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South Arkansas Arts Center develops youth theater program

The South Arkansas Arts Center in El Dorado is moving forward to develop a youth theater program, staging a production of Disney’s “101 Dalmatians KIDS” next year.

The audition-only, performing arts youth theater class is under the direction of husband and wife team Shelton and Victoria Harden. The Hardens have taught youth arts programs in El Dorado for years.

Shelton Harden says he hopes this musical, based on the classic animated film, will be the first of many productions of this kind.

“If you’re familiar with El Dorado, you know there’s a great deal of interest in the arts in general. There are always people who are looking for opportunities for their children,” Harden said. “We’re hoping that if we can successfully get the word out that we’ll have a good turnout and put together a really nice production.”

The South Arkansas Arts Center’s executive director Beth James Burns says the El Dorado Chapter of Kiwanis International awarded a $5,000 grant for helping fund the production.

The money will go toward acquiring rights to the musical, building stage sets and making costumes.

Casting auditions for “101 Dalmatians KIDS” is set for Jan. 11 and 12.

The musical will be staged March 28 through April 2.

Chuck Smith brings more than 30 years' broadcast and media experience to Red River Radio. He began his career as a radio news reporter and transitioned to television journalism and newsmagazine production. Chuck studied mass communications at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia and motion picture / television production at the University of California at Los Angeles. He has also taught writing for television at York Technical College in Rock Hill, South Carolina and video / film production at Centenary College of Louisiana, Shreveport.
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