By Crystal McGough, Associate Editor
LEEDS – The Leeds-Moody Area Kids Acting Class kicked off a new educational semester on Jan. 10, with a special focus on American classic literature.
“Our spring semesters are education-based,” Director Victoria Boyce said. “In this case, it’s American literature based, so we’re doing poems from Robert Frost, Edgar Allen Poe, Emily Dickinson. And then, we’ll be doing some scenes from Moby Dick, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Little Women and The Great Gatsby.”
The Leeds-Moody Area Kids Acting Class was founded in 2019, originally meeting at the Leeds Art Council theater. This semester, however, the class has moved to the Merch Event Boutique, located across from The Pants Store at 8008 Parkway Drive, Leeds.
In addition to lessons in performing arts, each educational spring semester focuses on some form of historical education, whether it be general history or the history of theater.
“Last spring semester, for our educational class, we did ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ with a focus on Shakespeare,” Boyce said. “It included stage combat and learning Old English because the kids did it in its original form. Then, the time before that, our educational semester was based on ancient theater. So, they did some Greek myths with a Greek chorus and learned all about how that was done back then. They also learned some ancient Roman dancing that would have been done for the Roman plays, and they worked with a Chinese dragon puppet.”
This semester students can expect to walk away with a detailed beginning knowledge of some classic American authors and their works, such as Mark Twain, Edgar Allen Poe, Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson, Washington Irving, Herman Melville and F. Scott Fitzgerald.
“The students get an introduction to the authors and a piece they wrote, and then they get a broad summary of the piece, and then a more detailed look at a particular scene, short story and/or poem,” Boyce said. “So, they get an in-depth look at what we are covering with a broad summary of the work, in general, so they understand the context. We also discuss the time period and how that played into the work.”
In addition to the literary focus, students will also walk away with an understanding of theatrical elements such as stage terminology and how to do a monologue. They will also learn how to take something that wasn’t originally written for the stage and turn it into a theatrical performance.
Then, in April, the students will hold their final performances, which will be called “A Turn of the Page Through American Classics.”
“We’re going to tie all the works together and it’s going to be a play of all the scenes and the poems brought together,” Boyce said. “The week of April 17, we’re actually going to have tech week to get ready for performances. Then, April 21-23 will be the performance dates.”
Although the spring semester has already begun, it’s not too late for any students who still want to sign up for the class, which meets on Tuesdays from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
“We can catch anybody up,” Boyce said. “Anyone who signs up this month would be comped $50 since they missed January.”
The class regularly costs $200 for the semester, with the option of a $50/month payment plan. The tuition covers the cost of the set, scripts, costumes and two complementary tickets for parents to see the show.
“We have a lot of fun,” Boyce said. “The kids really enjoy it and they make long-lasting friendships that come from this class. It’s a good outlet for anybody who may feel they are getting overlooked in their school productions or are too shy to do school productions, but want to try some theater. Or maybe they go to a private school or are homeschooled and don’t have the opportunity to participate in a theater program.”
For more information about the Leeds-Moody Area Kids Acting Class, or to register your student, call Director Victoria Boyce at (205) 285-7635.
Crystal McGough can be contacted at email@example.com