Fort Bragg offers acting class for children to bring out future stars
Clockwise from left: Ladasha Monroe, 13, Sierra Edwards, 13, Nikia Hill, 11, Raechel Brunson, 12 and Nadiyah Burge, 14, form a tent with other participants at the summer acting academy at Albritton Junior High School Monday. The games were both an icebreaker and a way for Raqi Barnett, instructor, to see which student had personality, creativity, leadership and cooperation skills.

FORT BRAGG, N.C. - Does your child seem to enjoy being in the spotlight' Do they like to sing and dance' This may be the class for them. Children from grades 1 through 12 can learn to act, apply make up and learn other aspects of theater at the Summer Acting Academy, sponsored by SKIESUnlimited.

The next available sessions are from July 26 through 30 and Aug. 2 through 6 at the Albritton Junior High School. Classes for grade 1 through 4 is from 9 a.m. to noon and grades 5 through 12 attend from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. This is the first time Fort Bragg has offered an acting class, said Paul Driessen, instructional program specialist at Tolson Youth Activities Center.

Raqi Barnett, a theater instructor with about 15 years experience, teaches children what they need to know to put on a production, including performing for their peers on the last day of the 10-day session at Tolson Youth Activities Center. "They will learn all aspects of theater to put on a production," she said. "They can take what they learned from me and they can audition for shows out in the community."

Children start out on the first day playing games so Barnett can see which children have personality, creativity and leadership or cooperation skills. After the snack break, Barnett casts the children in a production.

The following days, the budding actors learn memorization, coordination, vocal and physical exercises, along with mental challenges where they have to think on their feet. "Every show is live and you never know what can happen so you need to be able to react," said Barnett. Memorization skills also come in handy with schoolwork and tests, she added.

Students also learn different aspects of performing each day, such as stage make up, stage manager, music direction and dancing. Participants also have fun activities like themed dress up days and a costume parade.

Each group does a dress rehearsal the day before the big production. Younger students perform a circus while older students act in plays like "Belinda and the Beast," and "Take a Bite Out Of Crime."

After the show, Barnett throws a luau cast party for the students complete with "organized" water gun fights.

Barnett, wife of Master Sgt. Stacy Barnett, XVIII Airborne Corps G6 and self proclaimed "military brat," said she enjoys giving back to the military community by teaching what she loves - theater. "It's (rewarding watching) when they have built up their confidence being on the stage and they didn't know they had it," she said.

Barnett has also acted, directed and choreographed productions as well as managed the stage. She also holds a theater degree from George Mason University.

Barnett also plans to teach a modeling class for the military community.

Students wishing to attend the summer acting academy should bring water, snacks, pencil, paper and a folder to keep the script in. Session 4 will start Aug. 9. For more information, call 907-5437 or visit www.fortbraggmwr.com/cys/skies.php.

Page last updated Fri July 16th, 2010 at 12:50