Trumbull Hall Troupe was founded in 2004 by Jodi Picoult and Marjorie Rose to provide kids with a fun, educational theater experience that could also contribute to improving the lives of children less fortunate. In an effort to give back to the community, every year the troupe performs an original musical written by Picoult & composer Ellen Wilber, and net proceeds are donated to area charities. In fact, when you buy a ticket for performances, you choose which charity will receive your funds. In the past decade, the troupe has donated over $120K to kids in need in the Upper Valley, and around the world.
Like other theater groups, we want to amaze and astound the audience; we want to produce a great show. But we also want our efforts to be bigger than ourselves – and we take that mission very seriously. Our first and core charity, the Zienzele Foundation, is a VT-based organization that provides support to HIV-AIDS orphans in Zimbabwe. In addition to giving them funds each year, many of our kids become pen-pals with the orphans in Zimbabwe that Zienzele supports — sending photos, drawings, and small mementos. We also champion other local charities and try to give back any way we can. Since 2012, to help support the CHaD Hero Half Marathon, our cast has performed to rally the runners before the big race. And since 2014 our cast and crew put on theatre workshops for the kids at the Upper Valley Haven, one on acting, one on singing, and one on dance. We give show proceeds to these two charities in addition to Zienzele.
Trumbull Hall Troupe works with a closed group of cast and crew that comes from a waiting list, comprised of students from grade 6 through grade 12. Kids are required to prepare for auditions, but they know that they are already IN the show – the audition is simply used to help us find the role that will best let that actor shine. This allows both kids who are experienced in theater as well as those who might never have tried out for a show to feel secure, knowing they have a place in the troupe. We have had triple threats, and we have had special needs students – and all are equal partners in the troupe. The result is a safe and nurturing atmosphere that allows actors of all levels of talent and experience to thrive. Kids who’ve come to the troupe painfully shy have blossomed after a year among their peers, and have come back a second year with an audition that blows us away.
We also recruit for the technical aspects of the show. A child who isn’t comfortable onstage but who is interested in building, or coordinating props and sets, or lighting and special effects, might enjoy working on our tech crew. Like our actors, the techies are an invaluable part of our family.
Trumbull Hall Troupe is an all-volunteer organization, which means that the adults on the production staff donate their time and energy to create a dynamic experience for the kids. To that end, parents are required to participate in various parts of the process – from sewing costumes to set construction to painting. We also welcome the contributions of adults who love theater but who don’t have kids in the troupe. The friends and family who are committed to helping us achieve our goals are vital to our community.
If your child is interested in Trumbull Hall Troupe – or if you’re an adult who’d like to lend a hand — please contact us and we’ll add you to our list!