Wednesday, April 25, 2012

What’s Going on in the Academy this Spring: 5th – 12th Grade

By Jenny Loeffler

We already gave you a look into what's going on in the First Stage Theater Academy with the K5-4th grade kiddos. Now, we're going to give you a peek into what the 5th through 12th graders are up to!

Both teachers and students alike are more excited than ever to jump back into transforming their lives through theater. And whether they learn at the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center, the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts, or the Oconomowoc Arts Center, one thing stays the same: life skills are taught through stage skills through classes for students of all ages, cultures, and abilities.

Here are the classes that the older students (5th through 12th grade) are taking this spring:


Tuesdays & Thursdays at the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center:


Acting: Foundation
Students will work on scenes and monologues, which are incredible tools that focus on the core values of character, commitment, and creativity. They will explore these values through text, movement, improv, and how to prepare all of these things for an audition. (taught by Katie Cummings)


Improv
This class will focus on using improv to create scenes and moments. There will be a recap of what improvisation is and what it can do for us on stage and in the world. This session will use prior knowledge to create longer sustainable scenes. In the end, it will still share the life skills that are automatic with this kind of work: spontaneity, cooperation, team work, and connection. (taught by Ken T. Williams)


Wednesdays at the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center:

5th – 7th Grade Improv
This class will focus on using improv to create scenes and moments. There will be a recap of what improvisation is and what it can do for us on stage and in the world. Unlike the last session where games were a focus, this session will use prior knowledge to create longer sustainable scenes. In the end, it will share the life skills that are automatic with this kind of work: spontaneity, cooperation, team work, and connection. (taught by Ken T. Williams and MaryFran Stefanich)


5th – 7th Grade Acting: Foundation
The students will tackle monologues and scene work using acting guideposts found in Michael Shurtleff’s book Audition. These guideposts include relationship, conflict, discoveries, and mystery, among others. The teachers’ goal will be to enable students to not only prepare and present material, but do so while developing confidence and respect for their work and the work of others. (taught by Michael Cotey and Dontae Hill)


Saturdays at the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center:

4th – 6th Grade Improv
This spring improv class will focus on strengthening fundamental skills like listening, endowing scene partners, and creating and environment. The goal is to take these skills and begin to apply them to scene work towards the latter part of the term. (taught by Kris Puddicombe)


4th – 6th Grade Musical Theatre
In this spring musical theatre class, the goal is to achieve a tight Marching Band/Circus type number that is brimming and beaming with pride and enthusiasm! Starting with no vocals, just a beat, building into it more and more as if you can hear a whole band forming, and then adding every brass instrument imaginable until the students are bursting into the biggest, brightest song P.T. Barnum could have seen under his Big Top! From there, students will work on expanding vocal range as well as diction, proper breath technique, and using the lyrics to tell the story. (taught by Karl Miller and Ryan Cappleman)


5th – 12th Grade Acting: Foundation
This session will be focused on the written word. The students will be using monologues and scenes to connect to characters and relationships. Using what they know about objectives, obstacles, and tactics to achieve goals, they will create rich and fulfilling scenes. This also includes some introductory work with audition pieces and how to properly audition. (taught by Ken T. Williams)



Do any of these classes sound fun to you? Consider signing up for the Summer Sessions. The Summer Sessions are offered June 18 through August 10, with one, two, three, and four-week sessions offering classes (depending on age) from beginning to advanced. Theater Academy classes are offered at the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center, Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts, and Oconomowoc Arts Center. For more information and registration, visit www.FirstStage.org/TheaterAcademy.

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