Budding young actors learn about new program at Willington Library

By Kitty LeShay - ReminderNews
Willington - posted Wed., Sep. 25, 2013
Casey McDougal engages in conversation with a participant while Owen and Ivy look on. Photo by Kitty LeShay.
Casey McDougal engages in conversation with a participant while Owen and Ivy look on. Photo by Kitty LeShay.

Casey McDougal, a Willington resident and professional actress, came to the Willington Library to meet some exuberant kids. The informational program on Sept. 21 about the four upcoming Introduction to Acting sessions had been requested by some of the younger library patrons. “We have very creative children, and this was actually a request by a couple of them,” said program director Deb Linares. “I was amazed at the response to this and I’d like to see it develop into a kind of acting club.”

McDougal is a professional actor with a BFA in acting. She has worked with the Berkshire Theater Festival and has been the artistic director of Deana’s Education Theater in Boston, as well as many other accomplishments in theater. She co-founded Bated Breath Theatre Company in Hartford, and her goal with the new company called Purple Kitty Productions is to introduce children to acting. “I think it opens more worlds and helps kids to be more confident and brave,” McDougal said.

In the coming four sessions, McDougal will be working on improvisation, characterization, movement, storytelling, sketching and ensemble, which is working together, melding similarities and differences and creating a new work.

“These sessions will benefit all personality types, from exuberant to shy. You can really see the children shine. I wouldn’t be surprised if some didn’t grow into this as a career,” Linares said. The challenge will be reaching out to shy children, many of whom are uncomfortable speaking before a group.

While the recent informational meeting targeted children from ages 4 to 10, Purple Kitty Productions will also coach adults in public speaking through acting. “Taking a class in acting can open you up to your more creative side and to being more comfortable with people,” McDougal said.

Before discussing with parents what they were interested in having their children learn in the coming sessions, McDougal played some skill-building and creative games with the kids. One game focused on memory, movement and creative thinking. Each child had to act out an animal, and the other children had to repeat all the interpretive movements.

For more information on how to become involved in the upcoming sessions, contact Casey McDougal at info@purplekittyproductions.com.

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