Is There a Budding Actor in the Family? Martin’s Readers’ Theater Sign-up Is Now.

in Community,General,What's Going On

Kids Acting Out Summer Session Stars with    Teresa Collard and Sabrina Exum

Kids Acting Out -----Summer Session Stars with Teresa Collard and Sabrina Exum

“If you are a dreamer, come in.  If you are a wisher, a liar, a hoper, a pray-er, a magic-bean buyer…”* and so the debut readers’ theater play began with an opening quote from Shel Silverstein.  After five weeks of dedicated rehearsals, third, fourth and fifth-grade actors presented their work to guests gathered in Weldon Library’s story hour room this summer.

As coordinator of the program, I expected a successful session due to the tremendous talent of teachers, kids and volunteers involved.  What wasn’t anticipated was the genuine joy I experienced from watching these little ones bloom and grow into their characters under the tutelage of Performance Director Dr. Teresa Collard.  Laughter and energy flowed between teacher and students.   Warm-up exercises, rehearsals and knock-knock joke-filled snack times were expertly crafted into two-hour sessions that nurtured and promoted self-expression and self-confidence.

Here’s the scoop for this year’s program:

Kids Acting Out: An Introduction to Readers’ Theater is hosted by the Weakley County Arts & Humanities Council and the Weldon Public Library in Martin.

Register now: There are still openings now in the fall session, but class size is limited.  Sessions are for third, fourth and fifth grade students and will be from 3 until 5 p.m. this Thursday, Nov. 12, continue on Nov. 19 and Dec. 3 with a final rehearsal and performance on Dec. 10.  Register with Sabrina Exum at 587-3148 at Weldon Library or email me at:

Here’s a little history: The summer pilot project received enough great feedback that the Arts & Humanities Council applied for grant support to offer a 2009-2010 program with two school-year sessions and a 2010 summer session.  Now, with funding under an agreement with the Tennessee Arts Commission in cooperation with the Northwest TN Development District and from generous support from volunteers, our program is in full swing.

What is readers’ theater? Readers’ theater involves written works which are taken and presented in a dramatic presentation in script form.  With presentations given in a classroom setting, the readers get to hold their scripts.  There is also no theater experience or memorization required.  What is necessary though, according to Collard, is a willingness to learn and to express yourself.

Readers’ theater is used both in an entertainment and training environment.  Advocates of readers’ theater for children claim that the exercise promotes:  group cooperation and self-expression, creativity,  language appreciation and reading skills.

Who is teaching? Collard is the coordinator of women’s studies and a faculty member in the department of communications at UTM.  She has directed readers’ theater on a college level and was instrumental in making this program happen.   Sabrina Exum is the children’s and youth services librarian at Weldon Library and wonderful at volunteering her time in registration and support for the program.  A host of other volunteers are also helping to make this program successful including two local theater actors making guest appearances to provide additional acting instruction and insight.

As a parent, I loved the opportunity to enroll my little one in a program that promoted reading, creativity and fun.   If you have a child who is interested in reading and theater, don’t let this program slip by!



*“If you are a dreamer,come in. If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar, a hoper, a prayer,

a magic-bean-buyer. If you’re a pretender, come sit by my fire, for we have some

flax-golden tales to spin. Come in! Come in!”

–Shel Silverstein, 1930-1999.  American poet, cartoonist and composer best known

in children’s literature for his poetry.

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