Martha Hearn and Cathy Brookshire to Lead Workshops at Columbia Children's Theatre, 6/23-27

Martha Hearn and Cathy Brookshire to Lead Workshops at Columbia Children's Theatre, 6/23-27

Columbia native and New York actor Martha Hearn and USC professor Cathy Brookshire will lead intensive workshops this summer at Columbia Children's Theatre in Improvisation, Clowning and Stage Combat. Martha will lead CCT's Improv Intensive June 23-27 from 9 am to 12:30 pm and she and Cathy will team up for Big Top Buffoonery the same week from 1 pm to 4:30 pm.

About the Classes

Taught by Columbia native and Chicago and New York actor and improviser Martha Hearn, The Improv Intensive will take young performers through the basics of creating short and long form improvisational scenes. Often described as "using one's imagination without any preparation," the art of "improv" is as old as performance itself. Historically used in actor training and as a rehearsal tool, more recently improvisation has become recognized as an art form unto its own in which the dialogue, the action, the story and the characters are created collaboratively by the players as the improvisation unfolds. Such television series as Saturday Night Live, Whose Line is it Anyway, and Mad TV all have their roots in improvisational comedy. Using techniques developed by Chicago's Second City, the workshop begins the process of teaching young actors how to work together responsively to define the parameters and action of a scene, in a process of co-creation. Often building scenes around audience suggestions, the actors learn to create environment, character, plot, conflict and resolution all while thinking on their feet.

Big Top Buffoonery is CCT's nod to the many wonderful circus performers in Columbia and the resurgence of interest spawned by Stephen Schwartz's recent hit with the circus-inspired Pippin and the fact that kids just like to fight onstage! Martha, a graduate of Ringling Brother's Clown College and Cathy a certified stage combat choreographer will take students through rigorous training in clowning, physical comedy and combat for the stage. Students will learn the correct and safe way to fall, hit, punch, defend and react realistically in choreographed scenes. They will learn the basics of clowning including the different types of clowning, and how to effectively and safely execute pratfalls, spit-takes, mime and physical comedy. There might even be a bit of sword-play (with wooden dowels of course!)

About the Instructors

Martha Hearn is a New York- based improviser, educator and writer. She currently performs with Upright Citizens Brigade and recently completed the Second City Conservatory in Chicago and the UCB improv program in NY (and served as an intern at both theatres). A graduate of the SC Governor's School for the Arts and USC's Honors College, she is now earning her masters in Educational Theatre at City College of New York. Martha has performed improv at Comedy Sportz, Annoyance, Chemically Imbalanced Comedy, pH productions (all Chicago), People's Improv Theatre (NYC) Out of Bounds Festival (Austin), Toronto Improv Festival, Chicago's Sketchfest, and Del Close Marathon (NYC). She starred in the short improvised film "As We Go Along" which was accepted into the Cannes Film Festival's student series. Martha can sing all the counties of SC in alphabetical order to the tune of Yankee Doodle. And yes, she'll sing it if you ask nicely.

Cathy Brookshire holds an M.F.A. in Directing from Mary Baldwin College, the M.Litt. in Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature in Performance from Mary Baldwin College and the B.F.A. Theatre from the University of Georgia. She has been a member of The Society of American Fight Directors since 1998 and Actor's Equity since 1972. She is currently a professor in the Speech, Communications and Rhetoric Department at USC and serves as the combat choreographer for Opera Carolina. She is the recipient of a National Opera Association Award for her work in Postcard from Morocco with Opera USC. She is the Founder and past-director of Organized Chaos, LLC in Harrisonburg, VA, a performance-based theatrical training program for high school students. The company performed for young audiences throughout the Shenandoah Valley, 1998 to 2003.

More Classes, Camps and Workshops at CCT

In addition to the Improv Intensive and Big Top Buffoonery Workshops, CCT will offer a full slate of summer camps and workshops, including: Glee! and Kids on Camera Camps June 16 - 20, Fantasy Fun Camp July 7 - 11 (morning and afternoon sessions), Acting Up! Theatre Boot Camp July 14 - 18, For more information and to register go to

Columbia Children's Theatre is a professional resident not-for-profit theatre dedicated to providing quality live theatre experiences for families and young audiences, and is supported in part by the City of Forest Acres, The Cultural Council of Richland and Lexington Counties and the South Carolina Arts Commission, which receives funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Related Articles

South Carolina THEATER Stories | Shows

From This Author BWW News Desk

Before you go...