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Family First Nights celebrates 10 years of impact

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The Broadway League’s Family First Nights® at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center is celebrating its tenth season making a difference in our community.

The Center is proud to share the Broadway League’s Family First Nights®, a nationwide program that began in 2005 specifically designed to encourage underrepresented families to attend theater on a regular basis. For those who participate in the program through the Fox Cities P.A.C. in partnership with the Boys & Girls Club of the Fox Valley, it is also a dynamic, interactive experience that changes the way they communicate with each other and look at each performance. The goal of the program is to introduce families to the magic of Broadway and create lasting memories through dinner discussions, activity suggestions, and hosted education extension activities to give them deeper perspective on what they will be seeing.

For the Iervolino-Haaks family, their 2015-16 experience as part of the program continues to be a fond memory for them.

“It was a great opportunity to participate in educational programs that deepened the experience of the shows that we would attend; (shows) as a single mother, I would not have been able to afford,” said Trudy.
Some of the extension activities that season included a dance lesson as they learned about Newsies, costume changing tricks in conjunction with Cinderella and a visit to a recording studio for Motown.
“It was fantastic to connect as a family with all the learning activities, the shows with the other families and the program organizers who did such an excellent job putting it all together,” Trudy explained. “(It was) such a solid community experience.”

Families complete an application with the Boys & Girls Club and pay a nominal fee to participate in the program, while the generosity of Dr. John and Sally Mielke and contributions of the Center’s Annual Partners offset the cost of the rest of the program, and touring productions contribute time for meet and greets post-show.

“Saying thank you hardly seems adequate to all the donors who generously supported these programs.  And also to the staff of Boys & Girls Club, Fox Cities P.A.C., other participating individuals and organizations and last but not least the actors themselves, all of whom contributed their time, energy, and love of the arts which were shared so deeply with the families in our community,” Trudy said.

“This program definitely was a huge part of shaping my son’s cultural awareness. It gave us quality time to share creating our family history that will be remembered, relived and retold into our future,” she added. “A golden opportunity not to be missed.”
 
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