Recently, I taught 3 classes and directed for 6 weeks at the Arkansas Arts Center's Summer Theatre Academy and the whole experience made more of an impact than I expected. At the risk of being terribly cliche, you really do learn as much from the kids as they learn from you.
I met my current significant other while in a Summer Youth Theatre program when I was 14. No, we didn't actually date till many years later and didn't successfully stay together till almost a decade after that, but his companionship and many longlasting friendships were formed those four summers I participated. In fact, all of my friends that I keep in touch with from the program are still involved in the arts in some capacity. Its pretty darn cool when you think about it.
These programs really do make an impact! And seeing the passion and talent of some of those kids was really inspiring. The creativity and fearlessness is something I could take a few notes in. And it was satisfying to realize that my decade or so of performing has taught me a few things that I can pass along.
All in all, it was so fun and I look forward to more teaching opportunities in the future. If you have some youngsters interested in the arts send them to the Art Center's Summer Theatre Academy. Though be warned, its not for lazy kids. Invite is by audition only and the kids have a structored program of hour long classes from 9am- 3pm and then 2 hours of a rehearsal for a project performed. This program is INTENSE. But such a great deal! I taught core classes like Voice and Diction, Improv and a class for first years called Focus, but there are so many more: Technical Theare, Musical Theatre, Contemporary Dance, Theatre History, Stage Fighting, makeup, singing, costume design- you name it, it probably exists. Check it out!
Till next time,