PORTSMOUTH — Fairy tales and stories contain special memories for many of us from our childhood. The Storybook, Tales, and Treasures production that was held at Mound Park last Friday night, was presented to bring back those memories and the fun of those stories to life, performed by the 14th Street Community Center.
“Rhythm, Arts, And Drama” was created by Maxine Malone, Director of the 14th Street Community Center and owner and CEO of Wings of Hope. It is within this program, that Malone created the production held on Friday night.
Speaking with Maxine Malone who created this production, she said that she felt that the program went well, even with the change in the day, due to the bad weather.
“I was very pleased with the outcome of the community that supported the kids in the park,” Malone said.
When talking about the children and if they had fun she said, “Oh my goodness overwhelmingly, they had a good time and they wanted to do it again.”
Malone was able to do something special with this story and production, she worked with her granddaughter, Judah. Malone said that Judah had been in her productions since she was 18 months old.
“It’s a privilege to see her grow up in the performing arts, in plays and in PAAC (Portsmouth Area Arts Council). We try to keep her involved in the performing arts, you don’t have a lot of minorities in the performing arts and I wanted to continue encouraging the minorities to get involved in the performing arts,” Malone said.
When asked what made her do this production and use the fairy tales in this way, Malone said, “I know that all these children are very creative and I wanted them to understand reading literacy is very important and to bringing back childhood and bedtime stories is very important. I thought, why not take it to parts and we did that, and they did a marvelous job because there was no talking, just the acting and bringing out their creativity. It was so fun and we had beautiful costumes. Then, to see their parents out there supporting them means so much.”
Talking with Malone by asking if she would do another one she quickly said, “Most definitely, as a matter of fact, I got a call that they want me to put it on in the Chillicothe Park. We’ll do two or three of the stories. Then, we will do one in December, at Tracey Park, we want to do Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer.”
Malone reflected on the fact that reading was one of her troubles when she was growing up and because of this, she encourages the children to read. She spoke about the ‘Catcher’s Mitt’ program at the 14th Street Community Center. They have so many children in the Portsmouth area that cannot read. She said that it brings tears to her eyes, how she did her very best to learn how to read, and then she sees other children who struggle even in the 4th or 5th grade who still cannot read.
The ‘Catcher’s Mitt’ program Malone said that it is where the 14th Street Community Center kids come after school and even some who were home-schooled, that they help with their lessons. She spoke of how the Portsmouth City Principals were helpful and they have volunteers from the schools and adults both that come and volunteer to help in this program.
Learning to read for some is not as easy as it is for others and due to Malone’s strong feelings on helping kids learn to read, is why she wanted to present this production and other productions and programs to let the kids see what learning to read can do for them.
Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740)353-3101 ext. 1928
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