Honors Capstone Project
Date of Submission
Visual and Performing Arts
Capstone Prize Winner
Won Capstone Funding
Acting | Fine Arts | Theatre and Performance Studies
The main concept of this project was the transference of what I’ve learned at Syracuse University about drama and about myself to a group of young theatre students, for some of whom this was their first encounter with the theatrical process of putting on a play. Drama has played such an influential role in my life, giving me more confidence, a direction to head towards, and goals towards which I strive. I wanted to instill that same sense of self-worth in each of the students I worked with, giving them the tools necessary to explore a piece of theatre and the freedom to create imaginatively within the boundaries of the play. I don’t expect every student I taught to go into acting professionally; that was not at all a goal of this program. Theatre skills are applicable in every area of the professional world, from a heightened sense of self-confidence that helps you present your ideas at a meeting to the ability to think creatively and become a problem solver of tomorrow. Theatre skills are life skills.
This program took the framework of other children’s theatre classes that I’ve been privileged to work with and built upon them to emphasize the value of process-based theatre, while still catering to the desire of the community for a final product. I re-configured exercises that I had learned in theatre classes of my own, both at Syracuse and elsewhere, for the unique group of students enrolled in this particular program. I sought to challenge students without frustrating them and always maintain a safe, creative, and fun atmosphere in which we played.
Equally as important as the creative processes within the program were the tasks required of me as a producer. Before I even met the students I had to do work in the areas of advertising, finance, and organization. The two weeks I spent working with the kids was the culmination of several months of prep work, both in producing and directing roles.
The program itinerary balanced rehearsal for the show with exercises taught to enhance character development and acting technique.
The program succeeded in introducing children to theatre within a non-threatening atmosphere that emphasized the importance of an ensemble and encouraged creativity. The actors were proud of what they performed and parents and others were impressed with how much we accomplished in such a short period of time. I valued the production that they presented but even more so, I valued the work that went into it. The transformations I witnessed—in terms of exploring creatively, building an ensemble, and emerging as more confident young people—are what I treasure most about this experience.
Borgwardt, Laura, "Inspiring Creativity and Self-Confidence: The Power of Theatre in a Child’s Life" (2010). Syracuse University Honors Program Capstone Projects. 324.
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