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RCE prepares for inaugural theater production of The Lion King Jr.




Ridge Creek Elementary, first-grade teacher, Shanna Lumpkin was awarded a Lion King Experience grant from the Disney Theatrical Group and Musical Theatre International (MTI).


With hopes of starting a Ridge Creek Elementary Drama Club Lumpkin applied for the Disney grant late last year to introduce the students to the world of theatre. After receiving the Disney grant to produce The Lion King Jr., over 50 students have joined the schools Drama Club. Once a week third through fifth-grade students meet for Drama Club practice after school. In production practices students learn about what it means to have pride in themselves and their show.


“The students are very dedicated to the show and I have seen them grow through this experience,” Lumpkin said. “I believe it has opened their eyes to what they can accomplish with this opportunity.”  


Each year the Disney Theatrical Group gifts a small number of public elementary schools with The Lion King Experience: KIDS Edition grant.  In addition to a performance license to produce The Lion King JR., a 30-minute adaption of the Broadway production created for elementary school students, Lumpkin received a multi-media curriculum to introduce students to a wide range of theatrical skills. Some of the materials included in the curriculum are step-by-step lesson plans, three djembe drums and totems, choreography and demonstration DVDs, a piano and vocal score, and scripts. Along with the show materials she received a $500 gift card to Office Depot for additional materials for the production. Although the grant did not come with sets and costumes, the curriculum demonstrates ways to create costumes, scenery, and detailed examples of how to create masks and puppets for the show.


“I believe having theatre experience in elementary school will be a launch pad for the students before heading to middle school,” Lumpkin said. “The curriculum is keeping the students engaged and if this taste of theatre has helped them find a new passion, I’ve done my job.”


Most recently through her Donors Choose project, Lumpkin met her goal of the $1,930, needed to purchase a sound system for their production. The students will now have a sound system with eight wireless microphones, two large cabinet speakers, and a powered mixer.  This will not only help their current production but can be used for future productions.  


“My hope is that this experience will leave a lasting impression in their hearts and a creative spark in their worlds,” Lumpkin said.


The Ridge Creek Elementary Drama Club performance of The Lion King JR. is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 30. For more information please contact Shanna Lumpkin,