It was novelist C.S. Lewis who said, “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”
It was the Raleigh Little Theatre that made a dream real for Jonathan King.
Despite a lifelong desire to act, and egging from most everyone around him, King only mustered the courage last year when he clicked on RLT’s website and signed up for his first acting class in October.
“And the rest is history,” he said.
In less than a year, King, 33, has landed roles, including a part in a production of Neil Simon’s “Plaza Suite” in Apex. Now King is cast as one of three con men, and a leading man, in “Wait Until Dark,” a thriller that will be performed by the Cary Players.
“From that one class and taking the time to do that one audition after that class, I’ve ended up in three productions this year – and it’s been amazing,” King said. “It’s just awesome the opportunities I’ve gotten since I took that class. I even intend on signing up for some of the new classes they have this season.”
That’s right. Raleigh Little Theatre is expanding its offerings of adult classes.
“One of the things that is at the core of who we are is that everything we do is a learning experience,” said Patrick Torres, who teaches adult classes at RLT. “We believe learning happens for us quite often on stage and behind stage.”
For the 2014-15 season, RLT will add adult classes to supplement what older thespians learn by providing more focused theater-skills training and attention than is possible when working toward opening a show, Torres said.
“We really want people who don’t feel like they’re ready yet to be in a production to have a place where they can learn theater skills and be a part of our community,” he added. “There is a class and a place to belong for everyone here at Raleigh Little Theatre.”
Alongside its new Much Ado About Shakespeare class, RLT will add Directing for the Stage in the spring. Starting Sept. 18, RLT will encore its Improv Performance Ensemble class, joining older teens and adults with area actors/improvisers to explore personal points-of-view and life experiences.
Sights also are set on reviving the Pickle Jar Players, a Readers Theater troupe for senior citizens that disbanded last year. The group is perfect for seniors who shy away from theater because of required line memorization, said Linda O’Day Young, RLT’s Youth Theater and Education Director.
And if another of RLT’s dreams becomes reality, the spring also will bring Acting for Business Professionals to classrooms, Young said.
“We believe that theater-arts training extends well beyond the stage by promoting self-esteem, building confidence, stimulating creativity, sharpening communication skills and fostering an appreciation of teamwork,” she said.
Torres added critical thinking, creative problem solving and empathy to the list. “Theater is good for every living human being and can be applied to the outside world in every aspect of a person’s life. And it’s also a lot of fun.”
Like King, Brian Hollingsworth took his dream to RLT and signed up for Beginning Acting about three years ago.
“It’s one of the best things I’ve done for myself,” said Hollingsworth, 30. “I was very nervous going in, but ... I took away confidence.”
Soon after his class ended, Hollingsworth landed a small role in RLT’s “The Crucible,” then he joined RLT’s cast of “Bus Stop.”
This weekend, Hollingsworth wraps up his role in the community theater’s production of “Hairspray.” In addition to his three RLT roles, Hollingsworth also landed a part in Theater in the Park’s “A Christmas Carole.”
“I credit the adult classes for being what gave me that confidence and energy to get things going,” he said. “I’ve met some great friends. People I was in class with, now we’re acting and singing alongside each other in shows.
“That’s a great experience.”