The Pied Pipers, Troy University’s children’s theater group, performed three shows Tuesday at the Dothan Opera House in front of nearly 1,000 children combined.
The first two shows were performed in front of local school children who were bussed to the event, while an evening show played to families.
“The shows were action packed,” said Tori Lee Averett, chair of the department of theatre and dance. “The children were really engaged, the performers gave good, high-energy performances, and the shows have been very well received.”
Joseph Crawford, a sophomore theatre major and member of the Pied Pipers, said the experience of performing at the historic Dothan Opera House was memorable.
“It’s such a great opportunity,” Crawford said. “This is a chance to have so many different schools and different-aged children together in one room. There’s this energy about it. They were the most interactive, excited kids. They played along with everything. They were an extension of us, another actor out in the audience.”
Crawford said performing with the group has expanded his repertoire as an actor and taught him to become more expressive.
He said he wasn’t initially sure about joining the Pipers, but the ability to influence kids’ love of performing arts swayed him.
“It’s the idea of sparking that love inside a child, and theater is so important for humanities and empathy,” Crawford said. “I hope some of the children (who saw these shows) will grow up to do community theatre, do it in college, and maybe do it professionally.”
Averett said performing in front of so many children gave vital experience to the performers.
“This group typically will perform in cafeterias and classrooms, so it’s been nice for them to perform in a real theater with sound and lights,” she said. “We rehearse, but there’s nothing like being in front of an audience. The children and their teachers have left saying they had a great time, and they wanted to hug and high five all the performers. If nothing else, the children are leaving the theater having had a good time.”
The performance was part of TROY Tuesdays, an ongoing series of performances at the Dothan Opera House.