2017 Viola Award Nominee for Excellence in Arts Education
As the Education Director of Theatrikos, Joe Maniglia oversees all aspects of youth programming at the organization. The TheatriKIDS program, run by Maniglia, is one of the most notable programs for youth theater here in Flagstaff. Youth, aged 7-17 get to develop experience and gain confidence in the Theater, building skills that will benefit them for the rest of their lives, while providing the Flagstaff community with quality performances.
Maniglia chooses a wide variety of plays for the talented young actors in the TheatriKIDS program. These plays range from lighthearted and playful to more serious and complex. During the 2016 season, TheatriKIDS put on shows for younger audiences such as Yasha Frank’s Pinocchio and Disney’s Aladdin Jr. However, they also tackled shows with denser subject matter, such as Othello and West Side Story. Both of these shows explore the subjects of racism and prejudice within a community. Othello was offered as an educational piece during Black History Month. TheatriKIDS partnered with the NAU Criminal Justice Club and The Innocence Project to help navigate the complicated issues presented in the play. Through this diverse repertoire, Maniglia demonstrates an understanding of the different needs within a theater community. He provides appropriate material for a diverse community with a diverse group of young actors.
2016 marked the second year of the exceptional Stage Buddies program at TheatriKIDS. Stage Buddies pairs special needs youth with TheatriKIDS actors, who rehearse and perform on stage with them. Former Viola Award winner, Areya Kugler began the project as a high school sophomore in 2015. Maniglia’s guidance of the youth theater program has encouraged young people, such as Areya, to take on a leadership role and direct their own projects. Stage Buddies in particular is a unique program because it reaches out to young actors with special needs, who may not have many chances to participate in a full-scale performance. In October, 2016 Stage Buddies continued its second year with a performance of the Jungle Book.
In addition to the plays TheatriKIDS produces, they also offer year-long programming through summer workshops & weeklong camps as well as special events throughout the year. In 2016, under the direction of Maniglia, TheatriKIDS offered summer workshops in musical theatre, film and storytelling, stage combat and much more.
Maniglia’s success as an arts educator has recently been recognized at the state level. In March of 2016 he was honored at the Governor’s Arts Awards Banquet in Phoenix, Arizona, where he won the Arts in Education Award.