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The city of Collegedale's Parks and Recreation Department is making its first foray into the performing arts with its new Encore Kids Drama Club: Intro to Drama class for kids ages 8-13. The deadline to register for the free program is Thursday, Dec. 13.

Participants are not required to be residents of Collegedale, but must commit to attending rehearsals at Collegedale City Hall Tuesdays, Jan. 15 through Feb. 19 from 6-7:30 p.m. each night, and Thursday, Feb. 21 from 6-8 p.m. The program concludes with a performance the evening of Friday, Feb. 22.

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Katie Pricer and Nathan Sunder, from left, play statues in a Chattanooga Homeschool Shakespeare Troupe production of "Julius Caesar" directed by Kim Tisdale. Tisdale is volunteering to help teach the city of Collegedale's new Encore Kids Drama Club: Intro to Drama class.

For this class — the city's first drama program — participants will perform short skits rather than a full-fledged show, said Traci Bennett-Hobek, Collegedale director of parks and recreation. She is teaching the class with Parks and Recreation employee Andy Stone and volunteer Kim Tisdale, a drama instructor and director for 10 years who has worked with organizations such as the Chattanooga Homeschool Shakespeare Troupe and the Chattanooga Salvation Army School of Music and Arts.

"When I was growing up, I remember being part of a [drama] program, and I learned a lot about how to speak, how to project and how to just enjoy doing drama and theatrical performance," Bennett-Hobek said.

Along with oral communication and vocal projection, the introductory class will also focus on skills such as theatrical movement, stage presence and characterization.

"I think it's very important for kids to be able to express themselves and to be able to learn to work together as an ensemble," Tisdale said, explaining that being part of an ensemble helps kids learn how each person's contribution is important to the production. "I've seen very shy kids who just blossom in drama programs."

If there's enough interest, Bennett-Hobek said she hopes to hold more drama programs for kids, and possibly adults as well.

To register for the Encore Kids Drama Club, contact Bennett-Hobek at 468-1971 or thobek@collegedaletn.gov. Collegedale City Hall is at 4910 Swinyar Drive.

Email Emily Crisman at ecrisman@timesfreepress.com.

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