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Jefferson residents hope to get more dramatic
Recreation department plans summer theater workshop
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Teen acting workshops

Offered by: The Jefferson Parks and Recreation Department

When: June through July; the first session is from June 1 through June 24 and the second session is from June 29 through July 22

How much: $45 per student

More information: www.jeffersonrec.com or 706-367-2262

In addition to the traditional children’s activities and adult fitness classes, the Jefferson Parks and Recreation Department is adding something new this summer — a theater workshop.

That’s right, theater.

"This helps us to complete the puzzle so to speak for all of our recreational and leisure offerings," said Colton Green, department director.

"We’re not really sure where things will go beyond this summer, but drama and theater is a need in our community and this was an opportunity that allowed Jefferson Parks and Recreation to help meet that need."

For the inaugural summer session, the department will offer four workshops for 13- to 16-year-olds.

The workshops will begin in June and will be taught by the new Jefferson Community Theatre artistic director, Ray Ferrante, and by Jennifer Malone, who is a professional actress and acting coach.

"The classes are funded through the registration process, so there is zero cost to non-participating taxpayers," Green said.

In the workshops, teens will learn basic film, television and stage acting skills.

"The actual workshop groups are not planned to have a live performance at this time, but that is the end goal when we get everything off of the ground," Green said. "We’re hoping that the workshops will help garner more interest and support for the newly formed community theater program, which will, in turn, turn into a live performance."

The Jefferson Community Theatre group is expected to have a production of "Steel Magnolias" in August.

Although the parks and recreation department’s theater workshops are still in the infancy stages, Green said he hopes the program continues to grow.

"This is something that has been on our radar for a long time — it’s something relatively unique to Jackson County," he said.

"Down the road, it’s not too far fetched to believe that Jefferson (Parks and Recreation) may have an entire cultural arts division working on annual productions."

In Gainesville, the city’s Parks and Recreation department holds an annual children’s musical theater workshop, along with a summer production of "Annie Warbucks" at Gainesville High School.

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