Children's acting class held at community arts centerLocally-based Dog in the Door Theater for Kids recently held theater classes for children ages 3 to 12 at the Dorothy Merrill Community Art Center.
By: Amber Kispert-Smith, Woodbury Bulletin
Dog in the Door Theater for Kids, which held classes April 7-28, was started in the spring of 2010 by Woodbury resident Michelle Storm. It caters to children ages 3 to 12 and teaches them the beginnings of theater.
“I had a great experience with theater when I was a kid and really like to see kids have that too,” Storm said. “I love to share my love of theater.”
Two separate classes were held at the Dorothy Merrill Community Arts Center – one for ages 3 to 6 and one for ages 7 to 11.
The theater classes kicked off with Storm going through a variety of stretches and warm-up activities with the children.
“We want to get them up and moving as much as possible,” she said. “We have a wide range of activities to get them loose and uninhibited.”
For the younger grades, Storm typically works from storybooks to create mini plays.
The older children are typically given prompts or themes and are tasked with creating their own mini plays.
“The older kids can go off more on their own and improvise since they’ve had a lot of that in school – they love to create,” Storm said. “With the younger kids it’s a bit more structured.”
At the end of each class, the children perform the plays they learned that day for their parents.
“It really takes the pressure off the kids the more exposure they get to the stage,” Storm said.
Over the past several weeks the children have performed plays about pets, helping each other and plays based on the books “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” and “Little Grunt and the Big Egg.”
“They love to move,” Storm said. “It’s just an outlet for their bodies.”
In addition to simply learning the plays, Storm said she also works with the children to learn some of the basics of theater skills and terminology including: what’s stage left and right, where the curtain is, where the audience is and projection. They also learn to use their bodies, control, expressions and how to follow directions.
Storm said she is hoping to offer another theater class this summer and to put together a full production with younger children in the fall.
“Theater really builds confidence,” she said. “I see the shyer kids coming out of their shell and the not so shy ones have a place to express themselves.
“They all have a voice.”
Dog in the Door Theater for Kids will be holding summer theater camps for kids this summer July 23 to Aug. 2 at the Dorothy Merrill Community Arts Center. Ages 3 to 6 meet on Mondays and Wednesdays and ages 7 to 10 meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Cost is $60. For more information, or to register, contact Michelle Storm at (651)501-9273 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dog in the Door Theater for Kids will be celebrating its two-year anniversary May 5 at the Dorothy Merrill Community Arts Center. From 9:30-11:30 a.m., for ages 3 to 7, and from 1-3 p.m., for ages 8 to 12, Dog in the Door will be helping children create their own puppets, play theater games and create an original story. Cost is $15 for materials. For information, or to register, contact Michelle Storm at 651-501-9273 or at email@example.com