Drama students in this year’s Kentucky’s Governor’s School for the Arts are getting some training from the famed comedy theater — Second City. It’s touring company was already on the summer schedule at the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts when staff working with the Governor’s School got the idea to have members work with its drama students. So, on Saturday, the 29 drama students will study improvisational acting from actors associated with an institution that nurtured the careers of prominent artists including Alan Arkin, Steve Carell, Tina Fey, Bill Murray, and Amy Sedaris.
Leah Raidt is working with the drama students and says that improv is an important skill.
“Mainly because it keeps them on their toes,” she says. “It keeps them listening to their partners. And it’s about learning the give and take that it takes for actors on stage. And also it helps with the audience exchange: holding for laughter; knowing what the audience wants.”
Heather Weston Bell is executive director of the Governor’s School says she’s excited for the students.
“For them to have that opportunity to work with artists operating at that level is absolutely huge,” she says, “to have the opportunity to talk with them; hear about their experience; hear how they got where they are in their career; but also the opportunity to have class with them.”
Raidt and Bell say a well-rounded education in acting includes learning improvisational theater. And Raidt says the improv techniques they’ll learn could be valuable in building their careers.
“They’re going to see artists who collaborate, and that’s one of the things that Second City is built on,” Raidt says. “They have this whole community of the artists that used to be there that are now famous, that are working there now, they have a school within Second City. And they’ll get to see improve is actually its own industry.”
Second City performs at the Kentucky Center Saturday night. This year’s Governor’s School has 225 students participating in nine different art forms.