053: Working with kids in theatre. Teacher and director Barbette Hunter empowers kids to shine together.

One of Barbette Hunter’s great passions is working with children in the theatre. As actor, director, teacher, stage manager and more, Barbette draws on her skills to bring out the best in children who yearn for a theatrical experience on-stage and off. Barbette gives great pro tips for helping kids focus and building an ensemble — and she describes her plans to direct a staged reading of the full length children’s show AMAZING GRACE.  (See below for audition information!) Working with kids can be so much fun!

AND, Tamara answers an ASK THE SOAPBOX question submitted by  listener, Molly: “What if my spouse/family are not supportive of my artistic career and prefer I get a “real” job?”

Barbette Hunter has been performing since age 5.  She’s worked as a professional actress with numerous theatre companies in the Triangle. She’s acted in films, industrial and training videos, commercials, and voice overs. She is a teaching artist for Raleigh Little Theatre and Cary Applause! Youth Theatre, the  rehearsal assistant and stage manager for Cary Applause! Youth Theatre and the stage manager of the Family Village Stage for the African American Cultural Festival. Barbette is an artwork model for private studios and several local art organizations and educational institutions. Barbette Hunter holds a BA in Speech/Communications from NC State University and did graduate work in acting at UNC-Greensboro.

Audition dates for the staged reading of Amazing Grace, a co-production of  Applause! Cary Youth Theatre and TheGifted Arts:

Nov 14, 7-9 p.m. (103 West Main Street, Garner)

Nov 16, 7-9 p.m. (Cary Arts Center, 101 Dry Avenue, Studio U40, Cary)

Actors (ages 8-18) will sign up for 30-minute audition slots via SignUp Genius.

Rehearsals:

Nov 28, 7-9 p.m. (Cary, NC)

Dec 5, 12, 19, 7-9 p.m. (Garner, NC)

Jan 9, 16, 23, 30, 7-9 p.m. (locations to be confirmed, either Cary or Garner)

Performance date: 3pm, Sat Feb 9 at The Cary Theater, 122 E. Chatham Street, Cary

This episode is brought to you by the Soapboxers, the official patrons of the Artist Soapbox. If you like these episodes and want more, get on the Soapbox! This episode was recorded at the ASBX home studio. Artist Soapbox theme music by Bart Matthews.

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Mentions: 029 Part One of What I learned from 40 years of not being famous

Time break-down:

[0:00] Episode intro and Barbette’s bio.

[2:06] Barbette talks about her love for teaching and working with kids

[6:09] What is an audience filled with children looking for from a theatrical experience?

[7:29] Barbette’s hopes for kids working as an ensemble on stage

[10:04] Pro tips for working with large groups of children

[11:53] How did Barbette maintain energy while running several camps?

[12:51] Amazing Grace: Barbette’s plans to take this inspiring story from page to stage

[17:48] How Cary and Garner came together for arts and cultural programming

[20:05] Barbette talks about possible challenges she may face as she prepares for Amazing Grace

[21:29] Preparing for a children’s show vs. preparing for an adult show

[25:31] Barbette describes how she will know her show was a success

[26:54] The indescribable: Barbette “defines” her work and what she loves to do

[28:48] Ask the Soapbox: Tamara answers Molly’s question about what to do when those we love don’t support our artistic careers

[34:52] Thanks and sign-off

Takeaways

  • Think like a kid: If something fails, try it a different way. Either way you’re learning!
  • When kids see a play, they don’t only seek entertainment, they also reflect on what they learned from the play
  • Starting small and scaffolding in new things can help when working with kids
  • To maintain your energy for your art explore other interests
  • Empower kids by asking for their ideas
  • It’s very challenging to make art when you are carrying guilt and anxiety
  • Do not quit making your art

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If you have feedback, questions, suggestions, please email artistsoapbox@gmail.com. FEEDBACK IS EVERYTHING TO ASBX.

Quotes:

  • That’s one of the things that I love about kids, they’re willing to take risks and try something and if it fails, ok, let’s try it a different way.
  • For me, the success will come from hearing the parents say, “I saw my child grow. I saw my child blossom. I saw my kid enjoy reading more. I saw my kid want to write more.” That’s the thing that lets me know, “Oh, this was a success.”

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