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Children’s Acting Workshop a big hit

By DAVID GRAVELY

editor@southwesttimes.com

New River Valley Regional Theatre founder Robin Brooke recently discovered just how many talented young people our area has to offer during a free Children’s Acting Workshop held at the historic Pulaski Theatre.

“We had wanted to do a children’s production in June, but with The Pulaski Radio Show each month and preparations for another amazing comedy (Lend Me A Tenor) underway for August, we were too tight on funding,” Brooke said. “That’s when we decided to offer the workshops for free for a weekend to offer something for children, as well as get an idea of the interest for a summer camp next year. Interest and turnout were great and we look forward to planning more events for kids, with either an entertainment or educational focus.”

The workshop, which was also sponsored in part by the Pulaski Theatre, brought the young actors and actresses together to learn beginning acting techniques. Those in attendance ranged in age from seven to 15 years old. The grouped worked on learning stage and theatre terminology, improvisation, character work, concentration and focus, team building and movement for the stage.

“The kids were so excited and worked very hard,” said Brooke. “At the end of the first day they were given monologues to look over for the next day. I could not believe the hard work and preparation they put in overnight on their own. Many of them actually memorized their entire monologue.”

The success of the workshop is no big surprise. Both Pulaski and Dublin Middle schools have active drama departments and the Pulaski County High School Theatre Arts Department, led by Jeff McCoy, has been a long time success story. During the 2017-18 school year, the One Act Play group won a Group 4A State Championship for their production of “You Don’t Know Jack.”

Each year, McCoy and his staff include younger students from the middle and elementary schools in the county, building the level of success for the future.

“I’m very excited about the level of participation from our local schools,” Brooke said. “We want to help them in any way we can and involve them in our productions when we can. We’re hoping to put together a few more of these type workshops to help build interest and become even more involved in helping local theatre students grow. I’m hoping we can find a way to put together a show in September, once the students are back in school. It’s just such a great experience for everyone, and I’m very excited about the levels of participation and talent we have to work with here.”

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