Friday, May 13, 2016

Maine Stage Academy highlights anit-bullying in new "Stand Out" show - By Michelle Libby

In a performance titled “Stand Out”, students from Main Stage Academy sang, danced and acted their message against bullying and encouraging third and fourth graders to be the author of their own future and have the power to decide what they will be. They also made a pledge, “I can choose not to be defined or limited by bulling or the negative opinions of others.” The eight themes presented were given to the attendees and asked parents to discuss the themes with their children. 

The talented students from Main Stage range in age from 10 to 15 and attend schools in Windham, Gorham and Cumberland. They have been working on this performance since January, when Suzy and Brice Cropper, owners of Main Stage, talked to those performers about bullying and their experiences with it. From there, Suzy and Brice wrote and choreographed the show using specific stories from the actors to help make the point.

“I like doing this because I’ve been bullied a lot. I like teaching other people it’s okay to be different,” said Daphne.  

“A lot of bullying starts younger and grows. Look at yourself. Are you bullying? Then change,” said Kaila. 

The message throughout the show is that if we dream big and work hard, we can make a difference in the world. 

“We are all writing a story every day…the story of our lives,” said one actor in the show. 
The energy was electric as the show built a pyramid of needs from safety to friendship to self-esteem. With audience interaction, the dancing and positive messages written at a level that 8- and 9-year-olds can relate to. “When I’m speaking, I’m really connecting with the audience,” said Alana. 

“A lot of people want to dream big and be a better person. It’s okay to be different. You don’t have to follow in people’s footsteps,” said Samantha. 

The company is going to perform at schools in Gorham, Cumberland and New Gloucester for school aged children to spread their message about standing out. 

“I like how a lot of this is all different genres. If people are bullying you can push away, it’s not going to matter at all. You should never feel down on yourself. And, it’s always important to help other people,” said Emma. 

The only boy in the group is Will. “I chose to be here. I like to sing and people said I had a good singing voice. I wanted to make friends with girls, too. I’m definitely standing out,” he said. “I was bullied because I sing and not play sports. I show other guys that if you like singing you can stand out and join other things,” he added. 

The message about dreaming big and standing up for what you believe resonated with Amy Cropper. “It tells people that you don’t have to do what you’re told just because you’re a kid.” 

Throughout the show Suzy has used “teachable moments” to encourage the students. “You’ve made those choices to stand out,” she told them. 

There will be one show for friends and family at Gorham Middle School at 7 p.m. on May 27. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students. girl who was currently being bullied about her acne said it was hard to cope with it. “I feel really safe here. We’re just a group of friends doing what we love.” 

For more on performances or to purchase tickets for the May 27th show, visit

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