Fairfield Teen Theatre

Fairfield Teen Theatre


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Fairfield, CT, USA

About Fairfield Teen Theatre

A summer theatre for Fairfield’s teens began in the summer of 1966 when Fairfield Teens, Inc.’s new activity for teenagers, The Fairfield Teen Players, opened for a two night run of Rogers and Hammerstein’s THE KING & I at the Fairfield University Playhouse under the direction of Bill Stansfield and produced by an adult and student committee. The performances were a resounding success and led to nine more seasons.

In 1970, the theatre expanded. It offered morning and afternoon programs for those who were unable to take part in the evening rehearsals. These included acting classes for beginning performers and the art of make-up. Two repertory groups were formed which took a series of performances to local playgrounds, day camps, and convalescent homes. As adult participation in the organization end of the enterprise waned, it became obvious that new sponsorship would be necessary in order for the theatre to continue, and so in 1975 Fairfield Teens, Inc. and the Players officially passed into history. The theatre reorganized under the sponsorship of the Fairfield Board of Recreation, principally through the support of then director, Henry Leffert and Bill Stansfield who became producer and sometimes director for the next nine seasons.

Starting as a small operation, Mr. Stansfield had the teens do most of the work themselves. They learned the business end of theatre by selling ads, composing the program book, selling tickets, and assigning sets. They built the sets, collected props, painted, gathered and cared for costumes, and worked as stage managers and office staff. With the young people returning each season, the program eventually expanded to include a Pre-Teen Players - morning classes in acting, stage craft, make-up, dance for the actor; a repertory company – the Magic Box Theatre, which performed children’s theatre throughout the area, a beginners chorus which performed for senior citizens at various venues; a Little Theatre which performed more intimate shows at the Penfield Pavilion and a downtown restaurant as a dinner theatre.

In 1985 Carole Jean Frawley took over the program with Gerry Lombardo as the Parks & Recreation Commission sponsoring two companies – Vaudeville Cabaret and Main Stage. Vaudeville – Cabaret was a travelling group with a small cast that visited Convalescent Homes and wrote their own short musical. In 1994 the format of that program changed to Magic Box under a variety of directors. Over the years Magic Box casts have gotten larger, stronger, and their productions more complex. This year they produced a full Broadway show in only four weeks. In 2002, Pre-Teen Players returned under the direction of Christina De Andrade and for the past two summers has run two sessions.

The Main Stage company of FTT has also grown in scale over the years. Last year’s production of BIG the musical included five adult staff members, eight teenage staff members, thirty-nine cast members, nineteen orchestra members, and fourteen backstage teen volunteers who worked toward presenting a top quality musical. With Pre-Teen Players cast and crew of seventy-two in TALL TALES and FOLK TUNES and Magic Box’s cast and crew of twenty-three in YOU’RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN, last summer’s program has involved approximately 175 kids.

We thank all of our supporters, especially the Parks & Recreation Commission for making this valuable training and recreational program available for the youth of Fairfield. We hope for many more years of continued support and success in keeping Bill Stansfield’s dream of a permanent summer teen theatre program alive.

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Finley Vigliotti

Performer, Actor, Dancer

  Stratford, CT

4 productions

Dani Prohaska

Performer, Fan, Actor

  Fairfield, Connecticut

6 productions

Madeline White

Performer, Actor, Singer

  Fairfield, Connecticut

1 production