Katy Visual and Performing Arts Center offered a new class this past summer, one that they will continue to offer, and indeed, expand upon once the regular school starts. Called Theatre For Life, it is a full series of classes for tweens on the Autism spectrum being taught by Ann Marie Morris, a Theatre Performance graduate from SUNY Fredonia and formerly a teacher at The Arbor, a private school for Special Needs children. “This class really fulfills a dream for me – to combine the professional loves of my life, theatre and special needs kids! It’s a challenge to be sure, for both myself and the students, but so rewarding.” With each class, the students are encouraged to see how what they are learning can be applied to their daily challenges of life, how the world and the people in it are a theatre and an audience.
The goal is to show the students how theatre techniques can help them cope with and have more confidence in their daily lives. Classes started with the basics, such as Relaxation and Calming, Learning the Stage Space, Sharing the Stage With Other Actors, Using the Voice and Body, Focus and Memory, Working With a Script, Blocking and Staging, The Five W’s (Who, What, When, Where and especially Why), Making Contact, and The Joy and Pain of Criticism!
As the last weeks of the class approach, the students are starting preparations for their performance on the last day. With the help of their teacher, each student is writing a monologue about their future. They will be asked to use all the different techniques that they have been learning to present the monologues for an audience, sharing the stage and working together as a theatre company. Their enthusiasm is obvious. They are very much looking forward to, as one youngster put it, “putting on their show!” And when asked if they would like to continue the class during the coming school year, the response from the kids was a resounding “Yes!”
The goal for KVPAC and the coming school year is to build on the experiences of the summer and expand the class offerings to three classes. All called Theatre For Life, one class will be for Young Children (ages 6-10), the second for Tweens (ages 11-14), and a third for the Teens (ages 15-18). All will offer everything from the very basics of theatre techniques to harder work, such as Preparing an Audition Piece and Learning About Directing, Management and Crewing shows. All classes will be a continuing series and conclude with a performance by the students. For more information, please visit the KVPAC website at www.kvpac.org or call 281.829.2787. KVPAC is a 501c3 non-profit arts education organization serving the Katy community since 2001. We are located at 2501 S Mason Rd, # 290, Katy, TX 77450 in the Great Southwest Equestrian Center Complex. ###