ACT for Students
Playwrights’ Arena’s ACT FOR STUDENTS (Andrea Cockrum Theater for Students)
It started as a very simple idea – giving underserved high school students access to theater.
For most of the students, their experience with ACTS is their first introduction to the magical world of theater. The program enables students to unearth their own unique voices, mining their lives for drama, and releasing their inner storytellers – as playwrights and as actors.
Since the program started 5 years ago, it has expanded into a residency at New Designs Charter School. Over an eight-week period, students are guided by a playwright mentor in writing exercises, developing monologues, and writing scenes. In collaboration with their playwright mentor, more than thirty individual pieces are shaped into an ensemble piece – a collection of vignettes or “theatrical reflections”.
Professional acting mentors lead the students through warm-ups and theater games, preparing them for rehearsals. They are introduced to the fundamentals of physicality, vocal projection & diction, characterization, and activating their imaginations in order to “play”. The journey culminates with a public presentation of their original work.
In addition, students are invited to a performance of Playwrights’ Arena’s current offering. Following the performance, we open a dialogue with professional artists. Armed with the knowledge they gained during the residency, the students’ questions and feedback are very sophisticated, resulting in a spirited discussion about the theater process.
We thank the many supporters who have helped fund this program. If you would like to help develop the next generation of theater practitioners and theatergoers, please talk contact us or support us with a tax deductible donation.