What would Robin Hood do?

Liam Thibeault (Robin Hood) and Darian Lorrain (Marian) appear in next week's junior production of Robin Hood from Actor's Youth Theatre

There’s been plenty of political rhetoric of late. Should we cut programs for the elderly? Raise taxes on the rich? Rally for fewer regulations? Or argue for greater protections? And so I got to thinking — What would Robin Hood do?

If Robin Hood was an actual person, scholars have yet to name him with certainty. Opinions on his exact origins, whether real or fictional, vary. We can pinpoint the first references to Robin Hood in literature and song, and even find his name in plays by Shakespeare and others.

Adam Lundgreen (Sheriff of Nottingham) and Liam Thibeault (Robin Hood) in Robin Hood

The people of Nottinghamshire in England claim him as their own, making Robin Hood the center of their tourism efforts. He’s been the subject of a good 100 or so films and televion shows — even making appearances with “The Muppets” and the “South Park” gang (voiced by Trey Parker).

I’m told the tales of Robin Hood were adapted for children during the Victorian era. It’s these stories that paint Robin Hood as a man who takes from the rich and gives to the poor, making it fun to imagine how he might approach contemporary budget crises and the tough decisions they necessitate.

But I suspect that’s of little concern to young performers readying to open the Actor’s Youth Theatre junior production of “Robin Hood” at Mesa Arts Center next week. The production runs Tues, July 26 to Sat, July 30 — and tickets are just $11. For about a third of the cast, ages 8 to 13, it’s their first time on stage. So it’s especially important that folks come out to support the show.

Jacob Nielsen and Jacob Kerby play jesters in AYT's Robin Hood at Mesa Arts Center

“Robin Hood” is performed infrequently by Valley theater companies, another reason to see the show when the opportunity arises. The cast list is intriguing. It includes two pairs of siblings, and several youth with interests outside of theater. Think soccer, origami, journalism, chess, violin, robotics, camping and more.

Actor’s Youth Theatre notes that one of their older teen actresses, Adriene Dugger, is doing costumes for “Robin Hood” and that a high school student, Bryce Wagner, is designing and running the lights. Maybe I’m biased, but I think theater folk are some of the most well-rounded people out there.

L to R: Caitlyn Seiffert, Saylem duPont and Aundria Arneson play peasants in AYT's Robin Hood July 26-30

It couldn’t hurt at this point to send a few theater folk to Washington, D.C. Plenty are already involved with causes beyond the stage. I discovered Gwyneth Paltrow’s name on a list of board members for the “Robin Hood Foundation,” which “targets poverty in New York City by finding and funding the best and most effective programs, and partnering with them to maximize results.”

Whatever your politics, I think we all agree on at least one thing — the importance of supporting our youth as they engage in activities, like community theater, that hone the skills they’ll need to build a better future for themselves and others. I like to think that Robin Hood would buy a bunch a theater tickets and share them with his friends. My guess is as good as all the others.

— Lynn

Note: Photos courtesy of Actor’s Youth Theatre

Coming up: A pair of Saturday Disney offerings in Anthem

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