Category Archives: Education

Young Storytellers

Near the end of last year, I participated in an event that is part of Young Storytellers, called “The Big Show”. I realize that in the world of social media, sharing this experience two months later is very not of-the-moment. BUT. It is such a cool organization, that I just had to share…

The Young Storytellers ‘Script to Stage’ program helps elementary school kids write their own story, in script form, and culminates in a performance of the pieces at “The Big Show.” Professional actors, like myself, volunteer to be cast as witches, robots, genies, moms, dads, little brothers, rocks, trees, coconuts-that-fall-from-the-sky and all kinds of endless roles that are found in these crazy creative stories! We have to audition….for nine year olds. Which is a wonderfully humbling experience and one in which you are forced to let go of any pretense of actually being a ‘good’ actor. We are simply there to give the young writers, and ourselves, the gift of believing in the truth of these stories, because they come from a purely creative place.

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I got to play a Mom, a soldier, a potion-making witch, a superhero, and yes–a coconut that falls from the sky. I had a ball. It was some of the most fun I’ve ever had acting. But more fun than performing, was catching glimpses of the faces of the kids as they saw their stories coming to life. The wonder, intrigue, and laughter. I know these experiences are such a big part of propelling them on to further creativity and expression (not to mention inspiring for all of us adults!), and I’m so grateful I got to be a small part of it.

Our Head Mentor (and volunteer), Susan Abramson, was in charge of organizing the whole show and is the one who got me involved. She’s pictured above with some of the young storytellers after taking their bows and reveling in the audience’s praise. It was so well-deserved and I can’t wait for the chance to do it again soon.

-Katharine

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Filed under Comedy, Drama, Education, Theatre

The SITI Company in Boise

I just got back from a week-long intensive training session with the SITI (Saratoga International Theatre Institute) Company in Boise, ID.  They teach the Suzuki and Viewpoints “methods” as training techniques.  The teaching was incredibly valuable and the practical applications to my craft and my work as an actor are endless.  I highly recommend studying under the SITI company, no matter what kind of artist you are. They perform and teach all over the world and you can find lots of information on their website. (link above)

The history of where each of these practices come from is fascinating, particularly the Viewpoints.  Anne Bogart, artistic director of SITI Company, helped to write The Viewpoints Book with Tina Landau. It’s very helpful in understanding the ideas and it’s also full of great exercizes.  But Mary Overly was the original thinker behind the theory and her website (sixviewpoints.com) is very  inspiring.  It is full of the complex ideas that are behind and go beyond the Viewpoints.  If you are interested in the Viewpoints at all, I recommend checking out her site too.     –Katharine

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Filed under Education, Theatre, Training