by Richard Evans, Roane County News, September 11, 2019

Aspiring thespians in Roane County will soon be getting an opportunity to learn from professionals.

The Three Rivers Theatre Companyis partnering with Harriman Parks & Recreatation to bring acting classes to the Harriman Community Center.

The two classes will be for "Broadway Kids," ages 5-9, and "Intro to Acting," ages 10-18.

Classes for "Intro to Acting" will start Monday, Sept. 16 from 4:30-5:30 p.m. Cost is $240 per child, in four monthly payments of $60.

Classes for "Broadway Kids" will start saturday, Sept. 21, from 10-11 a.m. Cost is $90 per child, broken down into six weekly payments of $15 each.

Individual instruction is provided on an "as available" basis. Each session is generally one hour in length. The cost is $40 per hour.

"Intro to Acting will be discovering what acting is, simply, it's pretending," said Martha Wilkinson, owner/managing artistic director of Three Rivers Theatre Company.

"I'll talk to htem about developing their character. I'll have them use their imagination. What does that character look like? What kind of clothes does he wear? What does he walk like? How does he talk? That kind of thing," she said.

After characters are developed, Wilkinson said they would start acting scenes using improvisation.

"Improv is the best way to start with kids to kind of shake the sillies from them," she said.

The class will last 16 weeks but will not culminate in a show.

"We'll work on those characters and scenese and with those charactrs so parents can come and see what they've been doing," Wilkinson said.

"It will be a showcase," said Donnie Hall,k owner and producer of Center Field Productions LLC.

Wilkinson said she is hopeful they have the showcases at the Princess Theatre but if that is not possible, they will be done at the community center.

She said students who go through the class will have the opportunity to be part of a local theatre group. It is a training ground in that they get to meet us, we get to meet them and hone their talents. If thye want to be part of shows to come up, they'll audition forthose shows and will certainly be considered like anyone else.

"We'll be happy to have them be a part of everything," Wilkinson said.

"Essentially what Three Rivers is, is a community theatre. We've got our first show, we've had auditions for the and cast people from three counties in the show, mostly local people," said Hall.

The first play is an original work called "And the Moon Stayed," and will be performed Oct. 11, 12 and 13 at the Princess Theatre.

Hall described it as an Appalachine love story based on Shakespeare's "Winter's Tale."

On Oct. 26, the theatre company will perform a recreatioin of the radio broadcast of the Orson Welles classic, "War of the Worlds," complete with manufactured sound effects.

In December, the theatre will be performing, "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever," at the O'Brien Theatre at Roane State Community College.

Hall said the company is planning seven shows for 2020 and a children's series of five shows.

"Hopefully, most of them will be at the Princess, we want to make that our home base," Hall said.

Students will develop their craft in an inspirational, energetic, fun, and supportive environment.

The class encourages studnets to risk, explore, create, and to believe in the powers of their powers of their creativity.

Class size is limited in order to give the students the individual attention they require.

Three Rivers Theatre Company is also planning a class called "Acting for the Camera" for ages 11-18/adult to be held at some point in the near future.

That class will be geared to helping acting students better understand the nuances of acting in front of a camera, Hall said.