I have been doing theatre for 13 years and I love it. However, there are certain moments when I realize just how important it is to the community.

On April 6 and 13, members and friends of Gannon University’s theatre fraternity, Alpha Psi Omega, performed a show called “Once upon a Forest” in collaboration with the Erie Playhouse. It was a children’s play adapted from the fairy tales written by the Grimm brothers. It intertwines stories like “Snow White,” “Cinderella,” “Hans the Hedgehog” and “The Brave Little Tailor.” The show really came together, and as a co-director of the show I could not have been more proud.

I think the most rewarding part was the feedback we received from students from the Martin Luther King Center. We introduced live theatre to a new generation of people who otherwise may not have gotten that opportunity. Nothing beats seeing a child’s face light up with excitement. And it was all because a group of people worked together. Some of those students have had a rough start to their lives, and for the hour that the show lasted those children could forget about the troubles of the world around them and become absorbed in the story.

That is why it is so important. Everyone needs to smile, and children especially need to know that there is good in the world, so they can have dreams and grow and find happiness. Theatre was their outlet, and even though it was just an hour, at least they had that time to be engaged in something fun.