ART BEAT: A new season starts for The Actor's Edge

Special Photo. An ensemble of students from The Actor's Edge are seen in a recent performance.

Special Photo. An ensemble of students from The Actor's Edge are seen in a recent performance.

The Actor's Edge just ended the most successful Summer Performing Arts Camp in the organization's four-year history, and this fall it will launch a new series of classes with great preparation and anticipation.

Founder and Director Patricia McKeon Padrick said, "This year will be our best year yet. If what we saw this summer was any indication of our community's commitment to children's performing arts education, then we know that 2011-12 will take us to new heights."

TAE holds its classes at Notre Dame Academy, located at 4635 River Green Parkway in Duluth. This fall, students will be offered an even greater array of classes than in previous years, but two in particular will feature a new "twist." The "Acting 101 Fun*damentals" and "Advanced Acting & Improv Class" will become production classes, meaning the session will conclude with a true theatrical on-stage performance with tickets on sale to the public.

In addition to new production classes, TAE is also enlarging its vocal training program, welcoming Shar-Reese Alfred as an addition to the vocal department with existing vocal coach Cesar Restrepo. Alfred's vast experience in vocal training and friendly, accessible teaching methods make her a great addition to TAE family.

Kyle Segar, Lead Choreographer for TAE and board member, said, "I've never seen an instructor work so well with children and teens before. Miss Shar is a tremendous talent and adds great value to her students' lives as well as to The Actor's Edge program."

TAE continues to offer such classes as "On-Camera Acting," "Intro to Acting," "Musical Theatre Dance," "Musical Theatre Voice," and "Adult Acting and Improv" courses. In addition to providing high quality arts educational classes, TAE has helped at least a dozen young actors gain professional representation with agents such as J Pervis Talent Agency and Houghton Talent.

"TAE is committed to its mission of providing professional caliber performing arts education for children and adults of all experience levels delivered in a nurturing and supportive environment, where students are encouraged to develop honest, dynamic and memorable performances," Padrick said.

TAE offers programs for children of every skill level.

"We know that not all of our students want to become Broadway actors," Padrick said. "But we have a proven track record of helping children build confidence, find their voice in social and academic environments, and even hear reports from many of our parents that grades have improved due to increased focus and greater ability to memorize and retain information learned in the classroom. All of these are direct benefits from children enjoying and studying the performing arts."

In January, The Actor's Edge Community Players invites young actors from the ages of 7-17 to audition for their main-stage musical that will be produced in the spring of 2012. "This year we've found a wonderful, family-friendly musical with a need for both singing and non-singing performers," Padrick said. "We hope to see you there."

For more information, visit the website at www.theActorsEdge.com or call Patricia McKeon Padrick at 770-846-6721.

Holley Calmes is a freelance writer and public relations consultant specializing in the arts. Email her at hcalmes@mindspring.com.