Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Players' School of the Arts Offers a Spot for Boys, Too

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Players' School of the Arts Offers a Spot for Boys, Too

Article excerpt

Byline: TAMARA McCLARAN

The new school year has begun and Beaches community theaters are offering classes designed to teach children about acting while helping them build creative skills.

Players by the Sea School of the Arts classes begin this week. Educational Director Barbara Williams has tripled the school's enrollment since joining the theater four years ago to lead its educational program. Williams is passionate about the arts and its benefits to children's lives.

"Art education is so important," Williams said. "It touches the center of our being. Drama teaches kids so many skills."

Williams likes to focus on goals and said this year she is calling all boys. Last year, girls dominated class rosters and Williams believes many parents encourage their sons to enroll in more traditional activities instead of theater and drama. After growing up in an era in which the emphasis was securing equality for women and girls, Williams said she is seeing a reverse stereotyping today with boys.

"It's sad to me," Williams said. "Acting is for everybody. Being held back because of your sex is not right."

Seven classes are offered weekdays for elementary, middle school and high school students. Tuition is $420 for the fall session, which runs through Dec. 18. Classes incorporate theater games, improvisation and storytelling and are designed to develop creativity and self confidence.

Jason Collins, a teacher who has served as an actor and director at Players by the Sea, joins Williams on the program's teaching staff. Williams has also introduced an internship program for older students to get an insider's look at running an art program and what it takes to put on a production.

Atlantic Beach Experimental Theatre welcomes a new instructor for its new Drama Workshops for Kids. Caryl Butterley will be teaching ABET's children's program.

"Thefundamentalthings they learn in this program will serve them no matter what they grow up and do," Butterley said.

Butterley returned to Jacksonville about a year-and-a-half ago after spending 20 years living and working in New York City. …

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