Four friends gathered back in the Spring of 2007, talking about the idea of creating a program that students could feel safe to explore their interests in theatre and tools to help them to gain skills and knowledge. Kris De La Cruz, Pomai Lopez, Amy Oshiro and John-Paul Tai had all worked with programs in the past and aspired to take their love of theatre and integrate it with their educator backgrounds and started to discuss the possibilities with Ben Moffat, former drama teacher at Windward Community College.
In 2007, PAPA began as a class (Summer Theatre Camp for Kids) held under the Continuing Education Office at WCC. They were able to use Paliku Theatre, the Palanakila Dance Studio and Choral Room. None of them knew just how successful the first year would be, let alone the many years that followed.
Since then, PAPA has had many challenges, but even more accomplishments. PAPA has been awarded various honors by the Kane'ohe Christmas Parade Committee, recognized by many community groups for their support, including Salvation Army's Toys for Tots, Hawai'i Literature & Arts Festival, Hawai'i Literacy Foundation and Ann Pearl Nursing Facility. PAPA has been featured numerous times in the Honolulu Midweek, Windward Islander and has appeared on all four major news stations and morning shows.
Most recently, PAPA traveled to New York and Florida for a two-week East Coast Tour. While there, every group PAPA encountered noted their professionalism, courtesy and overall "aloha spirit." They received recognition by the New York City Firehouse 10 Engine 10 for their performance on-site and went on to pay their respects with lei and song at the World Trade Center Memorial. They received accolades from instructors from Steps On Broadway instructors as well as the dance captain and musical director of Wicked for their exemplary participation in a musical theatre workshop. PAPA concluded their tour with two performances in Walt Disney World, where their work was met with praise and applause from the Disney Performing Arts escort, head of the department and technicians.
In all, PAPA has been honored and humbled to have reached such acclaim in such a short period of time. But they know the end is no where in sight. Beyond our upcoming summer program, we are happy with our first spring program and look forward to our Disneyland Holiday Tour coming up in November!
No matter what the future holds, we know that the dreams will continue to become reality, as long as we believe, we will continue to achieve...together!