Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Building Confidence Through Mini-Performances

Post By: Kristyn Hegner, Northlight Teaching Artist
It is a delight to return to Fairview South Schoolfor the second year as a “NOC” teaching artist. Currently, we have just finished the first half of our yearlongresidency and are about to hold auditions for Philip Dawkins’s original play, Rodeo.

In our second year, NOC’s programming is continuing toevolve and grow in an effort to best serve Fairview’s students. Prior to our first class, fellow teaching artistMatt Farabee, intern Mara Stern, and myself met with Northlight’s Director ofEducation, Devon de Mayo to assess the strengths and weaknesses of last year’sprogram.

Through this dialogue, wetailored the curriculum, building upon previous experiences. Last year, we felt the students lackedself-confidence. This was demonstratedthrough struggles with projection, articulation and stage presence. WhenMatt and I revamped the curriculum, we decided that by having the students doat least one mini-performance each week we could fortify performance based skillswhile strengthening each student’s overall confidence. Throughout the course of the semester, we didjust that. Weekly, the students wroteand performed original scenes, improvised short plays, and as a culminatingactivity performed a fully memorized monologue. During the weekly classes, students were given the challenge to act aspeer directors, modeling and applying their knowledge and growing skill set inan effort to encourage their fellow students. Throughout each performance, peers were encouraged to watch for specificnotes that were then administered through constructive feedback and reflection.

It has been inspiring to watch our veteran students act asleaders, demonstrating their growing theatricality, and in turn, it is equallyas thrilling to watch our newest members take on new challenges. I am looking forward to working withour students as we embark together on Rodeo. Fairview students are very proud to bemembers of NOC. I know they are readilyawaiting auditions, rehearsals, and finally, sharing the culminatingperformances with their friends and family.

Kristyn Hegner has spent four summers teaching at Northlight’sPerforming Arts Camp. She is in her second year as the lead teachingartist to pilot Northlight On Campus at Fairview South School. Agraduate of Indiana University, Kristyn studied Theatre with minors in Englishand Psychology. Kristyn also teaches with Dream Big Performing ArtsWorkshop, American Theatre Company and has assistant directed and choreographedmultiple children’s productions, and lead several dance and movement intensiveworkshops.

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