Culture for the kids Children's programs offer ballet, 'Peter Pan' this week

The role of Mary in “All in a Rhyme” is danced by Grace Rauton, a 13-year-old student at the Charleston Dance Institute.


Are you missing ballet this year during Piccolo Spoleto? I know I am. It’s always a way to introduce young ballet students to local performances at a reasonable price.

Usually, we have several regional production companies for the festival and performances by local companies, but this year there was no one to step into the void when financial problems reared their head.

So if you want to take the kids to their first ballet, here’s one that promises to please.

The Charleston Youth Ballet is producing this season’s performance of “All in a Rhyme,” based on the enchanting nursery rhymes of Mother Goose.

In this original tale, a young girl named Mary, played by Grace Rauton, sneaks away from her friends, who are off to their daily studies with the governess. She has no interest in her reading lessons and decides to take a nap instead.

Just as she drifts into sleep, Mother Goose, played by Grace Engle, appears to teach her about the joys of reading. Mother Goose, with her magical staff, brings to life the many characters from Mary’s book of rhymes, including favorites such as Little Miss Muffet and the mischievous Spider, Twinkle Little Star and the Three Blind Mice. The ballet highlights the talents of many students who were picked during a countywide audition for a place in the company.

The group is under the direction of Charleston Dance Institute co-founder Jonathan Tabbert, a Charleston-area principal dancer, dance educator and choreographer.

The performance is 7 p.m. Saturday in the Rose Maree Myers Theatre of Performing Arts at the Charleston County School of the Arts, 5109-B W. Enterprise St., North Charleston.

Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for children and are available at the door or by contacting the Charleston Dance Institute at 284-8151.

Another opportunity for the kids is the new production of “Peter Pan” by the Musical Theater Center Company. It will present the classic at 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday in the Wando High School Auditorium.

This musical production, presented by special arrangement with Samuel French Inc., features an all-kid cast ranging in age from 8 to 14. I don’t know about the flying scenes, but Peter Pan, the boy who would not grow up, takes the Darling family children on a magical adventure to Neverland in this beloved musical version of the classic J.M. Barrie play.

The Musical Theater Center Company is the nonprofit division of Once Upon a Ballet.

Allyson Lewis is co-founder of the company, along with director Courtney Sarre, and producer of “Peter Pan.”

Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at, or at the door.

A way to enjoy the arts at no cost is to listen as new plays are read.

Second Sundays at Seven at the South of Broadway Theatre is designed for professional and amateur writers. They encourage collaboration and constructive feedback and foster an open and friendly atmosphere to show off new works, experimental and challenging plays, scenes, poems and live performance pieces. All levels of actors are encouraged to join the team as performers.

Five to 10 pieces will be selected in advance, all under 10 minutes, to be read without rehearsal by actors. Moderators will be present to encourage creative discussion on each piece. There will be an intermission and time for continued networking afterward.

Writers presenting and actors interested in reading should arrive by 6:30 p.m. for preparation on the second Sunday of every month.

Writers wishing to present should submit original theatrical works (excerpts at 10 minutes in length or about seven pages), scenes, monologues and poems. They are due by the first Sunday of every month. Email the script as an attachment, with a character breakdown and short synopsis to second

Audiences are welcome. The theatre is at 1080 E. Montague Ave., North Charleston.

For information, call Jeffery Jelks at 478-955-1759.

Another new play called “Red,” written by Letitia Guillory and presented by Breaking the Wall Productions, will have one production at Pure Theatre.

The play unfolds at the end of the 20th century as the Murrays struggle to hold on to their American dream. With their house in foreclosure and a recent layoff, their coping skills are further tested as the oldest son’s fascination with white supremacy becomes an obsession leading to deadly consequences.

“Red” will be performed at 7 p.m. June 15 at Pure Theatre, 477 King St. The reading and tickets are $5. After the reading, there will be a Q&A with the playwright, director and actors to help fine-tune the play for a fall production.

For information, email

Reach Stephanie Harvin at 937-5557 or