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Young Actors Workshop

Berkeley Parents Network > Reviews > Classes & Lessons > Young Actors Workshop


Editor Note: There is an art program in Berkeley with a similar name: Young Artist Workspace (YAWS)
Jan 2009

Re: Drama Opportunities for 15 year old?
Both my children (now aged 12 and 17) have had great experiences participating in Young Actors Workshop. It is run by a wonderful drama teacher, Sooz Worthing. It is open to kids in grades 6 through 12. During the school year there are Fall and Spring sessions that meet Monday and Wednesday from 4-7pm and some Saturdays, as well as a 5 week summer session. It's also a warm and supportive social environment. It is located at the Park Day School Community Campus, on Ridgeway near Piedmont Ave. in Oakland. Drama Mama


2001

The program at Contra Costa College is not a drama class. It's the Young Actors Workshop, for kids ages 10-18. It is located in the Performing Arts Center on the college campus (El Portal Drive in San Pablo). YAW puts on three plays a year: fall, spring and summer and kids get in by audition. There is an adult program for students at the college also. YAW's director since it's inception has been Susan Worthing.

My daughter was nagging me to take her to auditions after she saw her first play at age 10. She was worried she wouldn't get in, so she initially tried out for and began on the technical crew. After that play she was in 11 more....

YAW started out doing musical adaptations of classical children's stories such as The Jungle Book, The Princess Bride, and Robin Hood; they have also done Shakespeare. As the kids associated with YAW got older they have taken on more mature themes and some former actors have directed. There are kids from many East Bay schools and there are always car pools from Berkeley. Fees are minimal though donations are needed and appreciated; parent involvement is required to get the show on the road.

I can't say enough good things about the rich opportunities at YAW. The cast participates in adapting scripts and a lot of original music and lyrics are generated. (Plots of plays usually have several original twists, such as "Much Ado" set in a small American town at the end of WWII, wherein Hero decides not to marry her sweetheart because he's just treated her disrespectfully and she doesn't think either one of them is ready.) If someone plays an instrument they may end up as part of a group providing live musical accompaniment. Susan Worthing takes a personal interest in each child and also puts on professional-level productions.

YAW provided a place for my kid to explore singing, dancing, and song writing as well as acting, and for six years she had a community of friends who were creative and committed to their art. It provided a focus for her through middle school and well into high school. You can call them at 236-3323.

Penny


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