Row i theatre launches drama clubs for young and old

By Allan Bradbury
Staff Writer

Springboarding off of its resoundingly successful musical, “The Drowsy Chaperone,” Row i Theatre company is launching weekly drama groups for both kids and adults starting in January.

Trevor Barker is the director of Row i and will be hosting performing arts courses in January. One class is for students in grades six to eight and another is for adults 18 and over. Barker says aside from learning the different aspects of performing, many of the skills are applicable outside the theatre.

“Drama is a wonderful artform where you get to gain self-confidence, practice empathy, explore your imagination, and create in a collaborative way,” Barker said. “I can only speak from my own experiences, and it’s helped me flourish, and make me who I am today. I was a quiet kid and didn’t seem to find myself until I started performing in musicals. Also, jumping into character is one of my favourite things to do. It allows you to see the world from someone else’s perspective. That reason alone is why everyone would benefit from taking a drama class.”

Row i encourages anyone to join or sign their kids up for the program whether you or your child have been involved in theatre before or are coming into it completely new.

Barker also says that he wants to share his passion for acting with others.

“I love acting and thought the classes would be fun! It’s always fun sharing your passion with others,” he said. “Helping people discover and nourish their talents, or maybe discovering a lifelong passion in the performing arts! We have so much talent here. Let’s continue to give those individuals opportunities through live shows and classes.”

Another reason for hosting the classes is to support the endeavours of Row i.

“Another reason [to start classes] is because shows are massively expensive, and we need more money to produce the next show,” Barker said. “I also like the idea of continually improving the performing arts culture in Fort Frances.”

In the classes people can expect to pick up the basics of acting and theatre.

“People can expect to learn basics in drama, improv, and theatre movement. We’ll be exploring character through storytelling and scene work,” Barker said. We’ll learn the fundamental building blocks of improv through ‘yes, and…’ exercises. We’ll discuss how to move in character, with a focus on showmanship, character and facial expressions. Our main goal is to have fun and learn at the same time.”

Both programs will run on Tuesdays at the Fort Frances High School Drama room with the youth running from 4-5 p.m. and the adult class running from 6:30-8 p.m. The classes run for 10 weeks from Jan. 3 to March 21 with no classes on Jan. 31 and March 14. The youth class costs $195 for the whole thing while the adult class is $135. With payment plans available for both.

While Row I’s first show was a musical, the classes won’t have singing content Barker says.

“These programs will be mostly based in acting, however, the movement portion of the kids class will have some musical theatre dance involved,” he said. “No singing this time. The lines between acting and musical theatre are very blurred for me. My way into acting was through musical theatre, and then I branched out from there with my need to be a ‘triple threat.’”

Barker wants people to know that everyone is welcome in the classes no matter the skill level.

“I want someone who has never been in a drama class to come and feel comfortable to ‘jump in’ to the exercises,” Barker said. “I know many people have been wanting to do things like this, and I hope they take the leap. Join us and learn some new skills.”

For more information email or check out their Facebook page Row i Theatre.