Your Time Photo Gallery: New Century Theatre acting class, Northampton

Last modified: Tuesday, June 17, 2014

For five years, Sam Rush, an actor, director and co-founder of New Century Theatre in Northampton, has taught acting classes in the Valley.

Last week, two Gazette photographers visited the two, eight-week classes he’s been teaching in Northampton this winter, “Acting For Non-Actors” and “Play Creation.” Each class has about 10 students who are interested in either trying something new or getting better at something they already like doing. “Acting for Non-Actors” tends to draw first-timers, while “Play Creation” is for intermediate to advanced students.

Rush started the first class by doing warm-ups and then, as part of an acting exercise, had each student talk about a sentimental object — such as a wedding ring or a child’s toy — that he or she had brought in.

Rush says teaching prompts him to think about how actors do what they do, and then convey those insights to students. “Teaching forces me to articulate it better or in a different way,” he said.

Founded in 1991, New Century Theatre presents new works as well as dramas and comedies that may not have been produced in a while. NCT has been a training ground for students and emerging professionals; the company is in residence each summer at the Mendenhall Center for the Performing Arts at Smith College.

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