- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
A young boy and girl were taken on a journey to find the true meaning of Christmas during “The Magical Christmas Box,” presented by Encore Kids. Those in the performance took a bit of a journey throughout the year, as well, learning about theater.
Encore Kids is a community outreach program with the Port Tobacco Players. It consists of children 6 to 12 and is aimed at providing children with year-round on-stage performances and theater experience.
The group performs at various community events.
The year ends with a production on stage at the Port Tobacco Players Theater in La Plata.
The theater was nearly packed Saturday for the one-day production of “The Magical Christmas Box.”
About 25 children took to the stage to tell the story.
Kristen Ging, 9, and Wyatt Edwards, 10, played Jenny and Jake, two siblings who receive a magic box from their grandfather.
The magical keepers of the box escort the children to various places in time, where they learn about Christmas traditions such as the origin of Christmas trees as a decorations in the home, presents, large holiday feasts and more.
Along the way, they collect puzzle pieces to help paint a picture of the true meaning of Christmas. The last piece of the puzzle represents the story of Jesus’ birth.
The completed puzzle, with the center in Bethlehem, provides the children with the true meaning of Christmas
“I really enjoyed it,” Kristen said, not just “The Magical Christmas Box,” but the year-long Encore Kids experience.
She said she enjoys making new friends.
Meeting new people and serving the community is what many of the Encore Kids said they enjoyed about the experience.
Ashton Gordon, 10, said that, more than being a part of the performances with Encore Kids, she likes getting out to the community and bringing live productions to senior citizens and others who might not be able to get to a show in a theater.
“It’s really important that others get the experience [of a live production],” she said.
Encore Kids Producer Laura Flemmings said the goal is to get the children out into the community and bring entertainment as a way for children to give back.
Encore Kids Director Dawn Bush said the year-long experience gives children the opportunity to learn about theater and discover what they might like about it.
Taylor-Rene Flemmings, 9, said she enjoyed her experience with Encore Kids and thought “The Magical Christmas Box” was “really cool.” She said she would likely not be a part of the program next year; she plans to pursue other interests.
Bush said many adult community theater actors got their beginning as an Encore Kid.
The program has been around more than 20 years, she said.
After “The Magical Christmas Box” story was complete, the cast led the audience in singing Christmas carols.
Encore Kids starts fresh each year, and all returning participants must audition with everyone else. Auditions begin in January.