Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Theater Groups Offer Programs for Aspiring Actors

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Theater Groups Offer Programs for Aspiring Actors

Article excerpt

Byline: TAMARA McCLARAN

All the world's a stage ... but what is the best way to perform on one?

Beaches community theaters are offering educational programs designed to inspire local performers and teach new skills. The classes are geared for children and adults and can benefit novices as well as experienced actors.

Players by the Sea School of the Arts drama classes will resume today. A new introductory class is being offered for first- through third-graders from 3:30 to 5:30 on Tuesdays beginning Tuesday. There are also mid-year openings for several of the program's other six classes, which are designed for elementary, middle school and high school students. The session runs through Friday, May 30, and tuition is $400.

Those interested in learning more about the program and seeing the type of work students are challenged to do are invited to attend a special mid-year performance by the teen troupe, students ages 15 to 17 who have studied at Players for at least three years.

There will be two shows Saturday beginning at 7 and 9 p.m. The performances are open to the public. Admission is $5. The 50-minute show, called Deliberate Acts of Motion, was conceived by Players Educational Director Barbara Williams and highlights advanced improvisational skills. All of Players' educational programs emphasize improvisation and ensemble acting.

"My philosophy is an education-based program," Williams said. "I like to use ensemble-based pieces that provide more opportunities for the students."

Because she is directing Julius X, which opens on Players' main stage Friday, Feb. 1, Williams's adult classes will resume in mid-February on Tuesdays from 7:15 to 9:15 p.m. The adult program, which is open to beginning and experienced performers, is modeled after intensive New York City acting workshops and gives aspiring performers a place to develop content while working on skills.

Players by the Sea is at 106 Sixth St. N. in Jacksonville Beach. For more information about the School of the Arts, call 249-0289 or visit www.playersbythe sea.org.

Atlantic Beach Experimental Theatre has a new instructor for its children's drama program. Margaret Hennessey, who played the role of Fran in the theater's production of An O. Henry Christmas in December, will teach the program from 10 a.m. to noon Saturdays from Jan. 12 to Feb. 16.

Hennessey recently moved back to Ponte Vedra Beach after living in New York and Mexico. She has worked as a drama and English teacher. Prior to teaching, she worked as a professional costumer and directed for community theaters, including the Aurora Players in East Aurora, N.Y. Hennessey said theater programs help children develop important life skills.

"It's a great experience," Hennessey said. "It gives them a sense of responsibility and helps them learn time management while building confidence and developing team spirit."

ABET's founder and former artistic director, Carson Merry Baillie, will lead the theater's adult drama workshop from 5 to 7 p. …

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