So You Wanna Be A STAR?
Written And Compiled by Michelle Matthews Calloway
With all this talk of movies and acting found in our Cover Story on page 17, we know many of our readers are probably looking at the work of modern day actors and thinking, “I could do that!”
Fortunately for us, not only is Southwest Louisiana the locale of choice for major film producers, Acadiana and the surrounding area is also home to a number of guilds, leagues, academies and theater groups providing wonderful opportunities for talented residents – both children and adults – to test their acting skills. We looked around to find the groups receiving the most buzz, many of which have kid-friendly offerings. Check this list for an acting group near you, join for yourself or register a child. Who knows? You or your child may become a headliner in the next big musical or play!
Unlimited Repertory Academy
810 Jefferson Street, Lafayette
Acting Unlimited, Inc is a non-profit theatre company working to bring quality productions to the Acadiana area and foster cooperation between companies. AUI’s mission is to produce quality work, help educate those interested in all aspects of theatre and foster cooperation between local theatre companies.
AUI and Acting Unlimited Repertory Academy strive to present quality work that gives young and less experienced actors as well as older and more experienced actors challenging and interesting work in a variety of styles. They also seek to teach those interested in technical skills. In these ways, AUI and AURA hope to create an enduring legacy of theatre craft and skill to enliven professional and community theatres alike.
AUI is accepting registrations now for its summer camp, which combines acting, costume design, set design, set construction, stage makeup and movement to give the participants a sense for the whole process of putting a show together. The production will be the play “Silverwing” based on a popular book series and written by the author of the book series. The production will be used to further literacy in Acadiana via partnerships with the public library system, local bookstores and other non-profits to draw attention to the importance of reading. The Camp will begin on July 14 and run until August 1. Call 484-0172 or visit the website at actingunlimited.org.
101 W. Vermilion Street
Acting Up (in Acadiana) is the resident theatre company at the Acadiana Center for the Arts in Lafayette. Founded in 2003 by Amy Waguespack, Acting Up creates ensemble driven work with the belief that every production is bigger than any individual artist involved and meant to connect with an audience.
Acting Up has performed almost exclusively in ‘non-theatre’ spaces and is in its ninth year. Now fully in residence at the Acadiana Center for the Arts, Acting Up houses, develops, and runs the Summer Youth Shakespeare Ensemble. Acting Up’s other program offerings include the Performing Arts Initiative (in association with the DANA Foundation), and the theatre portion of the GEAR UP program. Year round acting classes for students ages 7-adult, a weekly Company Class for the continued professional development of company members and a monthly Artists Salon are also offered.
Registration for The Summer Youth Shakespeare Ensemble’s 12th season has begun for a 15-day intensive performing arts camp running July 6-20 and 24-26 with performances of “Taming of the Shrew” on July 18, 19, 20, 25 & 26, 2014. All activities take place at the Acadiana Center for the Arts. For more information or to register by mail call 739-4273.
Lafayette’s Christian Youth Theater is an after school theater arts program training children in all aspects of the performing arts. CYT is dedicated to developing character in children through training in the arts and by producing wholesome family entertainment, all of which reflect Judeo-Christian values.
CYT offers a number of programs and activities for budding thespians, including after-school theater arts classes, musical theater productions, school days performances for school field trips, summer camps and touring groups. For more information, call 258-2349 or visit cytlafayette.org for the various schedules produced by CYT throughout the year.
Cité des Arts
109 Vine St., Lafayette
Cité des Arts is a recognized venue for arts and culture in downtown Lafayette. Innovative programming with an emphasis on education and the young has earned Cité des Arts the role of “grassroots community arts and education incubator.” Cité des Arts is a 501c3 Non-Profit serving as a Community Arts Incubator in Downtown Lafayette.
Cite des Arts announced its comprehensive 2014 “Performing Arts Camp” for June 9-27. The curriculum is for ages 8-11 & 12-14, and will include acting, music, dance and improvisation classes with “wild card” classes in writing, storytelling, lighting, stage makeup, costuming, props and set design, “green screen acting on film” and puppeteering. A 3-week camp will be capped off by live performance for friends and family on June 27. Call 291-1122 or visit the website for information and registration.
517 E. Main, Broussard
Firelight Performing Arts Academy serves as an ongoing educational tool designed to help children develop an abiding love of music and the theatre as well as encouraging them to develop their existing talents. The classes include instruction which focuses on acting, dancing, singing, makeup, costuming and stagecraft for performers ages 4-20. Under the supervision of artistic director Laura Blum the troupe performs 3 to 4 major shows per year. In addition to performing locally the troupe has performed at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida and New York City in an off-Broadway theatre. Each summer Firelight offers a variety of summer camps for students from age 4 through high school. Visit Firelight on Facebook or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
126 Iberia Street, New Iberia
Affectionately known as “Broadway On The Bayou,” IPAL is a community theater organization based in New Iberia and supported by a grant from the Louisiana State Arts Council, through the Louisiana Division of the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts and administered by the Acadiana Center for the Arts. All productions are staged at the historic Essanee Theater in beautiful downtown New Iberia. Season tickets are available beginning each year in June.
IPAL offers five major productions per season, a summer youth play or activity, and occasionally other special events. Each production requires actors, backstage crew, costumers, make-up artists, light and sound crew, set designers, carpenters, and more, so regardless of your niche or specialty, IPAL is the league for you. Volunteers and production sponsors are heartily welcomed. IPAL is a 501(c) non-profit organization and donations are tax-free. To volunteer, call 337-365-6114 or email email@example.com. Become a member by downloading a form at ipaltheater.com. Visit the site to learn more about auditions, current productions and ticket information.
Creswell Lane at Union St.,Opelousas
The city of Opelousas is home to The Opelousas Little Theater, one of the oldest community theaters in the area. OLT is housed in a 19th century Episcopal Church that is located in South City Park behind the Central Fire Station at the intersection of Creswell Lane and Union Street (I-49 exit 18). OLT began in 1939 and specializes in Broadway-style productions. The Opelousas Little Theatre is a non-profit operated by passionate volunteers who believe that community theatre is run by heart, blood, sweat and a strong sense of theatre family. The OLT provides a safe environment for the creative mind to bring art to the community.
OLT produces many productions throughout the year including comedies, musicals, mysteries and dramas. The volunteer actors, actresses, directors and production staff hails from throughout the United States and represent all walks of life. OLT is accepting registrations for its upcoming Summer Theatre Camp for ages 3-16 beginning June 3rd. Visit the website at opelousaslittletheater.com or call Dana Reed at 351-2591 or Erika Stanford at 692-5959 for details and information.
Wanderlust is a Gulf Coast based theatre company that offers several productions each season, while also serving the community through outreach and offering classes and workshops. Wanderlust participates in community and academic dialogues on both the local and national level regarding unique exploration of the arts, and often employs puppetry and non-traditional elements in their work.
Wanderlust has been teaching students of all ages and backgrounds for close to a decade. With over a thousand students served, they make teaching and outreach one of their highest priorities. Whether students are interested in becoming professional theatre artisans or are simply being instilled with an appreciation of the arts, Wanderlust firmly believes that study and outreach helps fulfill their mission of expanding imagination and breaking down the barriers of thought.
Though Wanderlust is not currently casting, they are ALWAYS interested in hearing from actors, puppeteers, designers and new media artists to consider for future projects. Send your resume to firstname.lastname@example.org. Wanderlust is committed to producing both new and established works, so they are interested in receiving a wide variety of scripts ranging from a three-minute puppet vignette to full-length plays. Scripts and contact information should be sent to the same email address. Visit the website and fill out the required form if you’d like to volunteer.