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Theater students learn from the professionals

Published 4:41 pm, Wednesday, August 20, 2014
  • The Summer Theatre of New Canaan's pre-college theater workshop students and faculty included, front row from left, Claire Fraise, Maria Oliveira, actress and program director Anna Holbrook, Anneliese Keeton and Rose Staudt; back row, actress Jodi Stevens, Lindsey Mayotte, Jack Dahill, Joseph Turner, Ethan Riordan, Erin Bronner, choreographer Doug Shankman and STONC artistic director Melody Libonati. Photo: Contributed Photo, Contributed / New Canaan News Contributed
    The Summer Theatre of New Canaan's pre-college theater workshop students and faculty included, front row from left, Claire Fraise, Maria Oliveira, actress and program director Anna Holbrook, Anneliese Keeton and Rose Staudt; back row, actress Jodi Stevens, Lindsey Mayotte, Jack Dahill, Joseph Turner, Ethan Riordan, Erin Bronner, choreographer Doug Shankman and STONC artistic director Melody Libonati. Photo: Contributed Photo, Contributed

 

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Students from several Fairfield County high schools recently participated in a pre-college theater education program offered by the Summer Theatre of New Canaan.

Jack Dahill Allison Demers, Maria Oliveira and Joseph Turner, all from New Canaan, were among the 10 students.

They studied 30 hours a week for three weeks with professionals. Among the workshops and classes were acting, Shakespeare, improvisation, musical theater vocal performance, commedia dell'arte, stage combat, theater dance, yoga, sensory work, lighting and costuming.

"Our goal is introduce students to multiple theatre arts, give high school students the opportunity to discover their creative selves, give them the tools that help them become theatre artists and hone their talents. The theater pros all gave the students an amazing opportunity to grow, learn and have a great creative summer experience," said Melody Libonati, artistic director of the theater and director of the Performing Arts Conservatory in New Canaan.

Seventeen professional artists taught the classes, including Arbender Robinson, now in the Broadway production of "Les Miserables"; Broadway actress Jodi Stevens Bryce; Comedy Central comedian Alexandra McHale; TV/film actress Ashley Williams; TV soap star David Forsyth; American Repertory Theater resident director Allegra Libonati; Broadway Dance Center teacher/choreographer Doug Shankman and New York City music director David Turner.

The group of professional artists was led by program director Anna Holbrook, an Emmy Award-winning actress. While coordinating the program, Holbrook also taught a scene study workshop.

"This was my second year as program director," she said, "and I cannot tell you how inspired I was, not only by the caliber of our teaching staff, but by the talent, enthusiasm and commitment of this particular group of students."

The program culminated with a student-devised performance of acting, singing, improvisation and dance that was presented to parents and friends on the theater's summer stage at Waveny Park. The students finished the program with a trip to Broadway to see "Pippin."

Registration for the 2015 program, which will take place in June and July, begins in January.

For information, visit www.stonc.org or call 203-966-4634.