photos by Don Patterson

Program Allows Local Students to Experience Theater

In 2003, Carlsbad resident Katie Gardner started Coyote Cavern Productions (CCP) with the goal of allowing as many children as possible the opportunity to experience the art of performing. Created in response to school budget cuts, the nonprofit theater company is centered at Calavera Hills Schools and gives third through eighth graders the opportunity to experience the world of professional theater production through intensive training in singing, acting, and dancing and is funding entirely through ticket sales, donations, and grants. Since its start 12 years ago, the program has grown to include over 100 children in each cast and has become an integral part of the school culture.

When asked about the benefits of the program Katie said, “Past CCP students have gone on to pursue performing in high school, community theater, college, and professional theater. All participants leave the program with improved social and professional skills and fond memories of creating and performing a work of art within a team.” The program is free to the students of Calavera Hills Elementary and Middle Schools.

This year’s CCP show Bye Bye Birdie includes a bright, lively score which features well-known songs such as “Put on a Happy Face” and “One Last Kiss.” The cast and crew includes over 110 students and will be presented in the multi-purpose room of Calavera Hills School on March 26, 27, and 28 at 7 p.m. and on March 29 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $8 through $10 and will be available at the door. For additional ticket information contact Kym Szalkiewicz at 760-703-2379 or