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ACTA gives birth to ACTA Jr. - a new program JUST FOR KIDS!

ACTA Jr. MISSION STATEMENT: As part of the community theater of ACTA, Inc., representing the arts for minors, it is ACTA Jr.’s responsibility to encourage and support the fine arts, and appreciation thereof, through plays, musicals and special events geared specifically for those 18 years of age and younger. Theater arts, specifically, should provide safe and age-appropriate entertainment, as well as supervised and guided on-stage and off-stage learning opportunities for kids to become involved, regardless of past experience or level of expertise.

I’m both privileged and honored to be the director of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, our premier performance under the title of ACTA, Jr. ACTA has always had some opportunities for young actors throughout our regular season of shows. However, ACTA began offering summer theater camps and children’s acting classes in 2017 under the leadership of Lucy Lunsford. During these past three years, she has grown our program to include many Trussville kids and those from the surrounding areas. We have expanded and grown from one summer camp to two. This plan was going to launch last summer, but COVID put a halt to it. But, we are so excited for this summer. We just announced our first summer camp casts. Auditions for our second summer camp will be later this summer.

Our primary goal for ACTA, Jr. was to expand our regular season to include two shows that would rehearse over a 6 week period that would be a 99% cast of kids 18 years and younger. I say 99% because we have the role of Father Christmas played by an adult, Keith Cunningham, the husband of our assistant director and father of the cast member playing Susan. We have had the camp opportunities which have tuition because of staffing and time constraints, but we envision a “regular show” opportunity, just like most ACTA shows, where the kids would be responsible for their costumes and that would be the only cost.

We had over 50 kids audition for this show! We knew our program had grown. We have children hungry for fine arts opportunities in our communities. I’ve been overwhelmed with the number of kids in this show wanting to stay and help with set or props. I have three students that are acting as stage managers and prop managers. I have two students in the sound booth doing tech work supervised by our board member, Kerry Burrell. I cannot wait for this cast to get to perform. We have several that have never done theater before. We see it as a learning opportunity as well as a place to meet friends and be involved with a greater joint purpose that isn’t digital.

ACTA, Jr. is hopefully growing ACTA by teaching children the importance and place of fine arts in our lives. We are teaching them the technical side of a show, but also the purpose for art in our everyday lives. Hopefully, we are giving the students opportunities to meet like-minded friends and learn what it means to be a team-player. They will get the satisfaction of knowing they helped to create something successful and share it for the enjoyment of others. They will gain a respect for the craft and continue to come as adults and share their talents in our regular season shows. We are hoping these youngsters will be the catalyst for getting their families involved as well.

We look forward to our upcoming ACTA, Jr. shows. We hope to have our second regular show opportunity this fall. The performance date will be December 16-19. So, stay tuned!!!

Wendy Riley

ACTA Board Member

Director of "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe"

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