Area children learn a little about acting and life

Published 12:54 am Friday, June 22, 2007

NATCHEZ — Give them 10 years and these kids may just be lighting up Broadway, or at least a few TV commercials.

The Boys & Girls Club is hosting their second annual production titled, “Channel Surfing; A Variety Show.” Jennifer Ogden, Hollywood producer and coordinator of the camp, has 39 actors, ranging from age 8-12, that will take the stage on Friday at 5:30.

“Being able to host this program has been a real honor for me,” Ogden said.

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Despite it being the second year, the program boasts a qualified staff and more than enough participants, including a costume designer and vocal coaches. Last year 30 children registered and it was a week long program, this year 60 children registered and the program was lengthened by another week.

“Next year we will probably have to hold a real audition because of the increase of registered children,” camp co-coordinator Gina Martin said.

Each day, the kids begin with a yoga inspired meditation period. During that time Ogden encourages the children to channel a certain thing, such as an animal. This exercise, as well as others, has helped the children learn to develop characters. They have also participated in vocal exercises and games to hone in on specific skills. Ogden has put a new spin on the game “freeze tag” in order to teach improvisation, character development, diction, projection and focus.

“It is so interesting to see what the kids can express and how they express it,” Martin said.

The children showcased so many talents, the play will be a variety show. The production will include juggling, step dancing and lip synching. This wide variety has gotten some participants interested in the field.

“I want to star in action movies,” participant Alec Chandler said.

Most of the participants have had little or no serious acting experience.

“It is fun to see the kids emerge from their shells, counselor Drew David said. “It’s a great environment for them to express themselves.” David said.

The program has received support from the community, especially the Natchez Opera and Music Festival, Desiree Smith, of local radio station 107 The River, and Copiah-Lincoln Community College.

“The best Hollywood set does not compare to what I felt doing this,” Ogden said.