Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Choosing a Summer Acting Program

The 2009 Summer Players production of The Secret Garden.

Young students who have been bitten by the acting bug and want to put their training to use during the summer have two great choices.

Summer Performance Ensemble (July 6-24) allows students to blossom with their friends and peers in small, intimate classes (grades 4-6, 7-8 and 9-12). According to Theatre Conservatory Director Hisa Takakuwa, “Performance Ensemble is acting-driven and is the perfect choice for students who want to put to use the tools they’ve learned during the school year, but without a long commitment.”

Students learn the rehearsal process and have the joy and reward of bringing a final performance piece to life—but without the pressure of a full production. There is often singing incorporated in their performances, which the young students enjoy, but great pipes are not required!

The classes are held in mid-July for three weeks, mornings only, so there’s plenty of time to have fun acting with friends and still get to the beach.

Summer Players (July 12-August 15) is a five-week program open to dedicated acting students and is open only by audition. While the Players use the same classroom tools as the Performance Ensemble students, their goal is to present a full musical production over the final two weekends, with additional rehearsal time required.

This summer’s play, which Takakuwa will direct, is Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, their only musical written for television (with a young Julie Andrews playing the lead many years ago) and now adapted for the stage.

“These are our most serious acting students,” she said, “but that doesn’t mean they don’t have fun. Even though Players are students of all ages, there is great camaraderie among them. Some students have been in the group for several seasons, and it’s great to see them on the first day of class, checking out the others who were chosen through audition, and offering congratulations.”

Of course, the best part, according to all the Players, is finally getting onstage and performing for a critical audience—not just friends, but members of the paying public! It’s a little scary, they admit, but ultimately rewarding.

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