1989 Kids Kompany was started by Connie McCracken. She felt that children around the area had a significant number of athletic camps to choose from each summer, but that camps promoting the fine arts were few and far between. Looking back, and considering the success of Kids Kompany within the community, she must have been right.
In the summer of 1989 our first troop of actors and actresses reported for duty. Mom, Luke and I (and yes, even Dad) had worked for weeks turning the backyard into our own “Omni-Theater”. We were all a bit nervous, but very excited about getting the show on the road. The first day came and went and the kids seemed to have a wonderful time. They loved making props, scenery and creating their own costumes. And, of course we also had those who liked to “accidentally” spray one another with the water hose while cleaning out paint brushes. After two weeks that just seemed to fly by, Performance Friday finally rolled around. Our little thespians presented three very short performances to a gracious group of friends, family, and 20 students from the Eddy Daycare. From here on, “the rest was history”.
Because of one too many sleepless nights worrying about the weather, “will it rain on Friday?”, in 1992, Kids Kompany was moved indoors. As you can imagine, this greatly relieved the stress level on Mom. The move was met with mixed feelings on the part of the kids. However, when they saw how elaborate scenery could become when wind, rain and dust were no longer a factor, all complaints quickly vanished. We spent the next four years turning the Bruceville-Eddy cafeteria into Outer-space, Classrooms, Courtrooms and even Medieval Castles.
In 1996, Kids Kompany moved once again. Bruceville-Eddy ISD offered us the use of its new acting facility. Our Kids immediately loved the feel of working on an actual stage. We were the first group to perform on the stage and did a wonderful job of breaking it in. Since then, Kids Kompany has performed at many other ISD surrounding areas, such as Lorena, Midway, Robinson and Waco.
What began with nine children in 1989, has now grown into a full-fledged acting organization. During the past few summers, Kids Kompany has expanded to include four summer sessions. We work with approximately seventy different children each summer. Our average play runs about twenty-five minutes in length. This does not sound like a substantial amount of time until you consider the tremendous amount of work the Kids must do in order to perform on Friday. All lines must be memorized, which in and of itself is a feat for our younger members who have not yet learned to read. Staging and blocking must also be committed to memory. All costumes must be designed, fitted, and often times refitted. Scenery, props and programs also have to be completed. Once all of this has been done, Mom and I pray for the best! The Kids have never once let us down. It is amazing what they can do when they put their minds to it.
Although acting is a major component of Kids Kompany, our actors are required to contribute much more. We feel that learning to work cooperatively with a peer group, ranging in age from 7-12, is the most important aspect of each workshop. Everyone, from the most gregarious child, to the most timid and shy, has something to contribute. It is always a joy to see a child perform to a large audience, who was afraid to even say his name on Monday morning. A new self-confidence and self-worth is what we hope each child gains from Kids Kompany.
And now, on a more personal note, to Mom. As I have watched you with the kids through the years, I’ve never ceased to be amazed with your patience level and positive outlook. Learned from you what an inspiration a great teacher can be in the life of a child. Because of this, I choose my profession. I can only hope that I will touch as many lives as you have. You are and always will be my inspiration!