Every year, we launch our TES Theatre season with our Fall Cabaret. Why do we start this way? Why not begin with an actual play? There are several reasons we choose to open our season with a cabaret. Here are five of them.
- STUDENTS CHOOSE THE ACTS
The cabaret gives the participants the opportunity to choose their own material. The kids decide what they want to work on and present to their peers, their instructors, and to the audience of family and friends, as well as total strangers. This means that the students have a unique opportunity to choose the impression they want to create. First impressions are lasting impressions, and this puts the participants at the helm for crafting their own introductions. The same way we invite students to share their own names and pronouns, we invite them to self-present in whatever ways they wish at the Cabaret. Theatre is a unique space for that kind of safe, playful exploration, creativity and inner reflection. Opening with a cabaret supports our mission of inclusivity and acceptance, and provides a fun and judgement-free opportunity for kids to be whoever they want to be.
- DIVERSITY AND RANGE
The cabaret is an eclectic series of short acts. Kids can explore their range by workshopping a hilarious song for one act, and a dramatic monologue for another. The students learn skills from each other’s abilities, but also learn empathy and compassion from each other’s choices. They expand their range of knowledge through each others’ selections. Even if a participant focuses on pop songs for their own set, they get to experience Shakespeare or Florence Price through someone else’s. The cabaret represents TES Theatre’s diverse range not just of skills, but of stories, priorities, and life experiences. The range is not just insightful, of course, but entertaining–for participants and audiences alike. No matter what kind of theatre you prefer, the cabaret will have it all.
The cabaret involves all of TES Theatre’s programs, from preschoolers to teens. This means that participants of very different ages get to work together. What we notice is that the older kids behave in a mentoring way when the younger ones are present. They take on a more nurturing, guiding role, and tone down their own teenage behaviour as is appropriate. And the younger kids learn so much from the older ones: skills, but also focus, determination, repetition, and mature reflection. Our plays rarely cross over the age boundaries this way, so the cabaret presents a singular opportunity to make the most of the multi-age potential. It’s a heartwarming thing to observe.
- GROUP ACTS AND SOLOS
Some of the cabaret numbers are group acts, and some are solos. This means that groups of friends or kids who share an interest can work on an act together. This experience provides benefits of teamwork and camaraderie from group rehearsals and bringing a shared vision to life. It also means that kids can work on solo numbers, showcasing their individual abilities at ballet, violin, vocals, or hip-hop. Kids learn communication skills through a group act–decision-making, consensus, respectful contributions, listening–and they learn really different skills through solo acts–practice, spotlight, commitment, work ethic. The cabaret is a great way to provide students with both experiences.
- EXCITEMENT AND DELIGHT
Perhaps most importantly, the cabaret gives the kids the rare opportunity to do exactly what they want without major concessions or compromise. In a full play, the students have to all agree on which one, which is a lengthy process that demands a high level of communication, patience, and maturity. But for the cabaret, everyone can simply do what they want (within reason). Students can choose acts that delight, excite, and inspire them. They can sing songs from their favourite artists or plays. They can tap-dance if that is their passion, or tell jokes, or peform their own composition on the guitar. Almost anything goes. And this is the main reason we launch the year with a cabaret. We love to see the students get so much joy from working on their own numbers. We are founded on democratic principles, and the cabaret is a truly democratic approach to theatre. It showcases not just skills, but the students’ wide range of joys and passions.
Our Fall Cabaret is November 18 and 19, at TES Theatre. Join us! Come share in our delight over the students’ range of choices. Come to the cabaret.
Tickets available HERE