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‘Time to Sleep, Sheep!’ educates preschoolers
Carlisle School student Collin Rachner (center) performed Tuesday in the play “Time to Sleep, Sheep!” at Piedmont Arts. About 200 preschoolers attended the two ZipZapZop Theatre Co. performances Tuesday. (Bulletin photos by Ashley Jackson)
Students in the ZipZapZop Theatre Co. from Carlisle School kept their audience of preschoolers wide awake with a play about sleep on Tuesday.
The Carlisle high school students presented “Time to Sleep, Sheep!” — a play on the importance of sleep — to about 200 area preschoolers.
Sleep is important because it affects how a person acts the next day; a lack of sleep makes a person grumpy and cranky, the Carlisle students told to the audience.
The students also offered tips on how to sleep better at night and how to fall asleep. For instance, they suggested the children exercise during the daylight and have a snack, such as a glass of milk, piece of fruit or cereal, before bed.
The children should go to bed at the same time every night, whether they have school the next day or not, and have quiet time, such as reading a book, before going to bed, the older students said.
Lullabies also help relax someone to fall asleep. The performers sang two lullabies to the children, including one lullaby native to the Philippines.
As part of the performance, the Carlisle students read books to tie into the lesson. Students read aloud “Russell the Sheep” and “Olivia who would not sleep.”
With each book, the performers acted out the scenes of the story to make it come alive. At certain points, the performers had the preschoolers act out the scenes with them by either hooting like an owl or flapping their arms like bat wings.
Ashley Cooper, prekindergarten instructor at Early Head Start for STEP Inc., was impressed with the performance and liked how the high school performers interacted with the preschoolers, she said.
Cooper felt the performance was “very informative,” and she will use some of the sleeping tips at the Head Start center, she said.
Candace Owen-Williams, instructor for the Carlisle drama and dance group, chose the topic of sleep for the performance because as a mother, she knows how important sleep is, and she wanted her drama students to relay that message to young children, she said.
ZipZapZop Theatre Co. from Carlisle School performs at Piedmont Arts three times a year, and they are the highlights of the year for the group, Owen-Williams said.
Performing for the preschoolers “makes them feel young again,” Owen-Williams said. With all of the pressures of high school, “it’s a nice release for them” to perform for the young audience, she added.
The ZipZapZop Theatre Co. is hoping to form another partnership with Piedmont Arts in the winter in which the high school students would lead theater workshops to teach area second-graders how to act and speak on stage, Owen-Williams said.
For Carlisle student Hanna Lyle, performing for younger children has “gotten me out of my box a lot,” she said.
Lyle admitted that in the past she was not comfortable performing, but in front of the young audience her stage fright goes away. “They (the children) get so into it ... they love it,” which she likes to see when she’s on stage, she added.
Nash Tetterton, a Carlisle student, enjoys working with children and performing for them because it’s the most honest feedback a performer can get, he said.
With the performance, Tetterton said he hopes that he inspired the preschoolers to practice better sleeping habits and to pursue theater when they are older.
His interest in theater was sparked when he was in kindergarten, he said. Performing allows him to use his creativity and his imagination, which he enjoys, Tetterton said.
Piedmont Arts offers programs to preschoolers to expose children to performing arts at a young age, said Heidi Pinkston, education coordinator at Piedmont Arts.
Since some preschoolers have never been to a live performance or an art gallery, the programs help them comfortable in that setting and learn how to behave at both a performance and in a gallery, Pinkston said.
Preschoolers in attendance were from First Presbyterian Church Weekday School, Clearview Early Learning Center, Patrick County Early Head Start, Rocky Mount Head Start and Early Head Start for STEP Inc.