DOWNEY - Former participants in the Downey Children's Theatre established by John Hume are invited to a reunion Sept. 17 from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Furman Park.In 1955, positive response to a production of "Hansel & Gretel" directed by Hume and performed at the Rio Hondo Elementary auditorium persuaded the Downey Department of Parks & Recreation to sponsor the Downey Children's Theatre. It would become one of the largest theater programs of its kind in the country, with more than 600 children and adults participating each year onstage and behind the scenes. The program's success led to the formation of the Downey Adult Theatre, Downey Teen Theatre, Downey Marionette Theatre and, ultimately, the building of the Downey theatre on Brookshire Avenue. It also led to the creation of the Downey Civic Light Opera. Children also attended workshops and presentations held at every elementary school in Downey. Two years ago, Tori Murrill-Connolly created a Facebook group for people to share their memories of Hume, along with photos and memorabilia. The recent exponential growth of the group, allowing old friends to share their memories of working under Hume, fostered the idea for a reunion, organizers said. Furman Park, adjacent to Rio Hondo Elementary, was the location where Hume held an annual awards barbecue. Visitors to the reunion are asked to bring their own picnic, beverages and lawn chairs, along with photos, programs and other memorabilia from the Downey Children's Theatre. For more information, find the Downey Children's Theatre group on Facebook.
********** Published: August 18, 2011 - Volume 10 - Issue 18