ShowKids Invitational Theatre (SKIT) is a non-profit repertory community theater group. Its objective in both show selection as well as casting is to provide productions featuring its young performers in the principal roles, surrounded by an experienced artistic and technical team to produce some of the best theater possible. Founded in 1986 to offer the children of Hunterdon County and its surrounding area an opportunity to experience the joys of theater and give the community professional quality theater productions, it has since blossomed into an organization that also provides families the opportunity to share quality time while providing an unending amount of wonderful memories. SKIT's young performers, ranging in age from 5 to 18, join SKIT based on a desire to perform in the theater and a willingness to give the dedication and self-discipline it requires.
SKIT MISSION STATEMENT
To offer the community professional-caliber entertainment, primarily full-scale productions of family-oriented musicals.
To provide SKIT members (children ages 7-18) with a nurturing theatrical experience. The children strive for excellence in theatre in an environment which fosters self-esteem through achievement.
To provide SKIT parents with opportunities to spend quality time with their children working towards a common goal, thereby enriching the lives of both parents and children.
For more information, or if interested in joining SKIT please visit JoinSKIT.
MORE ABOUT SKIT
ShowKids Invitational Theatre (SKIT) is a non-profit youth organization dedicated to making theatre magic for audiences of all ages. Based in High Bridge, New Jersey, SKIT offers the community professional-quality family entertainment from its home at Voorhees High School in Lebanon Township. SKIT presents two full-scale musical productions per year, with each show running for 4 to 6 performances. Recent productions have included “Mary Poppins”, "Into the woods, Jr.", "Newsies", “Little Shop of Horrors”, and “Frozen, Jr.”.
The most common reaction of first-time SKIT audience members is “I didn’t expect it to be that good!” They discover what founder, producer and director Carolyn Newman knows – there is no limit to what children can achieve if they work hard and enjoy what they’re doing. In fact, in 2001 SKIT was named Outstanding Community Theatre by the NJ Association of Community Theatres (NJ ACT)
Most of SKIT's performers, ranging in age from 7 to 18, hail from Hunterdon County, but often enthusiastic performers join from Hunterdon's surrounding areas as well. Being involved with SKIT is a tremendously positive and rewarding experience for the children. They learn how to work together with others to accomplish their goal: a successful show capable of delighting audiences. They learn that the harder they work, the better their performances. And the better their performances, whether they are in starring roles or in the chorus, the better the show as a whole.
Although rehearsals are time-consuming, most SKIT members still manage to be above average students. Many also are involved in other activities: sports, music, dance or student government. They learn to make the most of the time they have, which sometimes means studying during a rehearsal break, instead of socializing. The atmosphere is one of achievement, and the lessons they learn in striving for excellence on stage carry over to their daily lives.
Carolyn Newman founded SKIT in 1987, though it could be said that SKIT found her. A former Registered Dietitian, Newman was asked to direct a small children’s production, and soon after the performance began receiving calls from parents who wanted to know how their kids could join her group. Though she had not intended to go beyond that one production, she suddenly found herself with a fledgling theatre troupe. She has since guided SKIT through many successful seasons, and has watched as the ranks of cast members and fans alike have grown! Newman has received several personal honors for her work, including the Golden Award from the Hunterdon County Chamber of Commerce. In 1992 she was proud to accept the MasterCard Leadership in Entrepreneurial Achievement and Philanthropy (LEAP) Award for the U.S. Eastern Region. Carolyn has received 26 nominations from the New Jersey Association of Community Theatres (NJACT) for Outstanding Director of a Musical and/or Outstanding Production of a Musical. In 2016 Carolyn was inducted into the NJACT Hall of Fame.
SKIT EASES LESS-EXPERIENCED MEMBERS INTO THE GROUP
As the ranks of SKIT members have grown over the years, the group has diversified in order to accommodate the members’ various skill and experience levels. To accommodate young performers interested in joining, SKIT generally introduces them into roles compatible with their skills. This provides these young performers the opportunity to learn what SKIT is all about, perform with other young actors and actresses of similar skills, but learn new skills from other more experienced performers.
THE ROLE OF PARENTS IN SKIT
The parents of SKIT members are integral to the success of the group. SKIT is structured as a family activity; parents are required to perform backstage duties in order to ensure the success of the show. They construct sets, make costumes, sell tickets, design hair and make-up effects and do sound and lighting, among the myriad tasks involved in mounting a full-scale production. Rather than look at those jobs as burdensome, most parents relish the opportunities to utilize their creative talents and spend meaningful time with their kids. Parents also contribute financially to SKIT. Families pay a tuition each year, with the money going directly toward the productions. Financial aid is provided where needed so that no child need is excluded.
Just like the growth seen in children, SKIT's parents develop tremendous skills from their involvement and also develop life-long friendships from the camaraderie developed in working on a show together.