Kids hitting the stage this summer, learning new skills - WEEK.com: Peoria-area News, Weather, Sports

Kids hitting the stage this summer, learning new skills

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PEORIA, Ill. (WEEK) -

Some kids are skipping the couch and computer this summer and are hitting the stage instead. 

It's always scary to try new things at first, but some students involved in the Nitsch Theatre Arts Program said it's helped build their self-esteem. The program brings in kids from an array of backgrounds and they don't turn anyone away.  

"You can totally go out there and you're afraid, but once you do your first scene, you're like on it, and you know everything and it's breathtaking sometimes," said participant Isaac Leman. 

For some students in the program it's not only about being on stage; they learn impeccable life skills too. 

"It can help people learn how to interact with other people," said participant Noah Peterson. 

The founder started Nitsch Theatre Arts when she moved to Illinois four years ago from Sarasota, Florida. 

"Our main focus is our youth and the arts-education aspect of it. So we want to go into local communities and bring them either what's missing in their arts or things they want in their communities that they can't offer," said founder Kelleen Nitsch. 

Nitsh offers a lot of programs. The program called 'stage kids' drew in about 200 young people this summer, from six locations. Each location has their own case of the show. 

They are currently rehearsing for Lion King Jr. 

"When I started, I was just an extra in a whole bunch of church plays, for years and years and years," said Peterson. 

"You get like all these people you had no idea can do theatre. They come in and nail the show, which is a lot of fun too," stated Leman. 

"You're going to make it in the show, so you mine as well try it. Who knows, you might love it and be able to be super good at it. Even if you're not the greatest, you can still have a really great time doing it," said another participant Eve Yoder. 

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