Families at the Bernice Civic Center were given a special treat last Monday, when Drama Warehouse participants performed creative fairy tales under the direction of Allie Bennet. Drama Warehouse is an arts education program that creatively pairs theatre fundamentals and literacy. NCLAC holds the workshop annually in one of its four-parish service area locations. This year for the first time, NCLAC and the Northeast LA Adult and Family Literacy Consortium (NELAFLC) joined forces to hold the workshop in Bernice. Union Parish has a 40% dropout rate, so this program is aimed at breaking the dropout cycle through arts in education. The on-site coordinator for the workshop was NELAFLC's Kay Brown.
Allie Bennet, actress and owner of Stitchville in Ruston, worked with children and parents for 5 weeks, teaching theatre basics, from audition to performance. Involving parents in the program made learning a family affair, with homework assignments that could be discussed at the dinner table. Each week, participants explored various aspects of fairy tales and fables, from reading, writing, illustrating, re-interpreting and finally to expressing themselves in character on stage. The theatre exercises employed by Bennet boosted confidence, promoted literacy and increased communication for the Drama Warehouse members. The final performance gave the participants a chance to perform their new skills on stage for an audience: from scripts and blocking to costumes and cues. After the performance there was a celebration with Raising Cane's, thoughtfully donated by NCLAC Board Member Josh Shirley.
The Drama Warehouse workshop was made possible by generous donations such as these, and through the "Move Up, Not Out" campaign. Financial support was given by: Muddyfingers Pottery, ETC Elizabeth A. English John A. O'Neal Catherine & Winston McVea John & Nancy Wallace KLS Physics Group Johnny Maxwell John & Sallie Emory Mary Louise Carter Hollis Downs Jane N. Atchison Davison Transport Raising Cane's Margaret Ann James Without our tireless supporters, the program would not have been possible. Thank you all so very much! The exposure to the arts offered by this workshop will perhaps be the spark to ignite a love of learning and creative thinking.