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“Pete the Cat” Entertains New Friends

By Jean Oliverio, ISS Student Programs Arts & Extra-Curricular Coordinator

Young students from nineteen area schools experienced live theatre this month.  Almost 2500 preK through first graders from Cattaraugus and Allegany counties attended the TheatreWorks USA performances of Pete the Cat.  A cool cat named Pete, along with Jimmy and the Biddle family, went on a lively and colorful adventure filled with songs, dance and an insightful message about friendship.

The show at Olean High School on May 10 held added excitement for two local classes, who, thanks to their teachers, learned first-hand about forming new friendships.  First grade teachers, Stacey Clayson of Prospect Elementary and Kristin Yehl of Portville Central, and their students were both traveling to Olean High School to watch the TheatreWorks performance.  Their students had been communicating as pen-pals, but hadn’t actually met in person.  The 35 eager students (30 shown BELOW) were able to meet their long-distance friends before the show started. Front row seating was reserved for the special guests. It was exciting to witness the kids’ enthusiasm as they met face-to-face for the first time.  Both teachers were equally as enthusiastic and allowed the pen-pals to sit together to watch the show.

Kristin Yehl, from Portville, explained, “It was such a special treat meeting our pen-pals at the play. My kids were over-the-moon excited to meet up, and extremely happy to have seats reserved up front. We really enjoyed the play. They always do a great job keeping the audience entertained and engaged. We’re busy now writing back to our pen-pals because they delivered letters to us at the play.”

TheatreWorks USA is a professional acting company based out of New York City.  It is America’s largest and most prolific professional theatre for young audiences.

BOCES Arts In Education, CoSer 403, helps schools enrich the lives of their students by providing opportunities to experience the performing arts.  Fillmore Central, Olean High and Arcade Elementary opened their auditoriums to host these performances.  For more information about bringing TheatreWorks shows to your area, contact Student Programs at 716-376-8284.