Teens may be notorious for acting dramatic, but for organizers of a new youth acting workshop, that’s a good thing.
“Their creativity and energy is unparalleled,” said Amanda Barnard, who will teach the 16-week teen drama workshop for the Surry Arts Council. “I enjoy bringing a focus to the talent and watching the kids bloom as their skills grow.”
The workshop is free and open to youths ages 12 to 18.
Beginning Jan. 7, classes will be held Saturdays from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. at the Andy Griffith Museum Theatre and will culminate with a student performance on May 6.
“It’s a great opportunity for them to try their foot at acting or to enhance their skills and talents,” said Barnard, of Mount Airy, who studied acting and directing at UNC Asheville.
“The fun and really interesting thing about children is they’re so uninhibited, able to be creative and silly,” she said. “They’re ready to let their inner self shine through.”
Classes will begin with a warm-up game then address a “skill-of-the-week,” such as pantomime, movement or voice, said Barnard, who earned a bachelor’s degree in acting and directing at UNC-Asheville.
Students will dig into and analyze a 30-minute, one-act production that they will eventually cast, rehearse and stage at the Andy Griffith Playhouse.
“If they miss a class or two it’s not a terrible thing,” Barnard said. “We’ll try to be flexible.”
After college, Barnard moved to New York City, where she and her husband worked on off-off-Broadway plays.
The couple decided to return to Mount Airy and raise a family.
“I went down the road of life,” Barnard said, eventually attending Salem College and earning a master’s degree in education.
She became involved with some community theater productions with the local arts council, starting with Shakespeare.
“I needed a theater fix,” she said.
Her three children, now ages 14, 10 and 5, have become interested in the performing arts.
“That made me become more aware and involved again,” Barnard said.
At the same time, the arts council was looking to build its youth theater programming following on the successes of “Junior” productions of “Elf” and “Into the Woods.”
“Kids responded to them really well and the community enjoyed them,” said Barnard, noting that with a background in both the arts and education, she’s a good fit to lead the workshop.
“She is awesome,” said Tanya Jones, executive director of the Surry Arts Council.
Barnard she is excited to get started.
“Working with children brings me great joy, and I learn so much from them,” she said.
“If (the teen workshop) goes well and everybody’s happy we’ll be able to expand the program to different age groups.”
The workshop is limited to the first 15 who register.
To register or for more information, contact Antonia at 336-786-7998 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reach Terri Flagg at 415-4734.