EAC’s inaugural summer session of Children’s Theater Workshop provided participants from near and far with introductory theater training and plenty of fun. The program, which ran in July and August, was led by new EAC hire Mark Macey, who recently concluded service with the center through the Island Institute, and who’ll now serve both as Artistic Director of Stage East, and as EAC’s Creative Development Director. Macey was joined in the weekly sessions by co-leader Lauren “L.” Elwood, the Center’s intern. Students from ages 5 to 13 joined on a week-by-week basis, allowing flexibility for families’ busy summer schedules. The sessions fluctuated in size with as many as 19 students and as few as 7. 

Movement-based-theatrics were the focal point of EAC’s summer session of Children’s Theater Workshop, offered in July and August by co-leaders Mark Macey and L. Elwood.

“It was a challenge to have a shifting class size and such a large age range, but we wanted to attract as many participants as possible,” Macey said. “If we can make it easy to get introduced to theater, I think we’ll see folks return for sessions that require more time and energy.” With a workshop planned for later this fall, finding interested parties was certainly on the facilitators’ minds. 

With two actors on the floor, young participants in EAC’s Children’s Theater Workshop eagerly propose scenarios which could continue where the scene left off. (The resolution was to add a lion). 

Participants played games ranging from toilet tag, a form of freeze tag in which players must be “flushed” to get back into the game, to complex improv games that required students to come up with locations, relationships, and scenarios. Especially since the program is conducted with students and leaders wearing masks, communicating through the body was of paramount interest. Macey and Elwood guided students through movement exercises and taught them how to read physicality. Basic staging terms were also a part of the curriculum, giving participants the vocabulary and know-how to continue trotting the boards well into the future. 

L. Elwood, as a lion, creeps into an improv scenario with Cecelia Hopkins and Teddy Bakis.

“It was always fun to try out new movement games,” noted L. Elwood. “How they played out definitely helps me understand how we’ll tackle the fall session.” 

Watch for more information about the Children’s Theater Workshop fall session here. Interested parties can email mark@eastportartscenter.org for more info.