Social distancing for young journalists; students at Mudlark Theater cover the news virtually

EVANSTON (WLS) -- The Mudlark News Network is eerily close to the real thing, reporters restricted from the newsroom. The news program is part of a class being taught by the Mudlark Theater, based in Evanston.

"We have classes in over 20 schools, where we provide after-school training opportunities as well as at our headquarters," said Maureen Powers, the executive director at the Mudlark Theater.

The theater usually puts on 12 productions every year and two-week summer camps, featuring all kinds of theater arts. But this year, all of the classes went virtual, including their staging of the "Mudlark News."

Social distancing is the deal for these young journalists.

"We have online rehearsals, then we rolled. We recorded it and edit it all together. It's great. They are covering real news with a humorous twist," Powers said.

"I've always had an interest in being a reporter ... it seems like so much fun," said Alexis Rogers, a student.

Other students prefer to be the news, rather than cover it.

"I liked being the person being interviewed. I can just be the subject of the news," Phoebe Rogers, another student, said.

"I'm a teacher so having them involved in activities that they can do while I spend time with my work is really helpful," said Phoebe Rogers's mom, Michelle.

"They are so grateful and really expressing their joy and appreciation for this opportunity that their kids have to connect," Powers said.

These classes also benefit local adult artists, who are hired as instructors.

The Mudlark Theater said that they never turn any child away, and offers scholarships to students who want to take their classes but may need a little help.

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