Childsplay an economic asset to arts community - East Valley Tribune: News

Childsplay an economic asset to arts community

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Posted: Tuesday, September 25, 2007 2:32 pm | Updated: 5:30 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

The harboring of a nationally recognized theatre company to the new Tempe Center for the Arts will heighten the excitement in the growing Tempe community in economic development, childhood education and recognition for local fine arts.

Mary Ann Miller, president and CEO of the Tempe Chamber, said that the recent addition of the award-winning theatre company Childsplay could increase the quality of life in the Tempe area. She said the city has done a wonderful job of “putting things together,” by bringing “really high-quality productions” to one of the most beautiful theatres she said she has ever seen.

“I can’t even tell you how good it is,” said Miller, who has been president and chief executive of the Tempe Chamber for the past eight years. “Tempe has always been very social progressive and willing to spend money on things that would be important to the community.”

Childsplay, an award-winning theatre company celebrating their 30th anniversary season, will kick of their first year at the multi-million Tempe Center for the Arts with eight productions for the public through June 2008.

Among the productions for the 2007/2008 season are famous stories like E.B. White’s “Charlotte’s Web,” a play based on the works of Dr. Seuss called “Seussical,” Margaret Wise Brown’s “Goodnight Moon,” and Charles Dickens’ novel “A Tale of Two Cities.”

Charlotte’s Web, a Joseph Robinette adaptation from the renowned children’s story, is now playing at the TCA through Oct. 14 on Saturdays and Sundays at 1 and 4 p.m.

Steve Martin, managing director of Childsplay, said that the organization will help increase workforce development.

“Study, after study, after study, reinforces the idea that young people who participate and who are exposed to the arts make better citizens and better workforce employees,” Martin said. “That is our role at Childsplay.”

Martin said that young people who participate and are exposed to the arts have better SAT scores, communication and interpersonal skills, math and science skills.

The $3 million Childsplay organization will entertain more than 100,000 young people this year between September and May, and will visit 40 communities statewide this season, Martin said. It also will perform in places across northern Arizona and at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts.

“All great communities all great cultures are not just defined by their businesses, but by their arts and what they do for life,” Tom Canasi, Community Services Manager for the City of Tempe, said.

Canasi said economic development is not just about dollars and cents. It is about building a community environment that not only attracts business, it also attracts people to shop and spend their dollars in Tempe.

“Look around this lake and look at the cranes going up,” Canasi said about the developing high-rises in Tempe, “that means people moving into this community and that means the dedication to Tempe’s present and Tempe’s future.”

“This place is fulfilling an important civic and social responsibility to citizens of Tempe, and our visitors,” Martin Nowakowski, public relations director of Southwest Ambulance, said. “It is as sacred as any institution of higher education. “It will enrich, enhance and increase our human experience.”

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