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19 September 2007

Saturday Studio Classes for students begin Oct. 6 at HACC

As a shy 5-year-old, Laura Gingerich was bitten by the theater bug after taking puppetry and theater fun in Saturday Studio Classes at the Rose Lehrman Art Center at HACC, Pennsylvania’s Community College.

A dozen years and several classes later offered by HACC Theatre Department’s Theatre for Young People program, Laura plans to major in theater arts in college.

"Theatre for Young People not only helped my confidence in theater and auditioning, but also socially,” says Laura, who credits her TYP experience with recently landing a lead role in “The Mouse That Roared” at Central Dauphin East where she is a junior.

“When you receive that extra bit of confidence when you're young, you have no idea how much that helps you out later in life in all aspects," she adds.

There’s still time to sign up for the popular Saturday Studio Classes, a seven-week program on successive Saturdays, Oct. 6-Nov. 17, with classes divided according to age group.

Whether a student is a novice in theater arts or a returning participant, the curriculum is updated each year and structured so that individual ability levels are challenged, says Brenda Eppley, a professor in HACC’s Theatre Department and starting her 17th year as director of Theatre for Young People.

The Rose Lehrman Arts Center on the Harrisburg Campus offers a performance and instruction facility featuring a newly renovated theater, a studio theater, movement studio, green room and make-up lab, as well as a scene and costume shop, just like the real theater world.

A jewel of the program is the quality of the teaching staff that “consists largely of professionals with a master’s degree in theater (as well as) instructors with bachelor’s and associate degrees and equivalent professional experience,” says Eppley, adding they are assisted by HACC theater majors chosen for their ability to nurture young people interested in theater.

The classes include:

  • “Theatre Fun” for ages 5-8 runs from 9-10 a.m. for $60. An introduction to theater for the younger set, the focus is development of skills in concentration, expression, communication, self-awareness and teamwork through the use of creative dramatics and movement.
  • “Dance, Play and Move!” also for ages 5-8 runs from 10:15-11:30 a.m. for $65. If you like dancing around your living room, this is your chance to explore your imagination and learn the basics of dance. Students will merge storytelling with dance/movement in this high-energy class.
  • “The Acting Experience” for ages 9-12 runs from 10:15-11:45 a.m. and for ages 13-18 runs from noon-1:30 p.m., both for $85. Designed for the novice, this class introduces basic acting techniques and training, and is a good foundation for future theater classes.

For more information and to register for Saturday Studio Classes, use the Website link below for printable forms. Or, call 780-2521, ext. 4 for a brochure.

Fast facts: About TYP

The Theatre for Young People was created 17 years ago under the umbrella of HACC’s Theatre Program as a learning and outreach initiative for area youth. The program provides an affordable venue for students to gain exposure to the thrill of the theater experience.

“TYP serves ages 5-18 and is a year-round program,” says Brenda Eppley, professor of theater and director of the program. “We have Saturday Studio Classes during the fall and spring semesters and 14 one-week summer theater camps on the Harrisburg Campus.”

TYP also has an off-site program tailored to meet the needs of individual organizations, with programs in schools, at borough and community parks and recreations sites, local theaters, and for private individuals.

“Basically, if it involves theater training, TYP will custom-design a program for any organization seeking high quality theater education,” Eppley says, adding the program simultaneously emphasizes artistic development, interpersonal skills and leadership – skills that benefit students whether they choose to continue in theater arts.

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