Work through the workshop

COSTA MESA — Starting July 26, kids from around Orange County will have the opportunity to sharpen their acting chops through South Coast Repertory's Summer Acting Workshop.

The two-week program offered by the acclaimed Costa Mesa theater production company is an introduction to acting for students in third- through 12th-grades. Students can learn the basics of the craft and have valuable encounters with industry professionals.

"It teaches you so much about the industry," said Nicholas Huntley, a 14-year-old actor who got his start in the workshop. "It's more than just acting."

The oldest of three acting brothers, Nicholas recounted a day when a producer came in and taught the group how to manage a production.

"All the teachers acted in a play and we had to produce it," he said.

The producer broke the students into groups, where they had to make important decisions regarding lighting, props, music and direction, and they had to lead their teachers in a short production.

Nicholas and his brothers, Christopher, 12, and Mitchell, 9, are big advocates of the program and credit their acting success to their first workshop.

Christopher, who is acting in SCR's summer production of "Cinderella" with his brothers, just got an agent and said the program "can lead on to a lot of things." Before the workshop, the boys had never set foot on stage. Now Christopher and Nicholas are getting ready to start at the Orange County High School of the Arts in the fall. Christopher will be studying music and theater, while Nicholas will have a focus on filmmaking.

Mitchell is well on his way to following his brother's footsteps, but for now he's just enjoying the ride.

"It was a great experience to learn something new, since this is my first time acting," he said. "I thought it might be really great, and it was."

The students choose from morning or afternoon sessions. At the end of each session they can perform for family and friends on one of the stages.

The aspiring actors will be taught by a faculty of professional instructors, who will coach them on the fundamentals of voice, movement, creative play-making and character development. After the workshop series is over, students can sign up for the year-round Theatre Conservatory Kids and Teen Acting classes, which begin in September. A year's worth of acting classes gives them the chops to audition for roles in the annual production of SCR's "A Christmas Carol."

For more information about registering for the Summer Acting Workshop, visit or call (714) 708-5577.

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