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Naas pirates build confidence through drama classes

Nutz-n-Boltz director instructs Boring students in acting classes

Nineteen students from Naas Elementary are preparing a pirate-centric play they will perform at Boring’s Nutz-n-Boltz Theater on the evening of Feb. 25.

Naas Principal Kimberley Brooks said staff at the school have looked for ways to provide after school activities to students on Wednesdays, when Oregon Trail School District students are let out an hour early for teachers to meet. Photo Credit: POST PHOTO: KYLIE WRAY - Gavin Noyes, left, and Cayden Bithell strike piratey poses while playing an acting game at their first drama class on Wednesday, Jan. 14.

They've offered art classes as well as Bricks 4 Kidz classes, where students learn and build with Lego bricks.

Now, Naas is trying out a drama class.

“As a school, we have a fairly heavy focus on the arts,” Brooks said. “It fits right into that philosophy at our school.”

Nutz-n-Boltz Theater Company Director Kelly Lazenby, who has been teaching children’s theater classes for about 11 years, is running the Naas drama class and directing the play the students are working on.

“Many of the Naas students have come to our children's theater shows in the past with their families,” Lazenby said in an email. “The class is 19 students, all of whom are bright and eager to perform.”Photo Credit: POST PHOTO: KYLIE WRAY - Gavin Noyes and Kelly Lazenby, director of Borings Nutz-n-Boltz theater company, tell students the rules of the pirate-centric acting game.

The students will perform “Peggy the Pint-Sized Pirate,” written by D.K. Horton, an educator from Indiana. As the class is only seven weeks, students will rehearse every week with each student getting a part.

“There is a lot of enthusiasm and excitement about the work to come,” Brooks said.

As students were picked up from their first class on Wednesday, Jan. 14, she noted, many were happily telling parents about the play and how they will have their own roles.

“I wanted to work with this local area school because they do not have a stage space,” Lazenby said.

She is offering the Nutz-n-Boltz theater space, located in the Boring-Damascus Grange, so that students will be able to experience professional lighting, sound, set dressing and costumes.

“I am hoping that some of these students will find a love for theater and audition for shows or strive to do more public speaking,” Lazenby said. “Acting for kids is a great confidence builder.” Photo Credit: POST PHOTO: KYLIE WRAY - Adrienne McNeil, Maddie Davis, Page Storey, Ella Davis and other students dance during an acting game.

After-school class sizes vary, and the drama class was limited to 19 students so each of them would have a part in the play. Students did have to be turned away after the class filled up.

“We are finding that we tend to have more interest then we have slots available,” Brooks said, adding that the school might try to expand and hold more than one class on Wednesdays if interest continues.

While once free of charge, after-school programs now have a fee attached, a result of needing to help support class instructors who make their livelihood from the programs.

The fee has not affected interest in the program, however.

“It has not impacted the number of students we have applying at all,” Brooks said.Photo Credit: POST PHOTO: KYLIE WRAY - Erin Brunkhorst, left, must explain her pose with a pirate reason in a pirate voice to avoid walking the plank during an acting game.