The Random Farms Kids' Theater is a not-for-profit organization that puts young people center stage.
It is dedicated to creating a safe environment where children of all backgrounds are encouraged to discover the joy of theater within themselves -- on and off the stage. Through its programs, students develop an appreciation for arts and music, cultivate leadership and life skills, and build self-esteem.
Random Farms further extends this impact beyond its own doors by providing community resources that increase access to the performing arts, and by motivating social change through live theater.
The Random Farms Kids Theater, Inc. was created in 1995 by a then sixteen-year-old high school student, Anya Wallach, a resident of Random Farms in Chappaqua, New York, who hoped to form a local theater for neighborhood children. Its first production, "A Broadway Musical Review" was performed at the Random Farms clubhouse and incorporated thirteen local children ranging in age from eight to twelve years old and an audience of proud parents.
RFKT has come a long way since then. Although it still goes by the same name, RFKT soon outgrew the Random Farms clubhouse. Its productions have been professionally staged at theaters throughout Westchester County, NY. Today, members come from all over Westchester and Putnam Counties, New York City, New Jersey and Connecticut, and range in age from kindergarten through college. As of 2006, RFKT is the resident children's theater at The Tarrytown Music Hall.
RFKT has also produced an abundance of Mainstage musicals, original musicals, workshops, summer programs, CD's, and has been featured on the FOX News Channel, "Today In New York" on NBC, and in The New York Times and the Daily News. In 2009, Random Farms provided the children playing the Munchkins in the national touring production of The Wizard of Oz at Madison Square Garden. In 2010, Disney Theatricals chose Random Farms to pilot The Little Mermaid, Jr.
Over fifty kids from the theater have landed roles on Broadway, and countless others have been seen in feature films, television shows and commercials. [Click here for a complete list.]
Throughout the year, RFKT hosts special events, including an annual showcase in NYC for agents, managers and casting directors, which is free to all who participate. Other special events include the annual Gala, Headshot Day, and master classes and seminars in all aspects of musical theater. The Edge, RFKT's company for high school and college students, provides the older and more serious actor with opportunities to perform more challenging pieces. In 2008, Random Farms On Tour was created to bring professional touring musicals, dealing with relevent social issues, into local schools. Using all children in the cast, this program is free to the performers who participate, and affordable to schools.
Anya Wallach, now a graduate of New York University, continues to produce the theater's musicals. Professional directors, musical directors and choreographers now work directly with the children to mount the ever-increasing number of shows produced each year at RFKT.
RFKT mixes a professional environment and training with the relaxed fun and enthusiasm of a kid's community theater. It is this combination that attracts both the youngest, most inexperienced performer and the theatrical veteran alike, so that all can share in the magic that comes from creating a musical. All cast members receive intensive training in singing, dancing and acting, while learning about other aspects of theater as well.
RFKT prides itself on the fact that it is not a school or summer camp, but a non-profit all-kids theater company. Actors cast in the Mainstage and Edge productions are carefully selected through auditions that attract actors, singers and dancers from all over the tri-state area. Workshops are open to children of all levels and abilities.
Of course, RFKT also relies on professional services and enthusiastic parents to help produce its high quality shows. From expert costume designers and a professional musicians, to the Broadway and film actors who perform onstage, RFKT is able to profit from a wealth of knowledge and experience drawn to its unique blend of kids and theater arts.
At the end of each production, RFKT's young performers continue their involvement with the performing arts - be it in church choirs, school drama groups, community theater and, for some, on Broadway, film and television. Wherever RFKT's kids go, they carry with them not only the memories of the enormous fun they had together, but also the irreplaceable social and professional skills they acquired during their time with RFKT.
Random Farms has developed a series of Community Outreach programs to engage more young people in the performing arts. Click here to learn more.
"Random Farms has a great reputation for developing young performers and their love of theater, which coincides with Disney Theatrical’s mission to inspire the next generation of theatregoers and theatremakers... Random Farms’ proximity and production expertise are added benefits."
Steve Fickinger, Disney Theatrical VP of Creative Development and Theatrical Licenscing [source: The Journal News]