Michael Harthorne
Teacher Jessica Brady applauds the three slithering snakes in front of her during Drama With Your Mama, Taproot Theatre's acting class for children ages 1 to 3.

Taproot creates troupe of tiny thespians

Taproot Theatre Education Director Sara Willy isn't just in charge of overseeing the Greenwood theater company's new Drama With Your Mama class, she's also a member.

Willy took her 2-year-old son to the first Drama With Your Mama class, an acting workshop for children ages 1 to 3, May 10, and even with a "drama person" for a mom, Willy didn't know how her son would react. Would he like it? Would he respond? Would he be shy and clingy?

"He went crazy," Willy said. "He loved it so much."

Taproot Theatre, located at 204 N. 85th St., offered classes for adults and children 4 and older, but nothing for what Willy calls "the little ones."

She said there are gymnastics classes, music classes and more for 1-year-olds to 3-year-olds, so why not a theater class?

She and Drama With Your Mama teacher Jessica Brady put together a curriculum that will get young children use their imagination and act without knowing that is what they are doing.

Willy said the little ones get a lot out of the class. Future actors are learning skills that will serve them in that pursuit, while other children learn how to use their voices, bodies and space while being aware of others, she said.

She said the goal is to build confidence in children. For example, when asked to show what a tree looks like, young children will often look to adults to show them first. Drama With Your Mama will give them the confidence and ability to make their own choices and show what a tree looks like to them, Willy said.

Drama With Your Mama classes include dramatic games, such as having children pretend to be rocks before turning into jumping monkeys or slithering snakes. It also includes freeze games, songs and stories to act out.

"It's really fun," said Brady, who also teaches classes for preschoolers. "I love this age group."

Brady said the biggest challenge with the curriculum is figuring out how to engage preverbal 1-year-olds. But, Willy said even they were getting involved during the first class.

Parents get something out of Drama With Your Mama (which doesn't exclude Papas), as well, Willy said. She said many parents have never had a drama class, and seeing what they are all about can be interesting for them. Also, pretending to be monkeys together helps parents connect with their children, she said.

"A lot of parents don't take time to be silly with their kids," Willy said.

The current run of Drama With Your Mama has classes from 10 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. every Monday through June 14 at Grace Fellowship Church, located at 410 N.W. 62nd St. For more information, contact Taproot Theatre at 206.781.9705 or www.taproottheatre.org.

We encourage our readers to comment. No registration is required. We ask that you keep your comments free of profanity and keep them civil. They are moderated and objectionable comments will be removed.