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Sugar House Journal

Theater students pass on their knowledge

Feb 27, 2017 16h20 ● By Natalie Mollinet

One of CSP’s performances called “Bucky Goldstein, Time Traveler”. (Center Stage Players/CSP staff)

By Natalie Mollinet | [email protected]

At Highland High, two students are working with a theater troupe that practices and helps young performers develop their talents for the stage. The troupe, Center Stage Players (CSP), was started by a local in Sugar House and since then the group has grown.

Jennifer McIntosh, who helped start the group, said that her daughter Jess was interested in participating in musical theater. After she put her daughter into the classes for about a year, she felt that the students weren’t getting the skills that they needed. Another friend who had enrolled their daughter felt the same way and they wanted to change it.

“I did a program that was not very individualized or anything,” Jess McIntosh said. “I didn’t learn a lot and I didn’t love the environment. My cousin did with me and we both felt the same. We loved performing but the troupe we were with just didn’t work for us.”

“So, we started talking with each other,” Jennifer McIntosh said speaking about her brother Matt, “and contacted a good friend who had gone to Highland with us. The three of us decided that we could do something amazing, and CSP was born.”

CSP is a program that involves kids from grades 1-8, and two students from Highland, Kailey Going and Jess McIntosh, are helping in the lessons. CSP, not only has a group in Sugar House, but they also have a group in Draper. Both groups receive different lessons in theatrical performance ranging from singing to stage management. The students then get to put their skills to the test with a performance.

“We write and direct every show and have had the student coaches over the years,” Jennifer said. “We have students help with vocal coaching, choreography, and stage management. We have also had Highland students cameo in a couple of our shows.”

CSP also features a program for high school students called The Academy Troupe, where Going and Jess are members. The group is mainly made up of Highland High Schools students and once a year – when they’re not busy with high school performances – get to keep their talents up in the group.

Many of the troupe in Sugar House’s CSP end up performing in Highland High’s productions when they reach that level, and other theaters around the county. The high school students that have helped come to love teaching and can see that being part of their future. Jess helps as a vocal coach and Going is a character development coach.

“I love working with the younger students,” Going said. “I’m actually planning on majoring in theater teaching because of my work with CSP and my love for it.”

“I love teaching the basics of singing and then being able to work on specific songs with them,” Jess said. “I loved getting to know each kid and each one of their voices. I was able to mold my teaching strategy to the kids with vocal needs.”

Parents who have enrolled their students have been very pleased with the outcome and have seen confidence built in their children. Many of the young students don’t want to participate in certain activities but as they get more comfortable their talents start to shine.

“It’s amazing how many kids start the program vowing to never sing a solo or deliver more than a few lines, then change their tune as soon as they feel the welcoming environment and the thrill of the stage,” Jennifer said. “We’ve also heard from parents that they appreciate the welcoming environment and the friendliness of the theater troupe.”