Feb 19, 2011 10:38 PM by Dr. Anya Winslow

Learning through acting

Audrey Hepburn, Lucille Ball, Ray Charles, among other 1950s icons made an appearance in downtown Colorado Springs on Saturday morning.

The Colorado Spring Conservatory and the Galileo School of Math and Science helped bring a rich tradition of thespians to Southern Colorado within their own schools.

The program is called the Young Chautauqua Festival and its history dates back to the late 1800s. It is a nationally recognized program that encourages youth to learn history by studying historical figures and bringing them to life.

"You're not just sitting in a lecture, you're not sitting reading out of a book, writing a paper, you are researching it, learning it, becoming it, and living it, and presenting it," says Principal Robyn Colbert.

Students who participated in the 6-week intensive elective course immersed themselves in the 1950s, as well as in the character that they wanted to portray. Their dedication to the craft showed in their conviction to emulate their character.

"I don't want to act as if I'm reading a boring history report," says participant Natasha Hamilton (aka Marni Dixon). "I want to talk to the audience as if I am her and explain what I've done."

Actors were also required to field questions from the audience. Every one of the participants showed an eagerness to share.

"I like to help people learn and it was great," adds Hamilton. "I got to pass-on what I've learned to someone else and tons of other people."

All the young actors culminated their performances by singing autographs for their fans and the band helped the crowd let loose and enjoy the morning.

Both schools hope this program will gain momentum in coming years and encourage other schools in Southern Colorado to also incorporate this program into their curriculum.

* The Young Chautauqua Festival was made possible by joint efforts through the Colorado Humanities; the Colorado Springs Conservatory; Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum; School District 11; the Pikes Peak Library District; and the Galileo School of Math and Science.



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