Backstage Workshop

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Kearney, Nebraska                                                            July 31 and August 1, 2015

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Crane River Theater was created to serve Central Nebraska and surrounding areas as a professional theater production company providing a home for the presentation, education and promotion of the arts.  We provide the unique quality of using professionals from across the country and mixing them with area artists to create exciting and innovative productions.  We have already had the honor of working with actors, directors and designers from twenty-six states, and are excited to share their talents with all of Nebraska.   


Backstage with Crane River Theater is an educational opportunity created to provide opportunities for high school students across the state to receive a backstage look at a professional production and take part in a series of theatrical workshops.  The participating production for 2014 will be Footloose.  Available workshops will range from acting, musical theater and dance to video production and stage combat.  We also offer workshops that focus on the technical side of theater which will include make up for the actor, playwriting and scene painting techniques.  It is sure to be an invaluable experience for any student with an interest in the arts.      


Itinerary for Backstage 2015

Friday, July 31, 2015

             4:00pm       Meet and Greet with Crane River Theater Company at the Merryman Performing Arts Center
  4:30pm Select company members share their introductory auditions as we take a look inside the casting process of Crane River Theater
  5:00pm      Break      
  7:00pm      Attend the production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
  9:30pm      Post Show Party catered by Old Chicago with the Cast and Crew

Saturday, August 1, 2015

             8:30am      Welcoming at Kearney High School Auditorium
             9:00am Workshop Session 1 and Acting Scholarship Auditions
             10:30am Workshop Session 2 and Musical Theater Scholarship Auditions  
             12:00pm Lunch (Provided)
             12:30pm Workshop Session 3 and Directing/Design Scholarship Interviews
             2:00pm Workshop Session 4
             3:30pm Awards, Scholarship Announcements and Backstage Send Off





Creating the Character
Taught by Patsy Koch Johns, Actress and Theater Director

Explore the magic of theater through acting. This popular workshop will give participants a chance to get on their feet and develop characters. You will use interactive techniques to explore goals, obstacles and tactics as they apply to the world of characterization.


Combat for the Stage
Taught by Harris Smith, Associate Professor of Acting at UNL

Want to know the basics of how to make a fight look real on stage? Students will learn how to successfully execute an unarmed fight with slaps, punches, kicks and more. Gain knowledge of how to trust your partner and fight safely, while incorporating motivation and characterization.  Time permitting, students will also be introduced into basic sword fighting skills.


Dance to the Beat
Taught by Dayna DeFilippis, Professor and Choreographer at UNK

This movement based workshop will focus on a basic dance warm up and combination in the style of Musical Theater. Traditional musical theater style jazz steps and rhythms will be explored while technical tips and tricks are discussed throughout the session. Please come dressed to move with tennis shoes or other supportive footwear. Previous dance training is not required.


Accents and Dialects
Taught by the Actors of Crane River Theater

Jump on a flight around the world as we explore the entertaining world of accents. Through the use of the international phonetic alphabet, participants will learn the basic tricks of the trade to create convincing British, French and Southern dialects. You will even have a chance to bring these characters to life with comedic scenes incorporating the accents.


Acting is Reacting
Taught by the Actors of Crane River Theater

Sometimes the simplest concept is the most difficult to comprehend. This workshop delves into the most fundamental acting techniques: listening, responding, and staying present in the moment. Participants will explore relationships through basic scene study.


Music Video Masters
Taught by Matt Bross, Filmmaker and Videographer

If you’ve ever wanted to be a YouTube sensation, this two-hour workshop is the perfect opportunity for you! Participants will immerse themselves in the music video production process. You will develop critical skills by learning camera techniques, lighting, editing and how to create easy, yet stunning, visual effects. All you need is an imagination and eagerness to learn.

*Please note this workshop will account for two sessions.


Improv Comedy
Taught by the Kyle Kuypers, Professional Actor

Who doesn’t love to laugh?  In this workshop, we will focus on the core skills of improv comedy in a fun and sociable way. You’ll learn a number of games you can play just about anywhere as you develop scenes and create characters within seconds. We will spontaneously create theater through listening rather than thinking, from allowing rather than forcing, and from being fully present in the moment.


The Physical Actor
Taught by Joel Egger, Professional Actor and Director

Explore the connections between motion and emotion set to music, while applying fundamental concepts of physicalizing a character. This workshop will allow young performers to find their sense of “neutral” and discover how stillness is the foundation of truthful interaction on stage.


Musical Masterclass
Taught by a Panel of Musical Theater Educators

An advanced exploration of the musical theater voice and how to knowledgeably approach the music and lyrics of any song both as an actor and musician. Emphasis will be placed on producing a healthy sound with dynamics that have the emotional capability to move audiences. It is requested that every participant bring a prepared musical selection that will be worked during the session. Sessions will be limited as to allow all participants ample time to work with the panel.


There Will Be Blood
Taught by Brenna Leigh, Make-Up Designer

This workshop is dedicated to the illusion of special effects as created by makeup for the stage.  We will focus on the proper use and application of facial prosthetics, latex, and other make-up essentials necessary to create awesome facial creations. Step-by-step instructions will guide you toward developing your own design. An emphasis on the proper way to apply and remove make-up will be part of this workshop.


The Ultimate Design Workshop
Taught by the Designers of Crane River Theater

Anyone with an interest in designing for the theater will benefit from this workshop. Our team of professional designers will share with participants the essential elements of scenic, lighting and costume design. They will walk you through a step by step process of how to draft the set for your next production, light the stage in a way that conveys atmosphere and costume your actors in a way that compliments the overall vision of the show.


The Director’s Chair
Taught by Steve Barth, Artistic Director of Crane River Theater

A good director must always tell a story. This workshop will empower the director with the tools to effectively communicate with actors and designers to create a unified vision that will translate the script to the stage. The rehearsal process is all about timing. It is important to allow time for creation and development, but the director must then focus that energy into a centralized concept that will allow the story to come to life. We will talk about various exercises that will foster character development and allow your actors to find the action behind the dialogue.

*Faculty members and student directors are encouraged to take part.




School Registration 2015 Form


Individual Registration 2015 Form


Itinerary and Workshops 


Itinerary and Workshops 

Crane River Theater

April 2015

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