This past month, nearly 30 Valor Arizona students participated in West Valley Stages’ production of Alice in Wonderland as part of a new partnership between the two community organizations. Participating students starred in the production and worked behind the scenes as stagehands.
A local youth theater organization, West Valley Stages is dedicated to championing youth theatre and allowing students the experience of participating in school-led productions.
“The arts are so important to students and aren’t always offered by schools,” said Jim Gradillas, Managing Artistic Director of West Valley Stages. “Participating in theater and being creative in this way helps kids express themselves and gain confidence that will last them a lifetime. It is always so rewarding seeing how hard students work and how proud they are of the final production.”
Valor Arizona students were thrilled to take part in the first-ever theater production. With an outstanding number of students interested in participating, Gradillas had to create other roles to get students involved.
“The students were immediately invested in the production,” said Gradillas. “We received more interest than the number of roles we had available. Thus, we created crew member and stagehand positions to ensure those interested were able to join. It was great to see so many students acting on stage and helping run the show behind the scenes.”
The Alice in Wonderland production is just the beginning for Valor Arizona, a hybrid-model school for students in grades 6-12. The school hopes to continue its partnership with West Valley Stages by having at least one production per year for students to participate in.
“We were thrilled when we started talking with Jim and West Valley Stages about the play,” said Amy Spencer, Executive Director of Valor Arizona. “Our students were so eager and excited to participate. It is vital to offer extracurricular activities such as theater to students to make sure they are connecting with other students and building essential social skills. I’m eager to see how this partnership grows and flourishes to benefit our students and the community.”