All the world's a (middle-school) stage

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By Maggie Macintosh, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

In a dimly lit drama room at École River Heights School on a recent afternoon, masked middle schoolers introduced themselves to one another with a twist — literally.
One by one, student actors took turns declaring their names aloud at the same time as they made a unique dramatic gesture, many of which required contortion and jazz hands. About 30 peers then repeated each name and action in unison as part of the warm-up exercise.
Drama teacher Kyle Collins believes establishing trust and building camaraderie among students is key to produce successful theatre.
Those beliefs are top of mind as Collins leads a newly established theatre troupe in the Grade 7/8 school — the first of its kind in Manitoba to be recognized by the International Thespian Society.
“In the acting world, a lot of your success depends on your reputation, who you know and the connections you’ve established,” said Collins, who eagerly accepted an invitation to run the Manitoba chapter of the Education Theatre Association, which oversees the honour society of middle and high school theatre students in the summer.
The drama teacher said he is ecstatic about the opportunity to help land his students among the ranks of...continued.

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