Children’s Theatre Launched on Molokai
By Sage Yamashita, Intern Reporter
Hokulani Children’s Theatre of Molokai (Hokulani CTOM) is here to enrich and inspire the young people of Molokai through theater and the performing arts experience. Officially launched in January 2023, Hokulani CTOM is a grassroots effort created by Vicki Boswell built on community effort. Twenty youth from the ages six to 18 have started to participate and bring their talents to the theater’s first production, The Legend of Mulan.
“My husband and [my] goal was to go on a mission for 10 years and serve other places,” said Boswell. “I kept having these feelings that we were needed at home, so we came home, and the thought was if I’m here, what do you need me to do? You need to start a children’s theater of Molokai.”
Boswell is a former elementary school performing arts teacher and social worker from Molokai. Her goal for Hokulani CTOM in 2023 is three significant performances and a drama center for older youth until Molokai High can get a drama class back into their curriculum choices. Her other goal is to teach these kids to make a strong sense of self, community and family.
Each rehearsal is held at Home Pumehana’s conference room, and performances will be at Home Pumehana’s rec center. So far, the youth have got their parts and are working on memorizing them. While learning lines is essential, the child incorporates different skills each week taught by Boswell.
“We started with Voice and Diction, and now we’re talking about making connections with our cast members, learning to communicate through our bodies, what we’re feeling, and connecting with the audience,” said Boswell. “Then we’ll add props, and we’ll add costuming and different things to get to a final production.”
Hokulani CTOM strives to increase self-esteem and ability to self-discipline. Boswell makes sure the youth knows that it takes a lot of discipline to put on the play.
“…I’m not trying to make actors,” she said. “I’m trying just to prepare them for life. I’m trying to teach them to invest in themselves and skill build so that they can make a better world.”
Hokulani CTOM is a grassroots effort, according to Boswell.
“…Nobody’s getting paid. There’s no grant money. There’s nothing,” she explained. “Literally, everybody is just coming together as a community to support these kids, using what means they have to help these kids.”
The community is invited to provide any skills or supplies the theater could need. Look out for the upcoming production of The Legend of Mulan in April.