Social distancing not slowing down Children’s Theatre Company

Marlisa Harding

The Children’s Theatre Company has created a new concept of educational theater in light of the realities and lessons taught by 2020. “BRAVO!” series allows students to learn theater concepts, at a social distance, using a variety of methods including monologues, movement, duets and play writing.

Kerry Onxley, artistic director, said the Children’s Theatre Company has been through many ups and down since last year but ultimately always found a way to gather be it virtually or at a social distance. The devastation of Hurricane Laura upon Central School, however, put a complete stop though to the program’s “new normal.”

“Because Central School was damaged and our studio space was on the third floor we faced a real set back…They’ve been trying for several months to get some life back over there.”

With the help of Mayor Nic Hunter and Matt Young, City of Lake Charles director of cultural affairs, Onxley said he was thankful that the theater group was eventually able to set up shop in a renovated conference room in Central School. “They said it would be available to rent but we’d need to limit our class sizes which is fine because that’s what were were already doing.”

With now two seasons of shows cancelled, Onxley said this new series would be a chance to pivot the company’s focus to a new emphasis on the more different aspects of theater that there’s often little time to get to in a traditional season. “We’re teaching them basic acting tools for beginners and more advanced acting tools for my returning students. Play writing, for example, none of my students have ever been able to do that.”

Students have already had two weeks of sessions working on their plays and monologues with a positive response from students, Onxley said. “They enjoy the play writing skills because you don’t have to concentrate or worry so much about punctuation or grammar or such. You just write as the human would speak.”

Students are tapping into “a whole new creative experience,” he said because they can see their project through from start to finish, writing the monologue and then seeing it performed.

“It’s an interesting twist with a playwright and an actor involved that the students are seeing. As the actor is acting it out, the way he or she might interpret it might not be correct. It’s just something we don’t have time to do in a typical week and the kids are really enjoying it.”

Onxley added that the more in depth aspects of acting that are being taught will also serve students in other parts of their lives. “These skills will certainly extend out to when kids are returning to school, when they speak to a teacher and fellow classmates. Hopefully, it’ll begin a fresh confidence and self esteem as they’ve learned to really put themselves out there.”

COVID-19 precautions will be strictly enforced including masks worn at all times, the utilization of hand sanitizing stations, frequent hand washing, timely pick up and drop off and increased sanitization of stage props. BRAVO! Series is available for students 5-18 years old. Classes will be offered Mondays and Wednesday 4-6 p.m.

To learn more or register visit www.childrenstheatre.ccCTC’s new “BRAVO!” series allows students to learn theater concepts at a social distance.

Special to the American Press

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