Lynbrook students aim to expand the joys of theater

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Ryan Benevenuto, Scarlet Dellacona and Sofia Yaker learned how to express themselves by participating in theater programs. Now, they would like to extend that opportunity to other students in the Lynbrook School District.

The incoming high school freshmen told the Board of Education on June 12 that they were launching a fully student-run theater program, called Friendship Theatre. “We wanted to provide a place where students — regardless of age, background or academic standing — can have a voice,” Benevenuto explained. “What better place to do this than in a theater program completely run by students — student producers and student directors?”

Dellacona continued to explain that theater helped all of them “meet new people, express ourselves in new ways and gain an overall sense of confidence and accomplishments,” which they wanted to share with others. Speaking to the Herald, she said, she has been involved in stage crew since she was in fifth grade and had to speak to the actors as the stage manager for South Middle School’s production of “The Music Man Jr.,” which helped her make new friends in other grades.

Additionally, Yaker said, theater taught her how to use her voice and “get myself out there because I was really shy in elementary school.”

So, when she and Benevenuto needed to come up with a project that would benefit their community for their Girl Scout Silver Award, they decided they wanted to create a theater program that students of all ages could be involved in. Yaker said she was inspired to do so because she was involved in South’s Lunch Group program, in which she ate lunch and did activities with shy and special needs students. Benevenuto added that she “wanted to have other people be inspired by theater as much as we were, and have it touch their hearts as much as it touched ours.”

As part of Friendship Theatre, everyone who auditions will get a part in the group’s performance of “Annie,” and every child will be able to read their lines.

The performance will be held on July 17 at 8 p.m. at West End Elementary School. For more information about the program, visit www.dyaker1.wixsite.com/friendshiptheatre.