Shafter Children's Summer Theater performs The Lion King
August 13, 2020 | View PDF
The Shafter Children's Summer Theater celebrated its 25th anniversary with three performances of The Lion King over the weekend. The performances were put on at Shafter's Ford Theater and streamed for the audience to watch it virtually. The production was put on by Cris Starrh and her staff of volunteers.
Starrh began the SCST when her children were small and needing something to do during the summer. In partnership with the Shafter Recreation Department and Shafter High School, they started the children's theater with a production of "101 Dalmations."
The theater used kids in grades K-8, and after seeing the impact the plays had on children and the community, Starrh decided to keep it going after her kids aged out of the program.
Some other productions put on by the SCST were The Wizard of Oz, Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, Tarzan, Aladdin, Snow White, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Mulan, Annie, and The Little Mermaid.
The Lion King had a large cast including Jocelyn Martinez as Rafiki, Matthew Maldonado as Mufasa, Ryan Eubanks as a Young Simba and Carter Kohler as Scar.
Starting with a cast of 15 and a staff of two, the SCST has grown into a program with casts of 80 and a staff of over 20. Once the young actors are too old to participate in the program, they are invited to be on the production team, taking on roles as director, assistant director, choreographer, set designers, stage managers, among other positions.
SCST also has had many community members who lend their skills and expertise to productions. "We've also been blessed with many Shafter businesses sponsoring us financially, allowing us to continue year after year," Starrh said
An added blessing came with the opening of the Ford Theater, giving them a home of their own to perform in, she said.