New theater program to present the first show


A year-round youth theater program has been added to the educational offering of the River Raisin Center for the Arts.

The Monroe School of Performing Arts started in September and is open to middle and high school students aged 12 to 18. It meets from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturdays at the RRCA, which hosts a summer theater arts camp for local youth each year.

“We started discussing the concept and the need for a year-round theater program in the spring of 2021,” said Claire Bechard, program director and former dancer with River Raisin Ballet Co., who runs the school. with Dillon Sickels. “We are an open community of artists and want to involve as many students as possible in the performing arts.”

The program only had five students as of September, but the number has increased.

“We have seven wonderful actors,” Bechard said.

Session 2 will open this winter; other students are welcome.

“We hope the students will come back for our second semester in February, our third semester and the summer musical,” Bechard said.

Bechard performs in Detroit with Suttles Dance, a contemporary dance company. She has also taught dance at Monroe Public Schools, Detroit Country Day, and RRCA.

Sickels is an actor at the RRCA and an instructor at the Summer Theater Arts Camp.

Both are in their final year of university and will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in performing arts.

“Right now, Dillon and I are the primary instructors,” Bechard said. “We have also worked closely with Tracy Glover (director of the Summer Theater Arts Camp) and look forward to adding more musical elements with her for our next performance.”

To learn more about the Monroe School of Performing Arts, email Bechard at [email protected]


The Monroe School of Performing Arts’ premiere performance, “Aesop’s (Oh So Slightly) Updated Fables,” is scheduled for November 13 at 6 p.m. and November 14 at 4 p.m. at the River Raisin Center for the Arts, 114 S. Monroe St.

Tickets cost $ 5-10 each.

The seven students – Isabella Faunce, Bryson Goda, Londyn Heinzerling, Ralph Jordan, Marie LaRoy, Brianna Lynch and Molly Wilkins – will star in this brief modern re-enactment of Aeosp’s six fables, “The Dog and the Bone,” “The La tortoise and the hare ”,“ The lion and the mouse ”,“ The chambermaid ”,“ The fox and the grapes ”and“ The miller, his son and his donkey ”.

“The show is a six-part play,” explains Claire Bechard, director of programming. “There’s a bit of dancing, but it’s mostly a direct game. It seemed like the most reasonable option for our first performance as a youth company. All of our students have multiple roles throughout the show. We made sure to give each student multiple lines and plenty of opportunities to engage with the audience. They were very excited about their roles, and we couldn’t be happier.

Costumes and accessories will have a modern feel.

“Because this is a modern retelling of Aesop’s fables, students will wear modern street clothes with a few additional elements for storytelling purposes,” Bechard said. “There aren’t too many props involved, but I can share that what we use is sure to make audiences laugh.”

“Dillon (Sickels, program director) and I are delighted with the progress of our students,” Bechard said. “They’ve been so involved throughout the process, and we couldn’t have picked a better group to work with. They all fit into their roles so well and they’ve worked hard to create a final product that we can. all to be proud of. We can truly see their progress and their potential. “

For tickets, visit or call (734) 242-RRCA.

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