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Brunswick Little Theatre’s latest workshop, Let’s Play, has begun drawing an appreciative crowd of pint-sized participants.
The new Children’s Theater Workshop is described as a fun, active experience for young theater enthusiasts in the 4-to-12-year-old age bracket who are “ready to explore and excel in the theatrical arts in a low-key, relaxed environment.”
The new program for 2013 is being directed by BLT veteran and board director Jen Iapalucci. It’s designed to offer both seasoned and fledgling child actors opportunities to develop new thespian skills without having to go the audition route.
Twenty Brunswick County children are enrolled in the first 12-week session of Let’s Play, which launched Feb. 10 at On My Toes Dance Studio in Southport. They’ve come from “everywhere”—Leland, Ash, Southport, Oak Island, Boiling Spring Lakes, said Iapalucci, who was pleasantly surprised when registration filled up in about three hours.
She describes Let’s Play as a Brunswick Little Theatre activity for younger children. While BLT has its Stagestruck Players children’s theater, it’s generally for older, more experienced ages from 10 on up, she said.
“This is more for kids who want to give it a try with little to no experience at all,” she said.
The young workshop troupe meets for two hours Sunday afternoons. The children will be exploring different aspects of theater—scenes, dancing, improvisation, play-reading, costumes, props—the whole spectrum. They’ll also play drama games and engage in trust-building exercises
Iapalucci said the goal is to get kids comfortable with theater and give them confidence or just to help them be better students, to “get up and try out whatever it is that the kids really love doing.”
During the sessions, children will be taught theatrical terminology, music, and stage movement.
The idea for Let’s Play originated with Iapalucci, who brought it before the BLT board. She has been involved with BLT for 10 years, leading a number of shows, including large musicals like “Oliver!” in 2011 and “The Wizard of Oz” last year.
“So I’ve worked with younger kids,” said Iapalucci, whose own sons are ages 7 and 3.
Max, her older son, is already involved in BLT productions.
“I really enjoy working with the kids,” Iapalucci said. “I feel like when we’re doing huge productions, there’s a limited amount of time to spend one-on-one with kids demanding my attention.”
Last summer, she conducted “Munchkin boot camp” at her home for a week prior to “Wizard of Oz” rehearsals. Those sessions, she said, helped kids to get know and trust each other “instead of sending them into a cast of adults who have certain expectations about how to behave backstage.”
Iapalucci is also hoping the workshops will help bridge “gap years” when boys start to lose interest in theater, typically between ages 8 and 12.
Though the current Let’s Play session is full, Iapalucci said more will be offered. The next session will probably be next summer.
For more information about Let’s Play or BLT in general, log onto the website www.brunswicklittletheatre.com, visit BLT’s Facebook page, or call Iapalucci at (910) 269-1518.
Laura Lewis is a staff writer at the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or email email@example.com.