Proud of the Peacock
Nashua-based group puts theater in the hands and hearts
By Robert Greene
Peacock Players, based at the 14 Court Street Theater in Nashua, is all
about the kids.
You will very rarely see an actor on stage who is older than 16, yet
somehow they pull off doing characters who are much older.
Christa Tsechrintzis, executive director of the group, said the plays
are challenging and the young actors are well-trained. The result is,
she said, is a theater experience that is enjoyable to the people on
both sides of the curtain.
Well, we’ve been working on the Christmas play, A Christmas Story. It’s
based on the movie, with Ralphie and the BB gun and “you’ll shoot your
eye out.” [A Christmas Story opens at 7 p.m. Dec. 9 and runs through
Dec. 19. Tickets are $10-$15. Find out more at peacockplayers.org or
long have you been with the Peacock Players?
I was hired two years ago as resident producer. They had an artistic
director at the time and he left. I was promoted to executive director a
year ago, a year and a half ago maybe.
What is your theater background?
Basically it was a hobby. I did a couple of independent films. And then
I started working with Girls, Inc., which is an after-school program,
and enjoyed working with kids through there. And then I saw the add for
this job and it just kind of combined theater, working with kids and
kind of a business aspect as well, which is what my degree is in. It
you still act and direct and that kind of thing?
I’m still involved with a theater group that is mostly improv and we
travel around to schools and perform, I’d say, realistic situations that
teens face. We do a performance and then we talk about it with the kids.
It’s called Matter of Fact, based in Lowell, Mass.
the executive director thing is your full-time gig and all else is in
your spare time or a hobby?
Yes, I’d say it is more than full time. I try to keep my hand in, at
least with the group I perform with, because I find it important.
essentially what attracted you to Peacock was the chance to do theater
Yes, that is basically what we do. We have a summer production that we
involve the parents with — we call it a Family Production — and the
parents get to act on stage with the kids. But other than that it’s just
kids performing throughout the year. Occasionally, we’ll have an adult
acting class but the main focus is the kids. And the education — we have
classes for kids 5 and up, all different types of classes — that was
really the draw for me. I was on the board of directors for the
Lexington Players at one point before I came here, so I’ve worked with
adult groups as well.
you end up working with a lot of the same kids or do you get a lot of
Each show is open audition, so we do find that sometimes the same kids
get cast. But pretty much with every show there are new kids that come
in as well. There’s an audition process and they find out what we are
all about and then they get addicted and just really want to do shows
then they go on from here to do high school plays and college theater
Yes, a lot of our graduates, at least from the two years I’ve been here
[have continued in theater] ... The first summer we sent two kids to
[New York University], one to Juilliard .... So, it’s impressive. These
kids are very talented. Some of them keep on doing theater and go
further with it in their schools as well.
Have any Peacock kids made it to the movies or television yet?
We have a couple of kids here who have done some things — extra work,
commercial work. One of the kids went out to California to try out
during pilot season, and he might do that again. It’s not really the
focus, we’re not here to train them to be superstars. We’re here for
their education and if they go on to do it, it’s their choice. I mean,
I’d love for one of them to hit it big and send us a big fat donation
check. That would be great.
you pretty much the biggest children’s group in Southern New Hampshire?
I believe we are. I would consider us the biggest. There are different
groups. There is the ActorSingers, which has a teen program, but their
focus is their adult shows. The Palace Theatre actually just started
doing some interesting shows with its teen group recently. They just did
Les Miserables ... actually they seem to be doing all the shows we’ve
already done. They are up there. But for some reason the kids just seem
to be attracted to our group. There is just something about it, they
just love being here. We get all the most talented kids in the area.