WENDELL — Last year, Sacred Swindell of Wendell wanted to start a theater troupe for kids his age.
He contacted Wendell Parks and Recreation to create his own theater troupe for 4th to 8th graders. By the time that group had completed its effort, Swindell had connected with the Raleigh Little Theatre to have other classes as well.
“(We) talked them into steering away from performances at the beginning and going more toward classes and that’s when we met with Parks and Rec departments of Zebulon, Knightdale and Wendell,” said Linda O’Day Young, Raleigh Little Theatre’s youth theatre and education director.
“He had formed a group of kids who were interested in getting together and working with drama,” she said.
Last year was the first year the organization held classes in eastern Wake County. This year, they’ve reintroduced the classes with one class in each town. The first, “The Way We See It” started Jan. 14 at Knightdale’s Recreation Center.
The class is for 10- to 13-year-olds and will end with an original performance.
“It’s a performance piece where they’ll create their own piece with improvisation and talk about their own issues and opinions,” O’Day Young said. “We’re really excited about that.”
O’Day Young said bringing drama classes to young people can be instrumental in their development.
“Theater classes do train you to be actors but more than that it inspires kids to be better people in terms of building confidence (and) helping wth communication skills,” she said. “A big thing in theater class is to gain respect for yourself and others.”
There will be a class focused on public speaking skills (”In the Spotlight”), improvisation skills (”Improv Games to Play and Perform”) and techniques to have a successful audition (Pathway to Stage), should they decide to pursue theater outside of the classes.
“We're not out to make every one of our students a star on Broadway,” O’Day Young said. “The benefits affect them in their outside lives.”
“They learn to accept each other,” she said of children who participate in the theater classes. “Most important, it encourages self respect and respect for others.”
Registration for the other classes are still open: “In the Spotlight” in Knightdale will be held Sept.3 to Oct. 8; “Improv Games to Play and Perform” in Zebulon from Oct. 29 to Dec. 17; “Pathway to Stage” in Wendell from March 11 to May 6. All classes meet on a weekly basis and are held at the town’s recreation centers.
Hankerson: 919-829-4826; Twitter: @easternwakenews