EASY Theatre Youth Education and Performance
(a success story)

History - Herstory - Ourstory

EASY Theatre (Engela and john) followed john's guide for Creating a Theatre of Imagination for Youth.   It took us 18 months to complete the project.  Those kids who worked with us had incredible opportunities.  No one was required to do everything, but those who were interested and available were kept gloriously busy.

Here are some of the numbers, followed by some of the details.

The kids who completed all the steps with us, performed in 6 different shows over 24 performances on 13 different stages in 4 cities.

Plus they had the opportunity to work with the adult company on 6 productions and travel with the touring company.

They read 21 plays, of which 9 were original works.

They read 28 scenes of which 2 were originals written by the teens.

They saw 1 dance recital, 1 music concert, and at least 42 plays (of which 8 were musicals and 3 were operas).

They completed 10 stage-makeup projects.

They had the opportunity to take 18 workshops:  working with 9 different instructors.

Their first performance (April 5, 2000) was for a safe audience of about 60 family members and friends.  Their last performance (June 3, 2001) was for approximately 600 strangers who gave them a standing ovation.  The had grown from delightful kids doing shows, to terrific actors commanding the stage.

Steps 1 - 3

In November of 1999, our troupe of teens started attending monthly acting workshops taught by john daniels, jr. of Earth & Sky Acting Co. and weekly stage-movement classes taught by Engela Edwards of EASY Theatre.  Engela also offered Creative Movement classes for the younger kids. 

STEP 1:  On April 5, 2000, some of the participants became a true company when their first production, Just in Time by john daniels, jr. and Engela Edwards was performed at the Austin Children's Museum.

STEP 2:  Their second production, Learn Fast also written for the troupe by john and Engela, was performed at the Austin Children's Museum on July 12, 2000.

What was to be the troupes third production, Wizard of Oz adapted by john daniels, jr. at the Austin Children's Museum on August 16 and August 23, 2000, was canceled (prior to starting rehearsals) due to a shortage of girls.

STEP 3:  The troupes third production, ComingToAustin.Com…edy by john daniels, jr. was performed in the Mind over Money Festival at the Movements Gallery, September, 25th and 26th.

Engela and john, believing that desire creates discipline, worked with the kids for 11 months doing workshops, stage-movement classes, and producing three shows before endeavoring to "Study” theatre.  At the same time, we were able to move our classes into libraries and recreation centers to lower our expenses and were therefore able to offer more classes.
Step 4

In October 2000, most of the troupe started meeting for a dance class, a scene-study class, and a play-analysis class.   Play analysis was divided into two parts:  script analysis - where we read plays aloud during class; and a "PLAY group" which sees plays together.  Inspired by john, EASY's Artist in Residence, the teens started writing scenes. 

The Scene-Study Class worked on the scenes performed December 19, 2000 plus scenes from:  

  • The Mound Builders by Landford Wilson
  • K-2 by Patrick Meyers
  • When You Comin’ Back Red Rider by Mark Medoff 
  • Leaving Home by Beth Henley

The Play-Analysis Class read aloud:

  • The Bald Soprano by Eugene Ionesco
  • Greater Tuna by Jaston Williams, Joe Sears, and Ed Howard
  • Chinaman by Michael Fryan
  • Slueth by Anthony Shaffer
  • Historias by Oswaldo Dragun
  • Indians by Arthur Kopit
  • Schubert’s Last Serenade by Julie Bovasso
  • Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead by Tom Stoppard
  • An original scene by Eric Edwards
  • An original scene by Zach Pettichord
Here is a list of 16 shows that members of the EASY Theatre Troupe saw between October 8, 2000 and December 15, 2000 with their PLAY Group.
  • Madame Butterfly by Puccini – Austin Lyric Opera
  • A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen – Connally High School
  • The Crane Wife – Japanese Folk Tale adapted by Barbara Carlisle - Connally High School
  • Shadowlands – William Nicholson – Concordia University
  • The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde – Concordia University
  • The Lucky Spot by Beth Henly – Austin Community College
  • A Macbeth by Shakespeare – State Theatre
  • Picasso at the Lapine Agile by Steve Martin – Southwestern University
  • The Gift –  at Stage Central
  • Talk Theatre by the Freshman Class at Johnston High School
  • As You Like It by Shakespeare – Johnston High School
  • Zachary Scott Home School Shakespeare Productions: 
    Henry IV part 1
    Merchant of Venice
  • Zachary Scott Home School Original Production:  The Big Bang
  • The dance class also attended ACC’s Fall Dance Recital.
The Dance Class:
Hours of stretching, barre work, floor work, and routines.

They performed their forth production, The Recital, on December 19, 2000.

The Recital
Scenes performed from: Butterflies are Free by Leonard Gershe
True West by Sam Shepard
No Exit by Jean-Paul Sartre
Nerd by Larry Shue
Teahouse of the August Moon by John Patrick
Hooters by Ted Tally
JANUARY 2001 - MAY 2001
Steps 5 & 6

Here are the classes we offered:

  • 5 First-Monday Acting: 3-hour Workshops for 12 and up, taught by john and Engela 
    • A Taste of Theatre January 8, 2000
      Theatre Games February 5, 2000
      Improvisation March 5, 2000 
      Cryptic Exercises April 2, 2000
      Voice for Theatre May 7, 2000 
  • Beginning Stage Makeup 1 for ages 12 and up.

  • Taught by john and Engela Mondays for 2 hours.
    1. Basic  January 22
    2. Old age  January 29
    3. Fantastic  February 5
    4. Face painting class - followed by painting dozens of faces at the Valentine Party  February 12
    5. Fantastic project:  February 26
  • Beginning Stage Makeup 2 for ages 12 and up.

