Friday, July 11, 2008

FAMU’s Irene Edmonds Youth Theatre Summer Production Celebrates the 100th Birthday of its Namesake

The Florida A&M University Irene C. Edmonds Youth Theatre will honor its namesake on Edmonds’ 100th birthday with a performance of The ICE Patch written by Kimberly Kay.

The play is centered around a magic story quilt that records the cultural, historical and personal events of Edmonds’ life. Campers gain an appreciation for her contributions as they prepare to celebrate her 100th birthday. Show date and times are Saturday, July 12, at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. in the Charles Winter Wood Theatre located in Tucker Hall. Admission is $10 for adults; $7 for senior citizens; $5 for students and children.

Edmonds was an assistant professor of humanities and speech and drama at FAMU. She is perhaps best known for her work in children’s theatre. She established the first children’s theatre at Dillard University in 1935, where it flourished under her direction for 12 years. Under her artistic guidance, the Creative Children’s Theatre at FAMU grew to great prominence. However, she attained stature as well in the arenas of literary criticism and creative writing and as the director of the FAMU Playmakers Verse Choir, which reached wide national acclaim.

“Had she lived, Mrs. Edmonds would be celebrating her centennial birthday on October 31,” said Valencia E. Matthews, founder and artistic director of the children’s theatre named for Edmonds. “Even though she is not with us physically, her spirit of caring and excellence is a legacy that we honor through our production of The ICE Patch.

For more than 10 years, the Irene C. Edmonds Youth Theatre has been a creative force in Tallahassee children’s theatre. This youth organization, whose participants range ages six through 16, strives to produce theatrical material that speaks to young people about their capacity to inspire and create change both socially and individually through the arts. Culminating a five-week summer camp filled with classes, workshops, and cultural excursions is a full-scale production.

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