January 16, 2016 by morningcamequickly
Making the decision of who to cast is a tough job. A lot of times you are going to be faced with a situation where there are several people who could be good for a part or are almost there. How can you encourage them? We developed the ACT Program to help develop talent for future productions.
The ACT Program stands for Acting, Coaching, and Training Program. Right now, I have a very young cast spanning grades 4-12 with most students in 9th grade or below. In fact, the two leads are 9th graders. As a teacher, it is my responsibility to plan for the future and this program allows me to do that. If I only work with the older students I am not preparing younger students for when they are ready for bigger roles.
This year, I assigned each main role an ACT Program participant. The person in the ACT Program is expected to learn their part for the show, plus the role they are in training for. Yes, it is kind of like an understudy, but it is more than that too. Here are 5 things the ACT Program can do to build your future.
- It gives hope. For the aspiring actor, getting an ACT role means that the production team sees them as a potential lead some time in the future if they work hard and practice.
- They fill in when someone is out. It is inevitable that people will miss practice. Having the ACT Program member there means they can fill in. They learn what the person is to do, read lines, and get coaching from the staff. It’s more than just a stand in, it’s a learning opportunity. This frees you up to keep on teaching instead of having to fill in parts.
- It grows skills. Our hope is that the ACT Program member comes to practice with an open mind and is ready to watch as we work with the lead. If a student follows closely, they can pick up on skills which they can use in the future.
- If something would happen you have a back up. We always hope the lead won’t lose their voice or something, but it could happen. If you don’t have someone who has learned their part, what will you do? While the ACT Program member might not exactly fit the part, they have hopefully worked hard learning the role and can fill in in a pinch.
- It’s a leadership opportunity for the leads. Use the ACT Program as a mentoring opportunity not just for the ACT person but also for the lead. They can help develop and train someone else too.
Using the ACT Program has already helped out my production this year. In a few more weeks when practices get more intense, I expect that my ACT members will be learning right alongside the lead and getting the acting, coaching, and training from the musical, drama, and choreographer directors just like the leads. Building for the future now means that when the future is here you have students who are ready. Good luck!