Someone suggested to me recently that I might have what it takes to work the art of acting. A lovely compliment and something I might consider were one of my children not committed to the craft.
As every parents knows, the everyday brings plenty of its own tragedy and comedy — with more of the latter on a good day. Still, if I ever decided to give acting a try I’d have plenty of Valley options for classes and private coaching.
Dearing Acting Studio, which recently moved to a new Phoenix location, offers classes for adults and teens — and workshops too. Aug/Sept offerings include comedic monologue, scene-based improv and marketing for actors.
If you like to watch rather than read when it comes to gathering info, explore their “acting tips” videos — which cover topics like cold reading, diction and avoiding acting scams.
Waymire Studio for the Performing Arts in Glendale (also coming to Mesa) offers classes for kids and teens on topics like commercial work, audition techniques and improvisation. Adult options include Meisner, gut reacting and the Elayne Stein method — as well as scene study, improv and vocal performance for singers.
Verve Studios, which describes itself as “a boutique music and acting studio,” has locations in Scottsdale and Phoenix. It offers classes and coaching for “serious actors and musicians” — whether child, teen or adult. Offerings include Shakespeare “boot camp,” accents and dialects training, a commercials intensive and more.
The Phoenix Film Institute offers on-camera acting classes for adults as well as kids and teens. There’s also private coaching, plus classes in voiceover work, audition techniques and performance skills.
Several Valley theater companies, including Phoenix Theatre and Childsplay in Tempe, offer camps and classes for children and teens — as do many of the Valley’s youth theaters, such as East Valley Children’s Theatre, Theater Works’ Youth Works and Valley Youth Theatre.
Performing arts venues like Mesa Arts Center offer a rich assortment of arts-related classes not only in acting, but in dance, music and various visual arts as well. City parks and recreation departments are another option, especially for families on a tight budget.
People have different philosophies about what makes for a well-trained actor. Looking at the backgrounds of today’s best known stage and screen professionals, you might suppose that just about any sort of life experience can bring something to the needed mix of instinct and talent.
My daughter Lizabeth is just beginning her journey as an actor, but already I can see that several things have influenced her work. Training with experienced, working theater professionals. Experiencing the live works of other actors and performers. Even people watching and reading galore.
Her education in the performance arts has been broad rather than narrow. She didn’t spend every waking hour in an acting class. Instead, she spent nearly a decade in dance and music training, primarily ballet and violin — something noted by an actor and director who wrote one of her recommendation letters for college.
Many of the skills she developed in acting classes were first honed in music lessons or dance classes. Movement. Pacing. Focus. Discipline. Taking direction. Working as a group.
So while I’m all for acting classes, I’m a big believer in creating a wider world for aspiring and developing actors to explore.
Note: Stay tuned for the September “performing arts” issue of Raising Arizona Kids magazine featuring performing arts-related stories and resources.
Coming up: Playing “I Spy” sculpture style, Remembering 9/11, Fun with film festivals, Resume tips for young actors, Teen tips on choosing a theater camp