Genesee Community College Hosts High School/Community Theatre Workshop on November 18th

High school teachers and community theatre directors have the opportunity to discover the art and science of theater by attending a six-hour workshop developed by Maryanne Arena, director of Fine and Performing Arts at Genesee Community College.

The workshop, which has been designed to give drama and theater teachers a chance to develop their skills in a professional setting, is scheduled for 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM on Friday, November 18 at the Genesee Center for the Arts at the Batavia campus."Whether you are a seasoned director with scores of successful productions behind you or a novice embarking on your first show this spring, the workshop will provide excellent opportunities for specialized growth," said Arena, who has directed and produced more than 50 shows.

Arena noted that many high school teachers enjoy guiding students' theatrical productions, but lack formal training. The workshop-which concludes with a mini, one-act play-can provide that training and also be a refresher course for those teachers who wish to prevent "burn-out," she added.Key elements of the clinic include how to select a show, how to "block" a show, important steps in producing a successful show, how to develop students' innate auditioning, voice, movement, improvisation and acting skills, and tips in directing a successful show.

Each teacher or community theatre director may invite one or two students to participate.

"The dynamics of bringing teachers and directors and students together on stage to explore the elements of a successful production not only build the camaraderie essential to a winning show, but also fine tune basic directing and acting skills," Arena said.

Arena has worked with a wide range of age groups and considers young audiences and high school drama clubs an area of specialty. She earned her Master of Fine Arts, Acting/Theatre from Brooklyn College and her Bachelor of Arts in Theatre (Magna Cum Laude) from East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania.

Also at the workshop, Denis Gawley, a professional actor from New York City, will share information about succeeding in the acting industry. A member of all three professional actors' unions, he recently finished a movie directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Jack Nicholson. He has been in three films with Woody Allen and has been a guest actor on the television series, "Law and Order."

The Stuart Steiner Theatre, a state-of-the-art 328-seat facility, highlights the Genesee Center for the Arts, which opened in 1991. A complete scene shop, dressing rooms, costume shop, box office and lobby area for exhibits in the visual arts are adjacent to the theater.

Cost is $35 per instructor / teacher (student guests are free). The workshop is limited to 20 teachers who can invite up to two student co-participants (for a maximum of 60 people). The fee includes lunch and light refreshments in the afternoon.

The Theatre Production Workshop is being funded, in part, through a President's Innovation Award, an internal Genesee Community College program which promotes community involvement, stimulates student and community pride, and helps to establish pilot programs or initiatives that have the potential for positive, long-term impact on the College.

Reservations will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis with full payment. Checks should be made out to Genesee Community College Theater Department. For more information, contact Arena at 343-0055, ext. 6439.

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