Theater for teens

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The Edge Theatre is looking to foster the next generation of theater lovers and is getting started with its TeenEdge playwriting program.

Running from June 28 through July 11, the program will introduce teens to elements of dramatic writing.

“We wanted to focus on teenagers because we believe they can really learn a lot from the kind of work we do here,” said Rick Yaconis, executive producer and artistic director of The Edge.

The class will be taught by actor Chuck Novatka, who taught a similar class in New York City. Yaconis said he found Novatka’s curriculum really exciting, which is why he wanted him to teach the class.

“I want to give students a voice in a place where they feel safe to share that voice,” Novatka said. “It’s geared to all sorts of personalities and skill levels.”

Using a curriculum inspired by Aristotle’s “Poetics,” Novatka will guide students through a series of written and improvisational exercises to develop ideas, characters, themes and dialogue.

At the end of the class, all the students will have written a 7-to-10 page, two-character play, and all the plays will be professionally staged at the Edge, according to Novatka. The plays will produced and acted by the students in the class, giving them a taste of what it’s like to put a play on as well.

“It’s not just writing, it’s also acting and learning what’s going on behind the scenes,” he said. “With all these areas, they’ll get to learn about ideas like themes and conflicts.”

Novatka said that TeenEdge presents a unique chance to study the theater arts that many don’t get until college.

For Yaconis and The Edge, this is just the start.

“If this is successful, we’d like to add other classes like acting, directing and stage design,” he said. “We have always wanted to do education, and this is a great way to get started.”

For more information on TeenEdge and The Edge, visit www.theeproject.com.

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