'Kids on Stage' returns to Village Theatre Guild

Village Theatre Guild in Glen Ellyn turns the spotlight back on the next generation of actors with the return of its long-running program "Kids on Stage" this summer.

Closed due to COVID for the past couple of years, VTG has brought back a variety of programs for students interested in acting.

"Kids on Stage" provides acting instruction for students from first grade (entering in the fall) all the way through high school. These programs are part of Village Theatre Guild's nonprofit organization's mission to provide affordable educational opportunities to the community.

Judy Laughlin of Wheaton is one of the instructors of "Kids on Stage." She holds a B.A. in theater from Rockford College and has been acting for over a decade at a variety of Chicago area theaters. Backstage, she has been a stage manager, a lighting designer, a costumer, a director, and a stagehand. She has directed full-scale children's productions of "Robin Hood," "Treasure Island," and "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe." She has been involved with the "Kids on Stage" program for several years.

Laughlin will be teaching Creative Dramatics, which allows students from first to sixth grade to be part of a process of creating and performing a children's production. This program runs for eight weeks, June 18-Aug. 6. Students in first through third grade will meet Saturdays from 10 to 11:15 a.m.

Fourth to sixth graders will meet Saturdays from 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. The cost of this program is $50 per student.

Debbie Ruzicka of Palatine offers two programs for students in middle school and high school. Ruzicka has taught speech and acting as a coach of the nationally recognized Buffalo Grove High School Speech team for 12 years. She has also been a professional actress off and on for more than 30 years, with more than 60 plays, movies, and commercials on her resume. She is a graduate of the Second City Conservatory.

Theatre Games, Improv, and the Young Actor helps young performers to have more awareness of how all their senses and imagination can be used in creating characters and building scenes. They will also explore the value of teamwork and supporting their fellow actors to make everyone look better on stage.

This class is suitable for beginners as well as more advanced students, as one learns from the other. This seven-week course runs from June 15 until Aug. 3. It will meet Wednesdays from 6:30-7:30 p.m. The cost of this program is $50 per student.

Scene Study is for students in middle and high school who want to work on written scenes and/or monologues. They may come in with a theatrical piece in mind, or choose from scenes and monologues provided by the instructor. Scenes are age appropriate and will be tailored to the experience level of the student. This seven-week course runs from June 15 until Aug. 3. It will meet Wednesdays from 7:30 to 8:45 p.m. Cost of this program is $50 per student.

There is an orientation for all programs at 10 a.m. Saturday, June 11, at Village Theatre Guild, 2S720 S. Park Blvd. (near northwest corner of Butterfield Road and Park Boulevard) in Glen Ellyn. Students who participate in "Kids on Stage" must provide proof of COVID vaccination. Masks are optional during the class sessions. Laughlin and Ruzicka have both been vaccinated.

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