Manning Early Childhood Center may have some future Broadway stars in the making. More than 80 students from the school participated in The Baillie Players’ production of Hansel and Gretel on May 24 at Weldon Auditorium.
Buren Martin’s goal has always been to bring more fine arts programs into the public schools of South Carolina. Martin is owner and executive director of The Baillie Players, and his wife, Dottie, is the managing director. The Baillie Players tour schools across the Southeast, producing and performing in shows with students of all ages.
The Baillie Players’ version of Hansel and Gretel was written to include seven musical selections from the 60s, 70s and 80s, with the words modified to fit its theme. Music/songs included numbers from hits such as The Manhattans “Shining Star” and Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive.”
Manning Primary School art teacher Tammy Moye and MPS and MECC music teacher Karen Washington were directors for the show.
“I’m really proud of how the students performed tonight,” Washington said.
Students had been practicing for the show for more than two months.
Martin performed as the narrator and The Witch, and his son, Milner, was the sound operator.
Martin has served in administrative positions in several public schools across South Carolina, and decided to combine his two passions of education and theater.
Today, he produces a wide selection of shows for schools across the Southeast.
“What I find is that a lot of teachers don’t have the time to produce shows, build sets and props, sew costumes and all of other materials required to have a performance,” he said. “I have a lot of fun producing, performing and giving children an introduction to theater.”