Carrigan drama program bolsters students’ stage skills
Carrigan drama program bolsters students’ stage skills
Posted on 07/11/2014
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WEST HAVEN, July 11, 2014 — The Carrigan Summer Theater Program wrapped up with a special showcase July 11 after three weeks of practice in script-writing, improvisation, character roles, monologues and soliloquies, vocal projection, and other stage skills.

Around 50 Carrigan Intermediate School students who will be entering sixth-grade in the fall participated in the free drama workshops and special showcase run by Carrigan teachers Lenny Adams, Donna Pitts and Anne-Marie LaMotta. This is the second summer the program has been in operation.

“They love it,” LaMotta, who teaches music and oversees Carrigan’s school plays, said of this summer’s budding actors. “Some kids are so shy, but they really want to do it, and by the time they leave, their confidence level has really grown. And they’ve been on stage now, so talking in class discussions will be no big deal.”

Three of last year’s theater students who will attend Bailey Middle School in the fall loved the program so much that they came back this year as “interns,” assisting with scripts, mentoring younger students, setting up the stage, and managing behind-the-curtain operations. LaMotta, who said Superintendent of Schools Neil C. Cavallaro’s and Assistant Superintendent Anne Druzolowski’s support and enthusiasm for the program were instrumental in getting it off the ground, hopes to grow the intern aspect of the initiative each year and then expand the number of sixth-graders who can participate as student-actors.

LaMotta said the success of the school-year theater program spurred the idea for the summer workshops, which are paid for with grant funds and run for three hours per weekday over the three-week period. Adams, who also works with kids in the Carrigan Drama Club, wrote pieces of the script last summer and updated them this year with a new list of theater vocabulary and comedic bits.

The three teachers agreed it’s a nice change to see students outside of the academic realm and that there was less pressure during lessons and rehearsals because they weren’t practicing for a lengthy formal show.

“I liked seeing their growth from beginning to end,” said Pitts, who was involved with theater and music when she was in high school and college.

The students’ showcase featured a musical number, short skits—including a spoof on the “America’s Got Talent” TV show—and even some lessons for the audience in performance techniques.

“It’s amazing how much they get accomplished in three weeks,” LaMotta added.

Contact: Communications Director Susan Misur, 203-937-4300 X7114;