2017-07-14 / Arts & Entertainment

Village Square Theatre celebrates 10th anniversary of its summer workshop with production of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast Jr.

Contributed by Village Square Theatre


Rehearsals are under way now for Village Square Theatre’s Disney’s Beauty and the Beast Jr. Rehearsals are under way now for Village Square Theatre’s Disney’s Beauty and the Beast Jr. The Secret of the Golden Medallion in 2007 was the first summer workshop production by Village Square Theatre. This production, written and directed by the current artistic director Debra Leopard, was created as a way to get kids involved in the theater through a “full” theater experience.

Leopard wrote all the scripts for the summer productions out of necessity because there were so few scripts available with many characters.

The first summer Leopard used several high school students as helpers but it was several years before intern positions were created. Several of the young people who served as interns through the years came through the program as workshop participants.

The first production included one cast of 30 but has grown through the years to this year’s production with four casts and over 150 actors and nine intern-facilitators.


Students enjoy rehearsing Disney’s Beauty and the Beast Jr. Students enjoy rehearsing Disney’s Beauty and the Beast Jr. Leopard stresses to participants this is not a summer camp or school-like production, but rather, a full theater experience where students are immersed in the production for approximately six weeks.

Discipline is a must, and each student must sign a “contract” before they are allowed to participate.

The full theater experience includes rehearsals (music/dance/ acting) as well as having headshots by a professional photographer, preparing a bio for the playbill, along with costume fittings and makeup expert input.

In addition, Leopard shares with participants that each role in the production is important and no role is a small role. She chooses roles based on finding the right person for the part.

Choreography for the show is directed by Candice Pipkin, with musical direction by Debi Young. Becky Croft is show producer, and each cast has a parent leader who provides communication from the director to each cast. This mammoth undertaking would not be possible without the team of professionals, parents, and student interns.

Village Square Theatre has a rich history in the Lexington community, being established over 50 years ago to provide theatrical events, fine arts events, cultural events, and classes for all ages.

As a 501c3 nonprofit organization, donations to the association are tax deductible. The theater depends on the generosity of its patrons to continue to provide quality arts events for Lexington County and beyond.

From September to April, Village Square Theater offers classes for all ages (children through adults) in acting, audition preparation, makeup, public speaking, voice, piano, dance, and guitar, as well as special interest workshops throughout the period.

In order to facilitate the arts path for college bound students, the Lexington County Arts Association provides a scholarship to honor Shari Smith, daughter of Robert and Hilda Smith, who performed at Village Square prior to her death on 1985.

Each year the Shari Smith Musical Study Scholarship is awarded to a deserving Lexington High School student who plans to pursue a degree in music.

The 2017-2018 season includes three shows for the young actor. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, directed by Debi Young, will be produced December 8–17, 2017. Disney’s Alice in Wonderland Jr. , directed by Debra Leopard, will be produced, February 9–25, 2018, and Annie, directed by Debra Leopard, will be produced April 13–29, 2018.

Village Square Theatre welcomes actors of all acting abilities to audition and become a part of its presence in the community.

Beauty and the Beast Jr. will be sure to delight audiences of all ages. Tickets may be purchased on line at the theater website or by calling the box office from 4:30–6:30 p.m., Monday

Friday. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors/ students/ military/ youth.

Twelve performances are scheduled for July 23 and July 30 at 3 and 7:30 p.m.; July 24–28 at 7:30 p.m.; and July 29 at 10 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Village Square is located at 105 Caughman Road. Box office phone is 803-359-1436.

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