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Rivertowns Daily Voice serves Dobbs Ferry, Hastings & Irvington

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Hastings Kids Learn to Act Through Charades

HASTINGS, N.Y. - Nora Maher has a passion for her job as an acting teacher for kids.

"Basically, I make a living playing," Maher said.

Maher originally wanted to work in film, but realized her passion was on the other side of the lens.

"I started realizing I was more into the acting," she said.

With that desire Maher got into teaching theater, in particular acting for children. Maher is the instructor of Stagestruck Theatre at the Hastings Public Library.

Maher started her class off Thursday with voice warm-ups and some exercises to get the students loosened up and used her energy and enthusiasm to get them excited and involved in the class.

"I try to do games …to get them up and performing," Maher said. "My feeling is they are a little more apt to do it when its charades. Then they get more used to it."

With a row of chairs and a makeshift stage set up downstairs in the library, each child went up to the front of the room to act something out while the others had to guess. After much laughter, the kids could usually figure it out and guess what the others were trying to imitate.

The acting was taken to another level towards the end of the class when Maher told a lively story and then had the children act it out themselves. She gets them involved through sing-alongs and clapping until eventually the kids have a solid understanding of the various stories.

For a finale the children set up their own props and acted out the story while Maher narrated. After a little encouragement everyone went up on stage to get their first taste of theater.

"Once they stand up then they want to keep coming up," Maher said. "My philosophy is I never force anyone, I go at their own speed so if they don't want to do it they don't have to do it."

More information on the summer programs taught by Maher and others can be in the library's summer brochure.

Are there any summer programs in Hastings that you like to bring your children to? Let us know below in the comments section or on Facebook or Twitter.

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