Theater skills get spotlight

A new after-school program called “Readers Theater” will begin next week for fifth- and sixth-graders at Truman Public School.

The class will help students learn and practice basic theater skills. It will be held from 3:15-4:15 p.m. April 9-12. The cost is $2 per student.

Sarah Garcia, language arts teacher for students in grades 7-12 at Truman, will lead the class. This is her first year teaching at Truman, where she assisted with the spring play several weeks ago. Prior to teaching at Truman, Garcia was the principal at St. James Lutheran School in Northrop.

Readers Theater is a style of theater in which the actors do not need to memorize their lines. They use only vocal expressions to help viewers understand the story, rather than visual storytelling with costumes, sets and movement. Students in the class will learn skills such as how to set their body and partake in a dialogue. They also will learn some theater basics such as “upstage” and “downstage.”

“This is a great way to introduce students to theater,” Garcia said.

She said students will learn how to take a simple picture book and adapt it for the stage.

“It’s less intimidating because you can have a script in front of you,” she said. “You could memorize your lines too, but you won’t have to.”

While there are just a few students signed up right now, Garcia will teach the class regardless of the number participating. She believes there is value in the class and Readers Theater allows a performance to be put on with just a few people.

The idea to hold a Readers Theater came when Garcia approached Truman Community Education and asked if it would be a desirable program. Truman Community Education has since been putting up flyers to promote the idea.

Theater is something Garcia has been passionate about and something she enjoys immensely. She said the school has been receptive to the idea of expanding the theater program.

“I would like to put on a performance on the last day of the program for close friends and family,” Garcia said, though she said if it does not work out, they may put on a performance at a later date.

To register for the class, email Courtney Studer at studerc@truman.k12.mn.us