These questions have been on my mind a lot lately, as we gear up for our Flying Anvil Theatre acting camps. We have three coming up this month – an Acting Skills For Young Actors Camp for ages 6 – 10 (July 8 – 12), an On Camera Acting Skills Camp for ages 11 – 17, (July 15 – 19) and a camp for the kid in all of us – an Adult Acting Camp for 18 and up. (July 22 – 26) We’ve spent a lot of time lately talking about what we want to accomplish in these camps.
When I first started teaching acting years ago, I viewed it as a way to make some money on the side and was utterly unprepared for what happened to me. I fell in love. With the whole process of sharing what I had learned (often the hard way!) and seeing students step out of their comfort zones. I learned so much from them – how to talk about acting in a way that made sense, how to create a safe space for each class to explore in, how to get out of the way and bear witness to the amazing and courageous leaps students managed to create for themselves.
Acting class, I learned, was a perfect way for us to try out being our true selves in public. In trying on other characters, we learn about our own strengths and weaknesses, our heroic impulses and dark places. We each develop a process for facing our fear of harsh judgments from others and our own fierce internal critic. For some of us, just learning to speak up to be heard is transformative.
Teaching kids taught me that children blossom in an atmosphere of high expectations and unconditional support. And not just kids – we all do! The goal is professionalism, not perfection.
And lest this sound too serious and self-absorbed, acting class is also great fun! It’s sanctioned play time – and who doesn’t need more time to just play and feel free??
So I’m excited about working and playing with our young and adult actors this summer in a focused, week-long setting. Not only will our actors learn skills that translate into the real world; vocal projection and enunciation, empathy, body language and posture, working as a team, receiving and giving constructive feedback, they’ll also get to explore new worlds and take on new characters. What’s more fun than that?
Our kids will benefit from the incredible teachers we have on board. Debbie Richman, a professional musician, producer of children’s music and theatrical director in Los Angeles and Knoxville, is also our Camp Administrator. Dana Wham, lead teacher for the 6 – 10 year old camp has directed and choreographed many musicals and children’ show choirs and is also an accomplished performer herself. Staci Swedeen, Flying Anvil Theatre’s Executive Director, will bring her considerable experience as an actor, playwright and leadership trainer in Seattle, New York and Connecticut to our camps. And I’ll be leading the 11 – 17 and Adult campers though theatre games, film acting coaching and audition preparation.
We still have a few spaces left in our camps….so contact us if you or your child want to sign up. It’s going to be humongous fun – and serious work.
And we can’t wait to get started!
So…..why DO YOU study acting?