Young People’s Theatre Training – ImPort Stanley

The front of Port Stanley Festival Theatre with black, yellow and red lettering and glass doors.

If your child wants to do it, and you can afford it, please put them in acting classes at CharACTer Curtain Calls in St. Thomas. I was a theatre kid, and I wish I’d stuck with it.

Acting training, like dance, builds skills and confidence kids will use for the rest of their lives. New classes are starting in September and they’ll culminate with a live performance at Port Stanley Festival Theatre .

Our sessions include theatre games, improv, exercises in projection, blocking, vocalization, and script reading. Actors in each age group will perform a season-ending show for the public at a local theatre.

CharACTer Curtain Calls

This group is supported by donations. They’re all volunteer, with no paid staff. This is a venture born out of pure love.

My memories of childhood are notoriously spotty. But I can recall acting classes like they were yesterday. I remember an exercise where I hoped to be Meryl Streep but I ended up being Tara Reid.

The challenge was to pretend to make your way across a ravine on a fallen log, represented by a rolled up carpet. The drop would kill you if you fell. The instructor wanted to see fear. Instead, he saw me stopping my slow crawl to tuck my hair behind my ear. I can still hear his loud groan before he came over to imitate me in front of the class. Even today, when I see an actress in the throes of danger sweep back her hair, I think, duh, you’re not very good!


My on-stage highlight was a bit of improv between me and an actress playing my Mom in a production of Bye Bye Birdie in Grimsby, ON. A piece of the set had come apart and the director shoved us out in front of the closed curtains to kill time. The woman and I looked at each other and understanding silently passed between us. I announced that I was going to see Birdie perform, while she vowed to stop me! It was Charlie Chaplin meets Lucille Ball. I’d crawl across the stage while she dragged me back. I’d get away and she’d catch me again. The audience’s laughter was like a drug. I loved it more than being in the actual play. But I loved that, too.

I experience a mix of admiration and envy as my friend Robyn Brady stars in community theatre productions in Chatham. She does this despite a career as a morning radio personality, along with having two young children. And animals and a husband and other interests, too. And she doesn’t do steroids!

I gave up my theatre aspirations (my REAL first career love) long ago, out of lack of confidence. Radio gave me performing ya-yas along with a regular paycheque. During my radio career, I never had the energy to audition, let alone rehearse and perform, with local theatre groups. I was always tired. But I wonder whether I should have pushed myself, especially when I see what Robyn can do.

Our mission is to advance education in the field of dramatic arts, by offering structured classes and events to children and youth, and by providing opportunities for these students to publicly perform dramatic works to develop their skills.

CharACTer Curtain Calls

I noticed that the eldest group at CharACTer Curtain Calls includes “Grades 7 and up”. I’m certainly “up”! Think I’ll get in?! 🙂

But seriously. It looks like a wonderful program.

1 thought on “Young People’s Theatre Training – ImPort Stanley”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *