By Lindsay Carey
The AspenDream Productions is offering acting and improve classes for children and teens between the ages of 7 and 18 at the Historic Marion Schoolhouse.
AspenDream Productions Founder and Executive Director Janice Luise-Lutkus is looking for both beginners and students with experience to join her eight week classes.
“We’re going to be introducing theme work, story dramatization and monologues,” said Luise-Lutkus.
Luise-Lutkus started the AspenDream Productions in 1996.
About five years into her business, Luise-Lutkus started branching off and teaching on the side. She enjoyed working with kids from Warner’s Theater and Hartford Children’s Theater, so when the opportunity came for AspenDream Productions to be involved in theater education Luise-Lutkus started looking into it seriously.
“It’s an hour long after school program that teaches confidence and stage presence for any age child, they’ll get something out of this,” said Luise-Lutkus.
Beginning on Tuesday, Sept. 30, there will be an Introduction to Acting class for ages 7-10 from 4-5 p.m. In addition, there will be an Advanced Drama class for Middle and High School students offered from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
On Wednesday, October 1 an Intermediate Acting class for ages 9-14 will begin from 4-5 p.m. and a Comedy Improv class for ages 13-18 will follow from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
AspenDream Productions Theater Education secured a space with the Marion School to teach one class to 14 students ranging from kindergarten through sixth grade.
After speaking with some of the moms from the program, Luise-Lutkus decided to expand the program so that she could work with older students as well.
The older students may be assigned monologues and be asked to act from memorization, while the younger kids can read from their notes.
Luise-Lutkus said she plans to prepare the advanced group for auditions at their schools or surrounding theaters and provide insight to those that will be headed to college soon. She said she will prepare them for what the audition process will be like and what a director may be looking for.
“Anybody that walks in the door who has never taken an acting class before will walk away with a lot of confidence when they go back to school,” said Luise-Lutkus. “They will be able to give reports and feel confident in being able to present themselves.”
The last class will be open to parents, family and friends and each class will perform something different.
Last year, the group of young actors performed a story dramatization about what it was like to be a student at the Marion Schoolhouse in 1910.
“We talked a lot about what the space was used for and then we prepared a piece for them to read and act it out,” said Luise-Lutkus.
The knowledge the students received about the Marion Schoolhouse allowed is what made the program a dual-educational experience. In addition to learning about theater the students learn about one of historic buildings in town.
“It’s wonderful to see the schoolhouse being used by a community friendly group,” said Executive Director of the Marion Schoolhouse Vicky McCarthy. “We certainly would like more programs like this, especially ones that benefit children. Any opportunity for hands on learning through art or history, we want to support that.”
Anyone who is interested in seeing the schoolhouse or using it can contact McCarthy 860-214-2452.
To register for a class call 860-309-1341.
By Lindsay Carey