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Curtain rises Thursday on ‘Alice in Wonderland’ at Northampton High School

Photo Courtesy Jason Mark
Leeds Schoopl first graders  ushered in Earth Day with an original song, written by their teacher, Lauren Lawrence-Riddell. They performed the tune at a schoolwide Community Meeting April 10 to highlight their study of Earth Day and its message about protecting the environment.

Photo Courtesy Jason Mark Leeds Schoopl first graders ushered in Earth Day with an original song, written by their teacher, Lauren Lawrence-Riddell. They performed the tune at a schoolwide Community Meeting April 10 to highlight their study of Earth Day and its message about protecting the environment. Purchase photo reprints »

— A production of “Alice in Wonderland” that opens Thursday at Northampton High School is a “collaboration of all the arts,” said NHS senior Bailey Lathrop, who is directing the show in the school’s Fayette Congdon Auditorium.

Puppets, live music and a set featuring a 7-foot bridge and giant chess pieces will help bring an adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s classic story to life. Performances will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, with an added 2 p.m. show on Saturday. Tickets are $5 and are available at the door.

Lathrop said she settled on the idea of directing “Alice” more than a year ago.

“I knew we had a large talent pool at the high school and I wanted to give everyone an opportunity to shine,” she said. “Also, it’s a fun play that’s good for all audiences.”

Rehearsals have been underway since October. The show’s 21-member cast has focused on capturing the fantastic, logic-challenging world of Carroll’s books, Lathrop said.

“What I love is that the show really showcases all the arts and shows how important they are and how passionate everyone is about them,” she said.

Among Lathrop’s creative collaborators at NHS are fellow senior Abby Adams, music composer; senior Laura Krok-Horton and junior Rozi Tabachnik, puppeteers; junior Jace Hill, costume designer; seniors Allie Martineau and Margauz Paine, set designers; senior Julia Burton and junior Ezekiel Baskin, producer and stage manager; and junior Chakatpol Dechanupong, technical director. NHS sophomore Mina Bond plays the lead.

Lathrop, whose directing debut occurred last year during the annual NHS One Acts Festival, said she’s learned a lot about theater as a collective enterprise.

“I just have such a great team of people,” Lathrop said. “I’ve learned directing is very difficult, but it pays off in the end.”

By the way, Lathop plans to study theater in college.

•••

SPED PAC to talk budget

The Northampton Special Education Parent Advisory Council has organized a meeting tonight at 6:30 p.m. in the Community Room at JFK Middle School about the impact of the proposed school budget on special education programs and staffing next year.

The 2014 budget approved by the School Committee earlier this month calls for eliminating a districtwide special education teacher and a staff member, as well as cutting other special education staff positions at individual city schools. The plan also calls for increasing some part-time special education staff to full or close to full time.

Laurie Farkas, director of student services for the city schools, will be on hand to answer questions at tonight’s meeting.

“I’m going to be as descriptive as I can to try and help people understand the budget information,” she said.

For details, call advisory council member Martha Jenkins at 586-5113.

•••

Volunteers wanted

The Hilltown Families online network is hosting a second Family Community Service event on May 4 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Leeds School.

The event offers families an opportunity to participate in free, hands-on service projects at stations hosted by nonprofits supporting animal welfare, conservation and sustainable agriculture.

A special service passport will help guide families through the stations and allow children to share what they like best about each project, organizers said.

Among the seven options are a bird house-building station hosted by the Franklin Land Trust and the Northampton High School Woodworking Club; a catnip toy-making station hosted by Dakin Pioneer Valley Humane Society; and a station about growing extra food in the family garden hosted by Grow Food Northampton.

The event is free, but space is limited. Registration must be received by the morning of May 4. To sign up, visit hilltownfamilies.wordpress.com.

•••

Earth Day at Leeds

First-graders at Leeds School ushered in Earth Day with an original song, written by their teacher Lauren Lawrence-Riddell.

Riddell’s students performed the tune at a schoolwide Community Meeting April 10 to highlight their study of Earth Day and its message about protecting the environment.

Below are some of Riddell’s “Earth Day 1st Grade Jam” lyrics, sung to the tune of the popular Taio Cruz song, “Dynamite”:

“I throw my garbage in the garbage can,

Singin’ ayo, we love our Earth, so!

For Mother Earth we’ve got to take a stand,

Singin’ ayo, we love our Earth so!...

We came to move, move, move, move.”

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