Summer Youth Theater 2016!
Article: Growing up BarnArts
When 10-year-old TOJ Marceau was cast as Oliver in BarnArts’ first Summer Youth Theater in 2012, it began a path for TOJ which now takes him on stage at the Lebanon Opera House and Chandler!, as well as in his middle school, Thetford Academy. Despite experiencing larger productions with bigger name arts centers, TOJ keeps coming back each year to participate in BarnArts Summer Youth Theater.
“BarnArts is what made me the actor I am today, and I don’t want to forget,” says TOJ, now 14 and was cast as The White Rabbit in this year’s Alice in Wonderland.
TOJ’s older brother JAMR Marceau did tech for Oliver! that first year, watching his brother be the star, and then joined him on the stage for the next summer’s Grease. Both were greasers, singing “Greased Lightnin’” and JAMR also played the nerd, Eugene. In Alice in Wonderland, JAMR was cast as the March Hare and as the Walrus for the side story, “The Walrus and the Carpenter.”
“I come back for the fun,” says JAMR. “The program is rife with smiles and light hearts.” JAMR particularly loves the mixed ages and enjoys helping with the younger kids. JAMR played the monkey king in last year’s Jungle Book, which indirectly led him to more lead roles this year with Trumbull Hall Troupe and Chandler’s Anything Goes, earlier in July. TOJ was also in both productions.
Amelia Killackey, Adam Farinas and Django Farinas and are all also in their fifth year with BarnArts
“I started BarnArts when I had just turned eight,” says Amelia. “Everything was new and I needed help myself rather than being able to give help. Also I was shy and didn’t want to perform, but BarnArts gave me the confidence to overcome that feeling.”
In last year’s Jungle Book, Amelia sang a solo as Shanti. “She was so poised with a beautiful voice,” says Yael Taylor, stage manager. “I was so proud of her.”
Amelia lives in Brooklyn, but her family has a second home on Prosper Road. She stays with her grandparents, who live in Woodstock, while her parents are working during the week back in New York. This year BarnArts had two other cast members who live in other states and are staying with family or in second homes in order to do the program, Rorie Cochrane from New Hampshire and Tamsin Mueller from Massachusetts.
In Alice in Wonderland Amelia played Rose, the head “mean flower” who gives Alice a hard time when she is only 3 inches tall. Eight-year-old Marlena Farinas is another mean flower, Lily.
Marlena has been getting experience with BarnArts since she was able to join the large dance numbers and wear the smallest poodle skirt in Grease at the age of 5. Just like with TOJ, Marlena has developed a real passion for performing, and she has been cast in Northern Stage’s A Christmas Carol this fall.
Marlena’s older brothers, Adam and Django, both began with smaller roles in Oliver and have worked their way up to bigger roles. Adam was the lead Balou in last year’s Jungle Book and this year played the Caterpiller, another smooth-talking, crooning animal, just like Balou. Adam will be joining TOJ and JAMR in the Trumble Hall Troupe this fall. BarnArts Summer Youth music director, Carol Cronce, is the music director for Trumble Hall Troupe, a “funds for charity” youth theater program run by writer Jodi Picoult at the Lebanon Opera House.
Django had his first major role this year, at the age of 10, playing the King of Hearts and running the trial of Alice. “My favorite part of BarnArts is meeting new people and getting better at acting, “ says Django.
Adds Amelia, “I love this program because I think it’s important to put yourself out there and the camp is the best fun way to challenge yourself, while building memories and friendships forever.”
While Adam and JAMR will have only one more year to do the program, TOJ, Amelia and Django have many more years to be “the kids who have been with BarnArts from the beginning,” a favorite role they can do year after year.
“I am proud of being in BarnArts,” says TOJ. “I will stay in the program until the day I grow up.” Luckily for BarnArts, he has 5 more years!
“The exciting thing for me to see is how much they improve each year both musically and as performers,” says director Tom Beck. “But the real treat to see how much they have grown as individuals.”