I want to be a star

Katie Cassidy isn’t necessarily eyeing a career in the performing arts – either in front of or behind the camera.

But the Williamsport Area High School junior felt the Cross Campus Dramatic Workshop, which brought students from different school districts to Montoursville one recent Saturday morning to learn about theatre, was well worth it.

“It’s fun when you come together with kids from other schools,” she said.

She felt some of the classes, including instruction in improv, certainly were beneficial. Plus, they were fun.

Eleven instructors were at Montoursville Area High School Oct. 31 to present workshops in both performance and technical aspects of the theater.

It was a chance for some 60 high school and middle school students from Montoursville, Williamsport, East Lycoming and Jersey Shore school districts to get a taste of theater life and what it has to offer.

The series of workshops were the brainchild of Montoursville drama teacher Denise Connor and Williamsport drama teacher Marie Fox, who wanted to expose students to a diversity of theatrical instruction.

“Of the 11 classes, we have five that are not performance based,” Connor said. “We wanted a good sampling of off-stage things.”

Among the instructors were Jordan Miller, who offered his expertise in the more technical aspects of theater production.

Miller, who works as a stage technician for Williamsport Community Arts Center productions, conducted a sound class.

“We start with cable management,” he said, adding that he never had a desire to be in front of the camera.

Connor acknowledged that many students are not looking to be actors.

She said the students were able to absorb some top-notch instruction and do their share of hands-on activities.

Makeup, set design, dance, acting and directing were some of the classes that were offered.

“We wanted to offer exposure to these teachers. All are professionals in these areas,” Connor said. “We wanted students to get high quality instruction and give them a chance to meet with students from other schools.”

Fox taught an improv class to give students a taste of comedic acting.

“I love to teach it,” she said. “We feel we have a lot of talent in the area.”

She said the idea behind the Cross Campus Dramatic Workshop was to share with interested students instruction offered by professionals.

Kyle Wilson, 23, who is pursuing a career in New York as a writer and director, taught another of the classes.

The former Lycoming County resident and Carnegie Mellon University graduate, said it was too bad the workshops weren’t offered when he was a high school student.

“It’s awesome that they are having this and the response is to strong,” he said. “It builds more of a collaborative spirit which is awesome.”

Tess Bower, a Jersey Shore Area High School chorus teacher, said the instructors perhaps received as much out of the workshops as the students. “It’s a lot of fun,” she said.

Other instructors included Jaclyn Gailit Lutz, artistic director of Turning Pointe School of Ballet and Fiona Powell, a producer, editor and on-air host at WVIA-FM.


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