  • Taught by john and Engela
    1. Clowns (Classic and Hobo):  March 5
    2. Simple prosthetics and latex:  March 12
    3. Character from a play:  March 19
    4. Mimes:  March 26 
    5. Mimic Character:  April 3
  • Creative Movement for 3-6 year olds, taught by Engela.  Mondays 45 minutes.  Members of this class were invited to perform in Swing Thing, but performance was optional.
  • Stage Movement for ages 12 and up taught by Engela, on Mondays for 2 hours.  The students from this class performed along side adult company members in Swing Thing.  Variations of the show were performed 11 times, on these stages: 
    • Bastrop Opera House, Bastrop, Texas
    • Hyde Park Theatre, Austin, Texas
    • Yesterfest, Bastrop, Texas
    • Old Settlers' Music Festival, Dripping Springs, Texas
    • Rosedale School, Austin, Texas
    • AAH Project Faire, Austin, Texas
    • Cowen Elementary School, Austin, Texas
    • Brentwood Elementary School, Austin, Texas

  • Play Production: Schubert's Last Serenade 2 hours on Tuesdays, which started January 9, 2001.  The Teen Troupe performed the show 8 times, on theses stages:

    • Texas Nonprofit Theatres' Youth Conference, College Station, Texas 
    • Bastrop Opera House, Bastrop, Texas 
    • Hyde Park Theatre, Austin, Texas
    • Brentwood Elementary School, Austin, Texas
    • Cowen Elementary School, Austin, Texas
    • McBeth Recreation Center, Austin, Texas
  • Play Analysis 2: Thursdays, 90 minutes, taught by john and Engela

    • Pirates of Penzances by Gilbert and Sullivan
    • Fantastics by by Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt
    • About 15 short plays from 101 Avante Guard Plays (NOTE: In the totals, these plays were so short that I've counted them as scenes)
    • Waiting for Godot by by Samuel Beckett
    • They were also invited to an evening reading of 5 new plays by john daniels, jr.

  • History of Film: 13 and up, 2 hours, Thursdays, taught by Leslie Smart

  • Play Group 

  • We saw:
    • Cold Sassy Tree by Floyd- Austin Lyric Opera
    • Forever Plaid by Stuart Ross - Southwest Texas State University, San Marcus, Texas
    • ACCT Quad Festival, Region 3, at the Timple Civic Theatre, Temple, Texas
      • Tell Me about Amelia by john daniels, jr. - EASY Theatre, Austin, Texas
      • The Duck Variations by David Mamet - Bastrop Opera House, Bastrop, Texas 
      • Monkey Business by Todd Mueller, Hank Boland and Gregg Opelka - The Upstagers, Del Rio, Texas
      • Plaza Suite by Neil Simon -  Temple Civic Theatre, Temple, Texas 
    • The Conference of the Birds by Peter Brook - St. Edwards University, Austin 
    • Lysistrada - Austin Community College, Austin 
    • Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead by Tom Stoppard -  Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas
    • Die Walküre by Wagner - Austin Lyric Opera
    • Tell Me about Amelia by john daniels, jr. - EASY Theatre at various theaters in Texas.
    • The Ten-Minute Play by Walter Boyd, Carl Williams, and Eddie Cope, Houston Country Playhouse, Houston, Texas
    • Taming of the Shrew by Shakespeare - South West Texas State University, San Marcus, Texas
    • Carmen by Bizet - Austin Lyric Opera
    • Zachary Scott Home School Shakespeare Productions: Taming of the Shrew and Henry IV part II
    • Zachary Scott Home School Original Production:  An Actors Nightmare by Christopher Durang.
    • Texas Nonprofit Theatres' Youth Conference held at A&M University, College Station, Texas.  (Some full length - others adaptations.)
      • Fables by Jerome Mc Donough, Bastrop Opera House Acting Academy, Bastrop, Texas
      • The Nearsighted Knight and the Farsighted Dragon by Eleanor and Ray Harder, Lockhart Community Theater, Lockhart, Texas
      • Godspell by Stephen Schwartz, Circle Arts Theatre's The Inner Circle, New Braunfels, Texas
      • Broadway Billboards by Matt Jones and M.A. Sterling, Brazos Valley TROUPE, College Station, Texas
      • Skit Plays & Dance Across the Stage! by Larry Hunter, Colourwhirl, Inc. Youth, Houston, Texas
      • The Canterbury Bus Trip written by the actors of The Teatrical Academy, Victoria Community Theatre, Victoria, Texas
      • Wiley and the Hairy Man by Jack Stokes, MorningStars, Inc., Mineola, Texas
      • Voices From the High School by Peter Der, The Company from Butterfield Stage, Gainesville, Texas
      • Oh, My Darling Clementella! (A Cinderella Story) by  Webster Crocker and Karen Tooley, Theatricks from Sherman Community Players.
      • Time to Fly by Jennifer Bailey, The CATS Company, Arlington, Texas
      • Dark of the Moon by Howard Richardson and William Berney, YES! Company, Athens, Texas
The Teen Troupe also acted and worked tech in community theatre shows produced by Earth & Sky Acting Co. of Austin, Texas, and EASY Theatre's adult company.
As part of EASY Theatre's educational program, we offer workshops and classes, a mentor program, an Artist in Residence program, a Playwright in Residence program, and offer free and reduced priced theatrical performances to school groups.

We have offered classes, workshops, and productions at theaters, museums, recreation centers, libraries, parks, parking lots, festivals, private homes, and theaters.  We are committed to giving to the community.  We are always looking for places to teach, rehearse and perform. 

Artistic Director: Engela Edwards
Artist and Playwright in Residence: john daniels, jr.
Wonderful Youth Classes
EASY Theatre's Home Page
Home page of john daniels, jr.