Rialto School Matinee Series to return next year
BY TINA AKOURIS email@example.com September 3, 2013 12:36PM
Rialto general manager Randy Green (left) and Dan Stevenson, regional market president of Midland States Bank, hold up an oversized mock check representing a donation. | Supplied photo
Updated: October 5, 2013 6:19AM
Hundreds of students in Will County once again will have the chance to enjoy a popular series of educational shows at Joliet’s historic Rialto Square Theater, when the Rialto School Matinee Series returns next year.
Starting in the fall of 2014, the theater will resume performances of the series. It was suspended two years ago because of financial reasons, but a $25,000 sponsorship from Midland States Bank is helping fund resumption of the live performances.
“This will still be a curriculum-based program, and we are talking to principals and teachers in the area (about what subjects to showcase),” said Annette Parker, Rialto’s director of marketing and sales. “It’s usually on science, math, history or current topics like bullying.”
The live performance shows are geared toward students in kindergarten through eighth grade, Parker said. They are presented in such a way as to get the students to relate to the subject matter, especially current topics.
Rialto general manager Randy Green said the program had to be suspended not only because of problems financing the shows, but because the theater had to lay off employees about the same time.
Green said the shows had been at the Rialto for at least 16 years before they were suspended. About 9,000 students attended the performances each school year, with an average of eight to 10 shows a year.
“It’s a huge event for a student’s first experience with live entertainment,” Green said. “We’re hoping this will help them remember the Rialto.”
Now that the theater has the sponsorship money, Green said he is able to resume the live shows at the start of the 2014-15 school year. Green said he will begin conducting meetings with area school districts to find out what topics to address based on their curriculum.
Green said the shows used to draw students from every school district in Will County, plus parts of Cook and DuPage counties and Northwest Indiana. He’s not sure, though, if they will get students from all those areas with the second incarnation of the series.
“Will County is still primarily the market, and we hope schools can bundle a trip (to the theater) with another historical area in Joliet,” Green said.
Parker said the performances will be during school hours, typically from 10 a.m. until noon, and students will receive study guides for follow-up schoolwork.