By Cherie Messore

Second Generation Theatre Company Announces Theater Workshops and Classes

Second Generation Theatre Company is preparing to move into the former Shea’s Seneca Theatre on Seneca Street in South Buffalo next year, and is taking a year off from mounting a full production this season.

That doesn’t mean this popular and acclaimed company is out of commission. Among its between-season offerings is a series of theatre classes for aspiring actors from age seven to 17. “This has always been a dream of ours,” says artistic director Kelly Copps,” but as a company in residence, it didn’t make sense to rent additional space for classes. We have a wonderful partnership with Kenmore Presbyterian Church (2771 Delaware Ave., Kenmore) and they have graciously opened their doors to us.”

Engaging tomorrow’s actors and audience today is important on several levels. Copps says, “Getting kids involved in the arts outside of school is an amazing way to foster creativity and self-confidence. These classes are a wonderful way to cultivate understanding for and appreciation of the arts at an early age. And they’re fun!”

The next round of classes begin December 5: the first session began in September and will end November 7. In 2018, sessions run February 20-April 14 and April 17-June 8. Each eight week session is $125 per student, with multiple session and family member discounts, too.

Theatre Games (Tuesday, 5pm-6:00pm) is the introductory course, geared to the youngest students, aged seven to 11. Games and activities on stage help kids gain confidence and comfort in speaking in public, develop team building, and have the experience of being on stage.

“We have a wonderful group,” says Copps, “especially for Musical Theatre,” (Thursday, 4pm-5pm), for kids ages twelve to seventeen. “We have six young ladies with varying experience levels. Instructor Bobby Cooke always finds a way to make everyone feel excited and included.”

Acting on Stage (Tuesday, 4pm-5pm) is the more advanced class where students learn monologues and run through scenes with professional actors from the region.

There’s also a Theatre Workshop held on Saturdays from 9am to 11am, where theatre professionals teach a topic each week, from physical comedy, stage combat, costume design, playwriting, and stage make-up. These classes are specially priced and packaged: each class is $15 when students purchase a four or eight workshop punch card that can be used throughout the year. Acknowledging that every theatre lover isn’t meant to be in the spotlight, Copps says, “Our Saturday morning workshops are aimed at offering these same opportunities to students who might not be interested in being on the stage, but still want to be a part of theatre. Classes like playwriting, costume design, and set design are great ways to make sure everyone is included.”

Finally, all ages (parent and grandparents, too!) are welcomed to join SGT Singers (Thursdays, 5pm-6:00pm) to learn proper vocal technique, storytelling through song, and how to blend as a group.

Besides Cooke, the regular faculty includes Arianne Davidow, Amy Jakiel, and Melissa Levin. Copps says, “Most of our other instructors are working actors and directors and choreographers in Buffalo. I love this because it means they’re really working in the field they’re teaching about.”

These classes are only the beginning for Second Generation’s commitment to preparing the next generation of theatre professionals. Copps says, “Once we have our own classroom space, our goal is to constantly fill it with arts education opportunities for the entire community. That includes students with special needs. Our hope is to roll out a full inclusion program once we get into our new home. Theatre is for everyone and we want our classes to reflect that.”

Registration is required for each session. For more information, call 508-SGT0, or email secondgenerationtheatre@gmail.com.

Promotional Consideration Paid For By The Theatre Alliance Of Buffalo.