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Fun Takes Center Stage

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UD’s Resident Ensemble Players perform “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Photo by Nadine HowattLive theater fans can get their fix at the University of Delaware, home to the Professional Theatre Training Program
(udel.edu/theatre), a three-year curriculum. In the third year of their studies, students join the professional troupe, the Resident Ensemble Players. Next year, when the university accepts new student applications, the professional actors will continue offering productions. “We don’t ever go dark,” says Joann Browning, associate dean for the arts in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Undergraduate student theater groups include E-52, the Harrington Theatre Arts Company and the Khulamani Theater Group.

The drama continues off campus. The all-volunteer Chapel Street Players (27 N. Chapel St., Newark, 368-2248, chapelstreetplayers.org), now in its 76th season, puts on four main stage productions each season, along with a one-act showcase, special events and an annual June FUNdraiser, this year scheduled for June 10-25. The “House of Frankenstein” will feature Renee O’Leary, who’s appeared in every FUNdraiser—all 48 of them.

In Newark, music-lovers, no matter their preference, are also in luck. At the university, Xian Gao leads the Master Players
(music.udel.edu), which continue to reach new audiences. The Master Players for Halloween offered a family-friendly performance, and at Christmas, they performed the “Messiah.” The Handel piece also featured the University of Delaware Chorale, which in 2010 won three second-place awards and a third-place award at the 42nd International Tolosa Choral Contest in the Basque region of Spain.

The Newark Symphony Orchestra performs at least eight concerts per season. Photo by Cezary SzafranskiUD is also home to the Serafin String Quartet, the department of music’s ensemble-in-residence. Meanwhile, the Newark Symphony Orchestra (369-3466, newarksymphony.org), founded in 1966, features about 80 musicians and at least eight concerts per season. There is typically a symphony series and a chamber series.

For cutting-edge music, fans head to Mojo Main (270 E. Main St., 369-MOJO, mojomain.com), which took over where the old East End Café left off. It’s a sister location to Mojo 13, a popular music venue in Holly Oak.

The fine arts are equally well represented. University of Delaware museums (udel.edu/museums) include Mechanical Hall, which in 2004 reopened as the home of the Paul R. Jones Collection of American Art; the Mineralogical Museum; and Old College Gallery, which has changing exhibits.

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Children participate in a dance  class at the Newark Art Alliance.The Newark Arts Alliance (276 E. Main St., Suite 102, 266-7266, newarkartsalliance.org) hosts a gallery shop with artwork made by members, but everyone is encouraged to create—and not just with a paintbrush. Classes range from belly dancing to digital camera “boot camp” to making wearable art.

The arts alliance’s Camp Imagine is well-received in the community. “It’s a vital summer program for us,” says Terry Foreman, the executive director, “and it serves 24 kids a year, some of whom come on full or partial scholarship.” The two-week, full-day camp, which this year runs from July 25 to Aug. 5, is open to children ages 7 to 12.

Those with more of an active mindset than an artistic one—or those who boast both—can hit the trails. And there are lots of them. “We have a little more than 15 miles of trails in Newark,” says Charlie Emerson, director of parks and recreation.

The Mason-Dixon Trail, a single-lane natural trail that connects the Appalachian Trail with the Brandywine Trail, passes through Iron Hill Park and meanders along to the White Clay Creek. The James F. Hall Trail last year was one of 31 trails in 15 states to receive the National Recreation Trail designation. The 1.76-mile hard-surface trail, which opened in 2003, is “sort of a suburban trail,” Emerson says.

By early 2012, the city hopes to open the Pomeroy Trail, which follows an old rail line that ran from Pomeroy, Pa., through Newark and into White Clay Creek. “You’ll be able to bike on it, walk on it, hike on it and jog on it,” Emerson says.

 

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