By Julie Huss
---- — DERRY — Young people who love to perform on stage are invited to enjoy a summer theater arts education program.
The N.H. Theatre Factory, a new professional company in Southern New Hampshire, will begin a summer youth training program to introduce youth to the theater world.
“We are very excited to start this program,” said Joel Mercier, the company’s artistic director. “What we’ve planned for the summer is the perfect way to introduce our program to the community.”
The two-week program is open to youth ages 8 to 17 and runs Monday through Friday, Aug. 4 through 15, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Upper Village Hall in East Derry.
The program will be taught by local and industry professionals from New York City. It is designed as a training program for beginning and experienced students. It will focus on acting, music, movement and technical theater.
“What makes our program unique are the people teaching it,” Mercier said. “We have many connections to professional union performers, directors and designers who would love to come to New Hampshire and share their talents and passion for theater.”
Mercier and company producing director Walter Pinault are no strangers to the stage.
Mercier, a 2002 Pinkerton Academy graduate, has worked in professional theater for many years. Both men have worked in the business at a high level, in New York City and beyond. He has produced shows and musicals, and has written productions that have been performed at home and in other professional venues.
Pinault said it’s the responsibility of any theater company to teach the next generation of actors, directors and designers.
“To us, theater education is first and foremost about learning a craft,” he said. “The emphasis of our summer program is training, not performance. Craft comes first.”
Mercier said the Granite State only has two commercial year-round companies, but other New England states boast more programs offering union-based, professional events.
He said it’s time New Hampshire follows suit. He hopes to do that with the N.H. Theatre Factory.
The company is less than a year old, but Mercier said it holds a lot of promise for the state’s theater scene in this region.
The group’s first production was last fall with an original musical murder mystery, “Ghost Hunting.”
The summer program is an educational piece to teach students the ins and outs of theater production, along with helping those newcomers create their owns shows to develop, Mercier said, part of the mission of the company.
Registration and other information about the summer program are available at nhtheatrefactory.org.