06 3Cape Fear Regional Theatre began its studio classes Jan. 25 for children between the ages of 4 to 19.

The theatre is currently offering classes lasting seven weeks in musical theatre, acting, mini studio meant for 4 through 6-year-olds, and two new additions being the musical theatre dance and improv classes, Marc de la Concha, director of education for CFRT, said.

“The classes are half process based and half product based,” de la Concha said. “It’s not just getting together and rehearsing a couple of songs for the end show, we try to teach the kids a lot of skills for working in the theatre that will help them when they join us for a summer camp or when they audition for a show on a main stage.”

We try to give kids those skills which I believe add into their everyday lives like speaking in front of people, working as a team, reading skills and such, it’s a skill building and some product-based stuff meaning singing and dancing so you can show what you learnt throughout the class, he said.

The mini studios meant for younger kids focus on skills like standing in one place for more than a couple minutes, speak loud enough, be heard from the stage and are taught by me, Ashley Owen, marketing director and instructor for CFRT, said.

“This semester I am using Dr. Seuss books to teach them those skills and prepping them to go on to higher level classes,” she said.

During the spring break the kids will do their spring break bootcamp, where we will have them in small groups and do a version of the “Wizard of Oz,” it’s for the kids and won’t be open to the public, he said.

Owens said classes are once a week for an hour and half and cost $150 with the exception of the mini studio classes which are an hour long and cost $100.

The theatre offers military, sibling and multi-class discounts. Class size ranges from 10 to 15 kids in each class.

The class sizes are pretty small, so the kids get one-on-one instruction, and we keep it safe during the pandemic, de la Concha said.

“Lots of hand sanitizers and everyone’s got a mask on all the time,” Owen said.

Owens said it's been a tough year but they are lucky to have had great leadership at the theatre who put in the time to figure out things so kids could attend the summer camp program and these classes.

“Performing arts are important, you know, because we are learning in a different way than in school, learning empathy, learning about other people’s experiences, different cultures in a different way and I think it's important for kids to learn those skills,” de la Concha said. “And some learn these skills better this way than sitting in a school setting, it helps with team building and getting away from a screen and having actual interpersonal interactions.”

It’s been such a saving grace for me personally, I love the kids, getting to work with them, Owens said.

“It's just been so nice to see appreciate being together in a way that they or people didn't before the pandemic,” she said.

We are very excited for this year and anxiously waiting to be fully back in the theatre for education and for our mainstage season as well and hopefully we will be at the other end of this very soon, de la Concha said.

For more information on the classes and times, visit https://www.cfrt.org/education/#studio-classes

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