Young stars

The Tribune (NZ) - - FRONT PAGE - KARO­LINE TUCKEY

An im­pro­vi­sa­tion theatre work­shop for kids had the troupe shooting from the hip, speak­ing off the cuff and work­ing on Rus­sian ac­cents.

Cen­tre­point Theatre ran its first school hol­i­day act­ing pro­gramme in the sec­ond week of the break, with a group of eight to 13 year-olds.

Tu­tor Ben Ashby said the work­shops had been pop­u­lar and more were planned with a dif­fer­ent act­ing theme for each hol­i­days.

Im­pro­vi­sa­tion had been a good place to start, he said.

‘‘It’s such a com­mu­nity theatre that we wanted to get a whole lot of kids from Palmer­ston North into the theatre and ex­cited about this world of theatre, and it’s all about hav­ing fun.

‘‘Peo­ple who have trained in im­pro­vi­sa­tion, you can tell, they are so able to bring more ideas as an ac­tor, and change the mo­ment. It’s those un­planned mo­ments that light up the most - where ac­tors are alive.’’

On the first day the chil­dren started off shy and silent, and by the end of the week were ex­pres­sive, funny and not afraid to look silly, he said.

Lu­cas Bowen, 12, said he had fun work­ing on ac­cents, im­pro­vi­sa­tion games and get­ting to prac­tice act­ing with­out be­ing em­bar­rassed.

‘‘Ac­cents are fun. It’s an easy way to tell peo­ple where the per­son you’re play­ing is from. I like Rus­sian - you can lis­ten to Vladamir Putin on the news and roll the words.’’

Ex­er­cises in­cluded ‘pop up story’, act­ing out a school year book photo, ‘he said she said’, and theatre sports games.

‘‘It’s great tak­ing kids away from watch­ing screens, get­ting them watch­ing each other, and be­ing funny and telling sto­ries,’’ Ashby said.

‘‘We don’t have to pay a mil­lion dol­lars for an ex­pen­sive Holly- wood pro­duc­tion to have a story told; we’re teach­ing them those skills, and to play and have fun.’’

A se­nior teen work­shop and an­other ju­nior work­shop are planned for the July hol­i­days.

PHOTO: DAVID UNWIN/FAIRFAX NZ

Kids giv­ing im­prov a go at Cen­tre­point’s school hol­i­day pro­gramme.

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