NIU to offer acting courses to children

By Grant Miller

NIU’s new Theatre Institute will be offering acting technique and performance improvisation courses for school children beginning Sept. 11 and running through Oct. 16.

“The theatre department was interested in getting children involved in theatre,” said Deborah Booth, College of Visual and Performing Arts coordinator and the director of the office of external programs. “The department puts on theatre camps every summer for high school kids, and it has sold out every year.”

The acting technique course is being offered to kids ages 14 to 17, while the performance improvisation class is offered to students in grades four through nine.

“The classes won’t be large, so the students will get the most out of the experience,” Booth said. “We imagine that the classes will fill up quickly.”

The adviser for the Theatre Institute is theatre arts professor Patricia Ridge. The courses are to be conducted by Ridge and upper-level NIU theatre arts students.

“As this is the first semester for the Theatre Institute, people seem to be pretty excited about it,” Booth said. “We have had a lot of good word of mouth about the Institute.”

Since it is the first semester for the Institute, some problems have developed. “Our usual avenue for getting word out is unavailable due to the teachers strike in DeKalb,” Booth said.

The classes will last one hour and a half and will be held in the Stevens building. There is also a $40 fee for the classes. Teaching students to build upon their own life experiences as well as developing skills and attitudes towards the theatre are some of the course objectives.

“Students need not have experience in theatre to be a part of these classes,” Booth said. “Although many of the kids who sign up may have had some prior experience.”

Those interested in the Theatre Institute should either call Deborah Booth at 753-1450 or stop outside office 137 in the music building for more information on the Theatre Institute and other courses offered through the community school of the arts.