Several years ago I lived and went to school in Hollywood. Now, I was going to a music school, but since it was located in Hollywood, it kind of thrust me right into the middle of the realm of a million actors looking for work and hoping to get their big break while working at something else to make a living.
One thing a lot of them had in common was that they were taking some kind of class or getting together with an acting coach every week to develop their skills. A lot of them started working at this as kids, and if they grew up in the Los Angelese area, there were seemingly endless opportunities to find some place to study with experienced people who taught and coached the top actors in the business. The same holds true for kids growing up in New York, as both of these places are pretty much where the acting work is, in either movies or theater.
While looking through the fall schedule of classes offered here in Golden at our Community Center, I stumbled upon some real gems that were kind of hidden in the “dance” section but are actually workshops/theater companies for budding actors and stage performers. These are great as they are organized like the kind of classes you would find on the coasts, with teachers who have real-world experience in abundance.
The first of these is a new program called Kidskits, and it’s split into two age groups, for children 5 to 8 years old, and those 9 to 12 years old. This program is designed as an age-appropriate program to teach kids all the basics. Acting, stagecraft and improvisation, while building their imagination and learning teamwork as an acting company. They will learn important skills that, can translate into lifetime lessons such as thinking on their feet and working as a team.
For teenagers there is a new program called TeenShake, which takes their acting skill a bit further and starts looking at the themes of Shakespeare. They will begin to experiment with the language and hone in more on the art of acting. This also gives them the chance to play different characters and find the qualities they have within themselves that enable them to handle different roles.
Both Kidskits and TeenShake are directed by experienced professional actress and director Sasha Fisher, who trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in her native London.
She is bringing 30 years of performance and teaching experience with her, so this is going to be a great program.
Kidskits and TeenShake will run from Sept. 10 through Dec. 10.
Now, if you have kids with that Broadway kind of personality who love to sing and perform on stage, then take a look at the Vocal Music Theater program that is also offered. Again, this is split into two age groups, 5 to 7 years, and 8 years and up.
These classes will focus on vocal performance, projection and stage presence — essential for any budding singer to learn. They are taught by one of the most experienced vocalists and teachers in the area, Eileen Figlioino.
Trust me, I know Eileen, and she brings decades of knowledge from performing on radio and television, as well as touring with some of the top professional big bands in the world. You can’t find a better teacher than her.
The Vocal Music Theater workshops run from Sept. 11 through Dec. 11.
For more information on these programs, go to https://rec.cityofgolden.net and click on “Dance” under the activity types heading. You can also call Tracy at 303-384-8124.
John Akal is a well-known jazz artist/drummer and leader of the 20-piece Ultraphonic Jazz Orchestra. He also is president of John Akal Imaging, professional commercial photography and multi-media production.