“What I enjoy most is being able to give individual students the attention that they may not get if they’re part of a larger production there,” said Morgan McCrary Brooks, who will be directing the acting classes for the third year. “... They have a chance to really work on their acting without necessarily worrying about learning the music and the choreography and all that other stuff at the same time that they usually do.
“I love it because every time I work with them, they have grown and matured and gotten better since the last time that I worked with them. Then I hope that I get to contribute to their growth when they go do plays at their school or their church. It’s a lot of fun to watch them grow up and figure out really who they are and what they have to contribute to the stage.”
Beginning Jan. 22, The Grand Theatre in Cartersville will offer two six-week courses on Tuesdays, separating students by age — grades two through five and grades six through 12. While the older students’ focus will be on developing their characters and improvisational skills, the other session will highlight the fundamentals of theater.
“We’ve been doing our acting classes for six years now,” said Terri Cox, program director for The Grand Theatre. “I think the real purpose for offering these is that many times when young people come to participate in a play they don’t often have time to really work on the basic skills involved, like how to project your voice, how to stand correctly on the stage, how to develop a character. And with the classes, they’re not working on a big play and they have plenty of time to really work on all those skills.”
Echoing Brooks’ comments, Cox said it is exciting to see students develop their acting skills and later appear in community productions.
“I can think of one little girl who’s in our elementary-age group and she had auditioned for one of our fall youth productions and was very quiet and didn’t really stand out that much,” Cox said. “Then she came to acting class in January of that year and we just really showed her how to come out of her shell. [Overall] we talk to them about what directors are looking for when they have an audition and the fact that you have that one minute of audition to really make an impression.
“So you can’t waste a few minutes being nervous. You just have to go out there and go for it. And she came back in our summer camp and was a completely different girl. ... She was one of the best ones in the play that year and she’s gone on and done several other things since then. So it gives them a chance to really learn what it is that the directors are looking for.”
Registration is under way for the classes that will meet Jan. 22 and 29; Feb. 5, 12 and 26; and March 5.
The class for grades two through five will be held from 4 to 5:15 p.m. and will cost $60. Tuition for the grades six through 12 class, which will convene from 6 to 8 p.m., will be $90 for each student. The non-refundable tuition fees are due at registration for both offerings.
To register for either class, call 770-386-7343 or stop by The Grand Theatre Ticket Office at 7 N. Wall St.