Acting classes for budding stars of South Windsor

By Lisa Stone - ReminderNews
South Windsor - posted Mon., Oct. 28, 2013
Acting teacher Ann Garner gives instruction to the class for their first acting project. Photo by Lisa Stone.
Acting teacher Ann Garner gives instruction to the class for their first acting project. Photo by Lisa Stone.

The Performing Arts Programs, Inc. worked in conjunction with the South Windsor Parks and Recreation Department to offer a child acting class at the South Windsor Community Center on Oct. 21. The program is a seven-week course and is broken up into two age groups - the first being for kindergarten to second grade and the second portion is for third- to sixth-graders.

The goal of the program is to introduce children into the atmosphere of allowing themselves to let their inner actor out with no judgments. “There is no need for prior experience,” said instructor, Ann Garner. “We are welcoming children of all levels of experience, even if they have not been exposed to acting in any way. The main goal for us is to allow the children to learn the fundamentals of acting while having fun and forming bonds with other children who have the same interests as them. We want to make it exciting but not scary.”

Garner has been with the Performing Arts Programs for six years now. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Theatre and a Ph.D. in Renaissance Drama on the literary side. According to Garner, the Performing Arts Programs have been around for a long time and they have a great deal to offer to the children who are interested in exploring an acting career. Each section has approximately eight to ten students. The children learn while making new friends and having a great time doing it.

One exercise that the class was asked to do was to build off of each other. One child would start by making and repeating a sound and a motion, while others would join in one at a time. They would make a complimentary motion and sound, mixing together while still holding on to the commitment of what they set out to do as their sound and gesture. Soon, the entire class became one large moving machine. This may sound easy, but to keep doing one noise and one motion for a good amount of time, while trying not to be distracted by the others around you, yet keeping in time with each other truly was more difficult than one would originally think.

The class was taught the different sections of the stage. Upstage, downstage, dead center, upper left stage, etc. The students also were drilled on how to speak loud and clear while addressing their audience, and finishing with a bow or curtsy.

One student, Caileen Francis, a fifth-grader from South Windsor, was very excited to be a part of the class. “I like this class,” said Francis. “I am going to be an actress one day. This is really fun and I learned some stuff about acting.”

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