Raton Community Collaborative Brings Performance Arts to Local Youth

New Partnership aims to inspire over 600 children, City of Raton providing transportation

Raton, NM, April 19, 2022 – Phil Long Ford of Raton, Raton Arts & Humanities Council, Santa Fe Trail School for the Performing Arts, KRTN, and the Shuler Restoration Commission have joined forces to bring a unique and interactive limited performance of Bugsy Malone to the students of Raton Intermediate School and Raton High School.  Over 650 students are expected to enjoy a live performance during the two schools’ assemblies on Wednesday, April 20.

The 40+ members of the cast and crew are students of the local schools, and they will be performing in front of their peers. Based on the hit 1976 film, and featuring a score by the composer of The Muppet Movie, Bugsy Malone is good, clean, comedic fun for kids of all ages. Two gangs comprised completely of children, square off in a 1920s rivalry of Capone-like standards. Bugsy Malone, a one-time boxer, is thrust not-so-willingly into the gangster limelight when all he really wants to do is spend time with his new love.

The aforementioned community partners came together in January with a shared passion and understanding of how the arts can be a positive impact on youth.  Nearly two years after the onset of the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, an increased number of children are battling with mental illness, social isolation and despair.

According to a United Nations’ study, students’ perceptions of their future career prospects are bleak, with 40% facing the future with uncertainty and 14% with fear. Globally, young people are feeling more uncertain about what the future holds.

“We wanted to show our children that there are options and possibilities for them that they may not have thought possible,” said Greg Gutierrez, General Manager of Phil Long Ford of Raton and a native of Raton. “Growing up, I never thought about being a part of the performing arts until I was assigned to choir as a school elective.  It was on stage that I found my voice and confidence as a child.”

The City of Raton is partnering with the organizers, and providing vans and staff to transport students to and from the performances. Support is also provided by Longsellow Principal Kim Sanchez, Raton Intermediate School Principal Michelle Hopper, and Raton High School Principal Olga Neurauter.

“I want to thank the City of Raton, and the faculty and staff of our Raton schools for helping to bring this production directly to our students,” said Brenda Ferri, Executive Director of the Raton Arts & Humanities Council and Board President of the Santa Fe School for the Performing Arts. “In the past, we have organized performances with professional actors. This is truly a unique experience to connect youth with each other, peer-to-peer.”

Following the performances, students will receive a survey inviting them to enroll in various workshops the organizers are creating this summer, which will include hands-on educational and social opportunities in technical theater, staging, make-up/costume, singing, acting, stage crew and various other areas of the arts.  Students who complete the survey will receive free admission to a full performance of an upcoming Bugsy Malone at the Shuler Theater and a ‘Putting the heART in Raton’ t-shirt.

Performance Details:

10:30am – Shuler Theater, 131 N. 2nd Street, Raton New Mexico 87740
1:00pm – Raton High School, 1535 Tiger Circle, Raton, NM 87740

Media is invited to attend. Please confirm your attendance for performance clearance.

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