Drama class spreads holiday spirit with ‘Christmas Spectacular’

Paige Graves
Staff writer

Allie Douglass/The News

Christmas is a holiday that thrives on tradition. As children, left sat at the kid’s table for Christmas dinner, leaving cookies for Saint Nick and, of course, posed for the ever-awkward picture with Santa in the local mall. While these are moments every child should experience, students from the department of theater have created a new event for kids this year.

The Advanced Creative Drama class, taught by Lissa Graham-Schneider, associate professor, will host the event.

“The Christmas Spectacular, or the Elftacular, is an event for children ages 6 to 12 where the kids can come see a short original play, learn a dance, do a craft, have milk and cookies and ultimately be inducted as an official Santa’s Workshop Elf,” said Graham-Schneider. “It was conceived as an event by the Advanced Creative Drama class as a way to entertain and educate children, while giving parents an opportunity to have some extended holiday shopping time.”

Graham-Schneider said this is the first time the class has been held, and that students have thoroughly enjoyed planning and performing in this holiday event.

“It’s a fun Christmas memory for both the kids and the parents,” Graham-Schneider said. “Parents will get to see their children sworn in as an elf and see their children perform a short dance. The play teaches lessons about working together cooperatively.”

Graham-Schneider said the process has been extremely fun and entertaining, as well as rewarding.

Aaron Krueger, senior from Campbell Hall, N.Y., is a member of the class taught by Graham-Schneider and said the idea started as a class project about children’s theater.

“There are only five of us in the class and we got the opportunity to build this fun day to involve kids,” Krueger said. “We wrote the play, and we choreographed the dance. It’s been a whole lot of fun and really cool. It’s a chance for us to do some singing and dancing, and to also be involved with the community in a different way.”

The cost of the event will go toward the theater department for future productions throughout the year. Krueger said he hopes to see this event return for the holidays next year as a new tradition for the community.

“This gives us the chance to do different things with children’s theater,” Krueger said. “There are a whole lot of organizations, such as Sock ‘n’ Buskin, that could continue this wonderful event.”

Caroline Yelverton, senior from Jackson, Tenn., said she still remembers what the holidays were like for her family growing up.

“My mom always made sure we knew which gifts were from her and my dad as opposed to the presents that were from Santa,” Yelverton said. “To this day she still does that. I guess after doing it for so many years for me and my sister, she just wants to keep the tradition going.”

Yelverton said the memories made a child during Christmas are memories that stand the test of time.

“Every Christmas my mom would roll our hair in pink sponge rollers for the annual picture,” Yelverton said. “It’s a story I tell my friends, and now I’m telling the entire community that I walked around with sponges in my hair. The holidays are different for everyone, but it’s the moments in those holidays that make them special.”

The Christmas Spectacular could be an event that children recall when they grow up, and it will take place before the stress of the holiday season gets into full swing.

The cost is $25 to cover everything from the play to the crafts, and will take place from 9 a.m. to 1 pm. Saturday in the third floor Curris Center Ballroom.

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