Acting workshop teaches area students about theater

Published 4:44 pm Wednesday, June 24, 2009

For a lot of area students not quite in high school, there aren’t many opportunities to learn what acting and theater are all about.

Last week, several students from kindergarten through 12th grade took part in an acting workshop sponsored by the Missoula Children’s Theater.

Derin Tolu and Mary Kate Dwyer led the students through the many things that go into putting on a theatrical production, from set design to learning lines, from stage placement to makeup.

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The play they performed was “Beauty Lou and the Country Beast,” a longtime favorite of the Missoula Children’s Theater. It provides a vast number of parts for its performers, and the acting and singing are easy for first-time performers.

“This was the first time that I had done (a children’s theater workshop),” said Demopolis schools enrichment camp co-director Elsie Collins. “It was a lot more involved than I thought it would be.

“The people came in and were able to pick out the kids who would talk and cast them perfectly.”

There was a part for everyone, from farm animals to younger and older versions of Farmer Buck’s daughters. There was even an imaginary friend and a beast of a rose gardener.

Students learned about cues and learned not only the lines for the hour-long play, but also songs that go along with it.

The workshop began last Monday and culminated on Friday with two performances of the play.

The Missoula Children’s Theater workshop at Demopolis High School wsa funded through a grant provided by the Alabama State Concil for the Arts. The grant was obtained by retired special education coordinator Eleanor Bailey.

The weeklong workshop taught area students what goes into making a production, and may even lead to one of our own treading the boards on Broadway or earning an Academy Award.