First bell: Fall 2019

By Suzanne Rent

The Studio sets the stage for kids at Shakespeare by the Sea

Young thespians have a chance to learn Shakespeare and musical theatre from some of Halifax’s best acting talent. The Studio at Shakespeare by the Sea is led by company members Jade Douris, director of education, and Drew O’Hara, artistic associate. The duo will work with students to hone their skills in dance and acting, while also introducing them to musical theatre and The Bard. Classes are offered on Monday evenings and Saturdays and are open to kids ages three to 17. Sessions include those in junior and senior Shakespeare, pre-dance, primary ballet and jazz, and primary, junior, and senior musical theatre. Register online or by mail. Scholarships are available to those students in financial need.

Let it go with Frozen Jr. at Neptune Theatre

Photo: BRAVO in Oak Park IL./Jeffrey Scott Photography

From Sept. 18 to 22, the Neptune Theatre School YPCo brings Frozen Jr. to its stage. Based on the Disney film and featuring music by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Richard Lopez, Frozen Jr. includes five new songs written just for the Broadway production. This play includes a story of love and acceptance, plus lots of adventure and laughs with princesses and sisters Anna and Elsa and a cast of characters, including the lovable, goofy snowman, Olaf. Neptune’s YPCo is a training program for young talent ages 13 to 18.

Get running

Running is a fun, inexpensive, and accessible way for families to get fit together. The Kids Run Club has been getting Nova Scotia school kids active through running since 2004 and has some tips for getting your family running.
• Focus on fun
• Adapt distances by age and interest
• Keep running interesting: invite your kids’
friends; add games and obstacle courses; find
different locations/routes; and use running as
a way to get places
• Keep post-run snacks healthy (water and fruit)
• Register for a fun run

If your kids show an interest in running, check out the Youth Running Series (youthrunningseries.ca) or visit kidsrunclub.ca to learn more about running or to get your school running.

Poetry without the stage

Shakespeare didn’t just write plays; he also wrote poetry. That gives him something in common with Devyn Tremeer of Westmount Elementary School. His teacher, Mrs. Fougere, sent us the following sample of Devyn’s work:

The Lonely Poem
Where did my home go?
I demand to go home!
I look over the sharpie.
I’m in a classroom.
Where is my home?
How did I get here?
Where my mother go?
Where she go?
I just want to go home.
I’m all alone in here.
Wait I hear someone.
Please help me.
I just want to go home.

Stagecoach Performing Arts opens Bedford location

Stagecoach Performing Arts School is hosting a discovery day on Sept. 14 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Bedford United Church at 1200 Bedford Highway. The event is for parents whose children may be interested in classes at its first location in Atlantic Canada. Stagecoach is opening a location in Bedford this fall for children and teens ages four to 16. Classes offer students a full and well-rounded performing arts education, focusing on dance, voice, and acting. Founded in the U.K. in 1988, Stagecoach has 600 schools worldwide with 20 locations across Canada. Students can take part in camps, too, including during March break and during the summer.

Sensory friendly movies

Every four to six weeks, Cineplex Entertainment offers sensory-friendly screenings of new release films at its theatres. During the movie, the lights will be turned up and the sound turned down to make the film more enjoyable for those with autism spectrum disorder or those who would enjoy the sensory-friendly environment. Screenings are Saturdays at 10:30 a.m. The cost is the price of a child admission. Purchase tickets the Tuesday before the screening. This program is offered in partnership with Autism Speaks Canada and Autism Nova Scotia. Check the website for locations and selected films.

Slow and steady wins this race

Until the end of September, hurry into the Discovery Centre to learn how taking it slow can be an advantage. The Centre’s first-ever live exhibition, Survival of the Slowest, explores counterintuitive survival strategies, showcasing some of nature’s wildest examples of how slow and steady really can win the race. The exhibit features 12 live habitats with animals including a two-toed sloth, African pygmy hedgehog, veiled chameleon, and green iguana. A professional wildlife educator is on site daily to feed the animals, clean their terraria, check on their health and provide any other care or support needed. All presentations with live animals have been approved by an Animal Care Committee, including a veterinarian and trained animal care experts.

There will be times daily when the wildlife educator will bring out individual animals and present them to the public. There may be special circumstances, permissible by the wildlife educator, when some contact with an animal may be allowed. Please note: specific animals are not guaranteed to take part in the presentations. It is up to each individual animal if they would like to come out of their terraria. Show hours are at 11 a.m., 2:30 p.m., and 4 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesday, Thursdays, and Fridays; 11:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m., and 7 p.m. on Wednesdays; and 10:30 a.m., 12 p.m., 2:30 p.m., and 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

Music in the Public Gardens

Families can enjoy music and one of the most scenic spots in Halifax with the concert series in the Public Gardens. The concert series wraps up in September, with a few more local bands playing in the park each Sunday. Concerts in September include Halifax Trombone Summit (Sept. 8),
Asif Illyas and Kim Dunn (Sept. 15), and The Port City Concert Band (Sept. 22). Sit back and tap your toes to the music or get up and dance. All concerts start at 2 p.m. at the bandstand. Admission is free. Stay and enjoy the beauty of the Victorian gardens with a stroll around the park.

Teaching locally, impacting globally

The Scotia Suzuki School of Music, in the Lebanese Cultural Centre at 6141 Chebucto Rd. is more than just another school. True, its main offering is a 36-week curriculum based on the principles of the Suzuki Association of the Americas, which includes private and group lessons teaching music, dance, and culture. It’s also true it offers a shorter course curriculum in the summer months. However, it doesn’t restrict its activities to just Halifax.

The school currently supports a chicken farm in Kenya, which produces eggs used to provide breakfast for students attending school in Nairobi. The Scotia Suzuki School maintains pen pal relationships with many of the Nairobi students and has accepted an invitation to visit in 2020. Older students from Halifax will travel to Kenya where they will work at the chicken farm, deliver eggs to the school, and cook breakfast for the students. They will also teach at the school and in turn learn about local music and dance.

Exploring wildlife in the autumn

Fall is a fun time to explore at the Shubenacadie Wildlife Park. On Sept. 28, visit the park for a guided night tour and learn about the nocturnal habits of the park’s wildlife. This event is for ages eight and up and admission is $6. Make sure to dress appropriately and bring flashlights, insect repellant, and water. Another guided night tour takes place on Oct. 12, but is appropriate for all ages. Pre-registration required for both night tours. And to celebrate Halloween, trick-or-treat at the park on Oct. 26. Dress in your costume, visit the animals, and pick up treats and other surprises. Regular park admission applies.

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