Celebrating its 25th season, All-of-Us Express Children’s Theatre (AECT) provides an artistic outlet for children in the Lansing area. All-of-Us Express Children’s Theatre is a troupe located in East Lansing that creates high-quality theatrical productions for kids, by kids. Evelyn Weymouth, founder and current interim artistic director for AECT, started the organization in 1989 as a way for children to learn about theater and gain lifelong skills. Obtaining theater degrees from Michigan State University and the University of Minnesota, Weymouth began working in the field of children’s theatre in 1958. “I’m interested in helping kids develop into full human beings,” Weymouth said. Time management, communication, teamwork, creativity, improvisation and responsibility are all qualities that are honed by participating in AECT, according to Weymouth. “I think the biggest accomplishment of this organization is helping young people grow into mature, productive citizens, and the theater is my vehicle for helping them do that,” said Weymouth. Both Weymouth and AECT have received multiple awards for the work in the community. AECT has received two Thespie Awards from the Lansing State Journal, the J.C. Penney Golden Rule Award Certificate of Recognition for community service and the MACAA Great Lakes Community Arts Award. Weymouth has received the Howard Lancour Award for her spirit of professionalism, dignity and service to the theater and the first Community Inclusion Award from the Association for Children’s Mental Health, among others. AECT accepts children ages 6 to 18 years of all skill levels. “That’s the beautiful thing about (us); there’s such a celebration of diversity. (We) get kids from so many different backgrounds involved in the productions,” said Kathleen Miller, Program Coordinator for the department of Parks, Recreation and Arts for the City of East Lansing. In August 2009, AECT merged with the City of East Lansing. As a result, AECT has a permanent location for office, rehearsal and performance space at the Hannah Community Center in East Lansing. Weymouth is currently directing the first production of AECT’s 25th season, Treasure Island. The show runs the second and third weekend of November at the Hannah Community Center. Learn more at www.allofusexpress.org.
Whitney Bunn is a junior at Michigan State University studying journalism and acting. An eternal optimist, Whitney loves yoga, dogs and everything French.