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Curtain call for local children’s theater champion

Longtime volunteer leaving Schenectady organization after more than 30 years

Dee Mulford, center, during a performance of The Reluctant Dragon with the Schenectady Theater for Children. Mulford will be leaving the group after more than 30 years of participation.

Dee Mulford, center, during a performance of The Reluctant Dragon with the Schenectady Theater for Children. Mulford will be leaving the group after more than 30 years of participation. Submitted photo

— Mulford first joined the group after being asked to make a small prop for one of the shows, but that quickly spiraled into more responsibilities. She said she hasn’t regretted a day of it.

“The next year they asked me to do the set design and I did and then the year after that it was, can you produce it and do the set design? After that I just stayed with it,” she said.

Mulford said the company has grown “so big” from its early days when she first joined.

It started in the backroom of a school in Schenectady, allowing for a place to store items, with the group traveling from school to school in a station wagon filled to capacity.

Then the company upgraded to a “rusty truck,” she said. Some of the rust holes where rather large, so as a joke they put a sign over one of the holes reading “donate here.”

She said the plays performed for children always try to have some moral anchor, without being overly apparent.

“We want the kids to learn something about getting along with people,” she said. “We want our shows to have a moral in it, but we don’t want to beat them over the head with it.”

Bilodeau said Mulford’s painting abilities are “out of this world” and Mulford has designed many of the set pieces over the years. Also, how Mulford can fit all the set pieces and equipment into the company’s van is an impressive feat, she said.

Mulford is also thinking about trying to book The Great Minds Series, which she helped start, to the west coast after her move. The series involves a 45-minute long presentation by an actor portraying an historic individual who made a major impact in today’s world, such as Albert Einstein, Mother Jones and Galileo.

“Then the Schenectady Theater for Children would be an internationally touring company,” she said.

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