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Library Children’s Department ‘Act It Out’ as Summer Reading Program comes to an end

By Staff | Aug 3, 2018

Assistant Director Sadie Hagerty,12, announces the title of the second play, as the actors prepare for the performance to begin. Photo by Tabitha Johnston.

SHEPHERDSTOWN — Shepherdstown Public Library Children’s Librarian Christy Hagerty spent the morning of July 24 teaching local children how to “Act It Out.”

The acting program was one of the last children’s events scheduled to complement this year’s summer reading program, according to Library Assistant Tish Wiggs.

“This event’s a little bit smaller than some, but it’s just right for this space,” Wiggs said, mentioning the library is still looking forward to its outdoor summer family movie night on Aug. 8.

According to Christy, the acting program — where children learned two short plays and performed them for a small audience — was a program she has been wanting to plan for a while.

“This is the first time we’ve ever done it, but it’s something I’ve been toying with for a couple of summers,” Christy said before the performance began. “We have seven kids, so they each get to have two different parts in two different plays. The performance is almost completely kid-run.”

The actors prepare to bow at the end of their performance in the Shepherdstown Public Library Children's Department. Photo by Tabitha Johnston.

Christy’s daughter, 12-year-old Sadie Hagerty, helped direct the seven children through understanding their scripts and blocking the performances of “The Wide-Mouthed Frog” and “The Bremen Town Musicians.” Sadie has acted in over 10 Black Box Arts Center productions, and said she enjoyed experiencing theater from a directing perspective, for the first time in her life.

“I just really like acting, so I wanted to experience directing a play, instead of acting in it, for once. It feels really good to produce something, but it also feels really nice to be part of the production,” Sadie said, mentioning she hopes this experience will encourage some of the program’s actors to try community theater.

Some of the program’s actors, like Charlie Sutherland, of Kearneysville, were already part of the community theater scene. In July, Sutherland played Lucille Van Kooglestein in the “James and the Giant Peach” production at The Old Opera House, and said her love for performing is what made her want to be part of the library program.

Annie Mitchell, of Shepherdstown, said her three children enjoy creating, acting out and recording plays at home during their free time, so she knew the program would be a good experience for them. According to Mitchell, “Act It Out” wasn’t just about performing — it taught the cast members how to work together.

“Imagination is a big thing they need to develop, because it helps with creative thinking. However, it was a team-building exercise as well,” Mitchell said.