Rosie’s Theater Kids bring song and dance to Edgartown students

Children attending Rosie's Theater Kids program perform a dance they learned in class at the Vineyard Art Space. —Sam Moore

Rosie’s Theater Kids, a nationally recognized arts education organization co-founded by Rosie O’Donnell and Lori Klinger, has come to Martha’s Vineyard for a summer residency at Vineyard Arts Project.

The group is working in conjunction with the YMCA of Martha’s Vineyard to give over 20 students from Edgartown the chance to join Rosie’s Theater Kids for a week filled with rehearsals, local excursions, and practices. The final product of the week will be an intimate evening performance at the Vineyard Arts Project on Thursday, August 18, from 5 to 7 pm.  

Rosie’s Theater Kids has traveled to Martha’s Vineyard for the past three summers, but this will be the first time that they will collaborate with local students on the Island. In an email to The Times, co-founder Lori Klinger told us more about the project.

How did Rosie’s Theater Kids start and why did you feel it was important to have a program like this?

Rosie’s Theater Kids was started because the arts programming in New York City public schools has been cut drastically. We live in a city that is the mecca for audiences and artists alike, and to have these public school kids walk past a theater and not experience the magic that goes on there is unimaginable.

Why bring this program to the Vineyard? Who gets to participate in the program here?

This is our third summer returning to Vineyard Arts Project, a state-of-the-art facility in Edgartown. The students that we bring are members of our ACTE II Upper school. They have been in our program for at least three years. Our students have fallen in love with the Vineyard, and wanted to share their love of the theater with the students at the YMCA. The YMCA students will visit VAP, have classes taught by Thecla Harris, and share a performing experience with our ACTE II students.

What will this week’s performances entail? What have the kids been working on?

This week’s performances will be a showing of our upcoming gala pieces, and some pieces that our students worked on over the past year. One of the songs that we will perform is from “Invisible Thread,” which was workshopped here at VAP.

How do you hope this program will affect participants futures? How is it beneficial specifically here on the Vineyard?

Our motto is “We’re Rehearsing for Life,” and we know that early exposure to the arts and the discipline that the arts offer will have a positive effect on the lives of our students. We especially love our time here on the Vineyard because it is the only time during our year that we are all together in a new environment, sharing our space, trying new things, and having new and unique experiences.

Rosie’s Theater Kids Performance: Thursday, August 18, from 5 to 7 pm, Vineyard Arts Project, Edgartown. For more information, visit