Courtesy of Spruce Peak Arts
A "Wizard of Oz" Zoom birthday party in action
Several weeks ago, Spruce Peak Arts
executive director Hope Sullivan was listening in to her 9-year-old daughter's playdate on the video conferencing platform Zoom, when she had an idea. At the time, she and her staff had been thinking about how the Stowe-based organization — which in normal times hosts live performances, school-based theater education programs and camps — could adapt their work to enrich the community during the "Stay Home, Stay Safe" period.
What if, she thought, the organization created online theater-themed birthday parties for kids celebrating their big day while physically apart from their friends? They decided to try it out.
Families can contact Spruce Peak Arts to schedule a date and time for their child's party. Then, kids or parents pick a story they want birthday party guests to act out. Spruce Peak Arts staff writes a short script based on that story, and sends out email invitations to each guest with a script, each person's role, and ideas for costumes and props. During the party, which runs for 75 minutes and is held on Zoom, guests rehearse the script, then do a final performance that is recorded and sent to the birthday kid's family. Parties are free for Vermont kids.
In the week and a half since the program has been running, Spruce Peak Arts has hosted three birthday parties, with another four lined up. Themes have ranged from Greek mythology to Winnie the Pooh. Said Sullivan: It's been a fun exercise in trying out something totally new and different."
Find out more about Zoom Birthday Parties through Spruce Peak Arts here. The organization's website also has a Virtual Screening Room, where visitors can watch videos of past performers at Spruce Peak Arts, including family-friendly, Boston-based ensemble the Gottabees.