The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Local News

August 30, 2013

Shows over, but TWV’s work continues

— The stage is quiet right now. Coalwood and Munchkinland are disassembled and packed away. Dorothy’s shoes and Devil Anse’s rifle have been put away safely in storage. With the exception of tonight’s fundraising concert by Phil Dirt and the Dozers, and continuing tech work to clear away miles of cable and other equipment, our summer season at Cliffside Amphitheatre is over.  

Does that mean TWV takes a long winter’s nap? Not hardly. Next week, not only do rehearsals for our Educational Touring Company begin, but so do classes at the Professional Training Academy (PTA).

The PTA was founded in 1998, with a mission to “develop human potential in people of all ages, backgrounds and experience levels through performing arts training and performing opportunities. To build self-esteem in providing an atmosphere where students can positively express themselves in an accepting environment. Theater promotes life skills, physical and perceptual abilities, cooperation, concentration, problem solving and self-esteem.

Classes are taught by TWV professionals, usually members of the Educational Touring Company, and this semester include Musical Theatre, Acting I, Intermediate and Advanced Acting, Stage Make-up, and the Professional Youth Troupe.

Terry L. Evans is a returning instructor this fall and says the teachers enjoy the classes as much as the students.

“I absolutely love teaching in the academy,“ he says. “The students are all extremely talented, bring lots of energy and are always willing to learn. The kids have an awesome advantage with having something like the academy available to them.”

Many students who attend the PTA get roles in the summer productions. Twin brothers James and Jacob Cline, along with their older sister Sarah, attended the PTA and went on to perform in “The Wizard of Oz.”

According to Jacob, “I really love PTA classes. They have helped me with my singing and acting, but my favorite part is all my friends. I love to make people laugh. TWV encourages me to try new things and to do my best,” he says.

His brother agrees. James adds, “I have made so many friends while taking PTA classes. The best part of TWV is that they become friends.”

Their mother, Ruth Bolon Cline, says her children have learned skills that are not only valuable in theater, but in other aspects of life.

“They have learned to listen, to be patient and that they have to work by the rules. They use those skills every day. They are able to talk to just about anyone, and they are not shy anymore.”

“I wish I had had something like it when I was a kid. I would have been much more prepared for college,” says Evans.

 But he is happy to be in the teaching role now. And he finds himself learning, as well.

“I do become a better performer by teaching them. By sharing my knowledge of acting, I am reinforcing all the things I’ve learned throughout the years. Also their enthusiasm and the pure joy they get from doing what they love encourages me to keep pursuing this as a career.”

Who knows — is a future Devil Anse enrolled in the PTA? Or the next Dorothy or Belle? We can only hope.

— Cindy Worley is secretary of the Board of Directors and marketing representative for Theatre West Virginia.

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