Theatre games workshop a hit with local students

For proof that arts programs should be kept in schools, look no further than the smiling faces of grade 3 students at Victoria Terrace Public School last week.

The students seemed to thoroughly enjoy a theatre games workshop offered by Guelph’s Lisa Du Fresne through a grant from the Ontario Arts Council (OAC).

“They have such magic,” Du Fresne said of the students. “They’re like an untapped treasure chest.”

Du Fresne, who  trained at Jacques Lecoq Ecole de Théâtre in Paris, France, specializes in both theatre and visual arts and has been working with the OAC’s Arts-Education program for several years.

This month, she is conducting workshops with students in grades 2 through 6 at the Fer­gus school, which she said, has been very welcoming.

“This is one of the warmest school’s I’ve been to,” she said. “It’s a rare gift to create a school that’s so warm … meanwhile, I feel enriched coming here.”

She explained the workshops are great for improving students’ self esteem, listening skills, public speaking ability, imagination, and creativity. Plus, as a French Canadian, she’s working in some French words here and there to give younger students a head start in learning a second language.

Du?Fresne commended the efforts of school librarian Patsy Collier, who helped arrange the workshops, and said promoting OAC programs is really important, considering they could be cancelled at any time.

She noted it’s “really amazing” how focused the students are before they “return to their rooms all excited” to resume  regular classes.

“I can’t say it enough – it’s wonderful,” she said of the experience at Victoria Terrace Public School.