confidence, public speaking, creative and critical thinking, and so much more. The Wagon Wheel Jr. program also provides a home for so many of these young people – a place where they feel included, a part of something bigger then themselves, and a place where they can shine.
“I have watched Lily try to find her niche in sports and clubs at school, but it wasn’t until Wagon Wheel Jr. that she finally found a place to land.” – Amy, mother to Lily.