Did you know there’s a student troupe that travels and performs for local Springfield-area schools housed right here in the Department of Theatre and Dance? Well, there is! They are absolutely remarkable, and they are known as the In-School Players.
In-School Players is a small group of Missouri State University students that travels to local elementary schools and libraries to bring live theatre performances to children. Their shows consist of self-written original pieces and adapted stories from books and T.V. This year, however, the cast is bringing their performances to the big screen! Ed Swidey, In-School Players Director, stated that “We’ve decided that since our material will be viewed on screens, we’re approaching our performance style more like a tv/web show than a live theatre performance.” This is in hopes to “bring a somewhat live theatre feel to the students and keep them engaged!” according to I.S.P. Company Manager Alyssa Gaul.
While similar to typical adult theatre, these performances do have unique aspects about them that set them apart. Ed Swidey said that “ISP seeks to get kids interested in live performance. To do so, you’ve got to get their attention and hold it with fun material and compelling characters they can relate to and care about. That’s not so different from a lot of theatre, but adult audiences in theatre are more forgiving. Performing for kids is a bit like stand-up comedy in that the audience will let you know quickly if you’ve lost them.” Alyssa Gaul added that “Usually our show is made up of various scenes and scripts from many different sources instead of one plot line” and “because of limited space and the need to adapt to various school gyms, we are used to only using a couple chairs and limited props.”
This is truly a troupe of kind-hearted, open-minded, caring individuals. More information about their performances and other touring groups can found here at https://theatreanddance.missouristate.edu/Touring.htm.