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EAST LANSING, Mich. —The East Lansing Department of Parks, Recreation and Arts (ELPRA) is proud to announce that its virtual theatre programming has been selected as a 2021 Innovative Programming Award Winner by mParks - Michigan Recreation and Park Association.ELPRA was selected as an award winner in recognition of the All-of-us Express Children’s Theatre’s (AECT) efforts to transition from providing face-to-face programming to virtual programming during the COVID-19 pandemic. AECT was able to utilize Zoom and other resources to offer 10 virtual drama camps from July through August, in which 81 students participated.One of the virtual drama camps included AECT’s Studio Class, which began studying “The Little Prince” in early January. AECT successfully transitioned the six-month, in-person theatrical study program into a nine-month program by hosting rehearsals via Zoom and physically distanced outdoor rehearsals in the summer. The program was able to host two live, outdoor performances in August. The performances took place in a large tent, attendance was limited, audiences were required to physically distance and the actors wore masks.Most recently, AECT held its first-ever virtual production on November 6, which was a double-bill performance of “Snow White” and “The Princess and the Pea.” Close to 50 area youth participated on the cast and crews, and 78 families purchased tickets to watch the performance via YouTube.“We are extremely proud of the All-of-us Express Children’s Theatre team for their hard work to transition to a virtual format, so that area youth can continue to participate in theatre and the community can continue to enjoy theatre productions during these difficult times,” said East Lansing Parks, Recreation and Arts Director Tim McCaffrey.The Michigan Recreation and Park Association honors exemplary park and recreation professionals and citizen advocates through the Association’s annual awards. Honorees embody the core values of the profession, demonstrate the highest level of performance in their job duties and maintain a tremendous commitment to mParks and its membership.ELPRA’s award will be presented at the 2021 Virtual mParks Conference on February 3, 2021 during the 9 a.m. general session.
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