Creative, fun after-school experience offered

This October, Center for Spiritual Living Kauai is offering A Taste of Theater, a special nine-month, process oriented theater program for high school students to explore their creativity, participate in theater and learn practical life skills.

The program, which will meet once a week for two hours as it builds toward a final project, will be taught by CSL Kauai spiritual directors Patrick Feren and Rita Andriello, a husband-and-wife team who have more than 20 years of experience in education, theater, writing, performing, producing as well as producing and directing dozens of one-person shows, cabaret acts and other plays in Los Angeles.

Both ministers have extensive teaching experience with youth from middle school through high school. Most recently, they taught theater at the Pu’ukumu School in Kilauea.

“Many of today’s teens are at-risk — they need a place where they can belong and grow in a safe and creative environment,” said Andriello, who holds a Masters in theater education and directing, is a professionally trained singer and performer and an accomplished writer of plays and screenplays. “While participating in sports is a great outlet for some, it’s not for all teens. Theater offers a healthy alternative where they can challenge themselves with performing at their own comfort level, always pushing the envelope,” she noted.

“In A Taste of Theater, the teens will leap into improvisation — creating and embodying various characters mentally, emotionally and physically — and the elements of playwriting also will be taught and practiced,” explained Feren, who has a degree in theater and psychology and spent more than 25 years as actor in Los Angeles and New York. In addition, he created and ran his own acting studio —Feren Studios Unlimited Productions — in the Southwest.

According to Feren, A Taste of Theater is guaranteed to be a fun and collaborative adventure where teenagers age 13 to 18 will learn a variety of important and practical life skills, including: risk-taking, making definite and constructive choices, effective oral communication, listening, intuition, present-moment awareness, creative problem solving abilities, motivation and commitment, willingness to work collaboratively and independently, time budgeting skills, taking initiative, being able to follow rules, respect for colleagues and authority, adaptability and flexibility, a healthy self image, ability to work under pressure, self-discipline, an acceptance of responsibility, concentration, leadership skills and self-confidence.

The program is being offered free of charge to up to 20 ninth through twelfth graders, with the possibility for another program for up to 16 seventh and eighth grade students. “A Taste of Theater will be taught in a series of six-to-eight week segments,” said Feren. “If students drop out along the way, they can be replaced by others on the waiting list. We are looking for teens who want to learn, challenge themselves and have a ton of fun!”

CSL Kauai is currently accepting applications for enrollment in A Taste of Theater, which starts on October 11. Tuition is free. Sessions will be held on Wednesdays from 4 to 6 p.m.; doors open at 3:30 p.m. CSL Kauai is located at 4-1579 Kuhio Highway in the East Kauai Professional Building, Suite 101 across from the Kapaa Neighborhood Center. To enroll, call 755-9177, email centerforspirituallivingkauai@gmail.com or visit www.cslkauai.org.

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