Our Responsibility to Young Actors

Executive Director & ATC Founder, Carole Dibo, talks about the role of a performance arts teacher and the large responsibility they have to uphold. Read to find out why so many ATC students find our home the safest place to come and train!


They file in and take a seat; those who have a buddy find two chairs next to each other. It's quiet. Maybe some soft whispering. I walk into the camera studio, say hello to the 14 pairs of eyes looking at me, waiting for me to reveal their fate. “What's first, Carole? Whats next?” Even though these teens have auditioned for this program and have been accepted based on their ability to perform a 1-2 minute monologue, many of them have never stepped in front of a camera. Every blink of an eye, every furrow of a brow in high def. At an age where it has become paramount to be guarded in order to be accepted, the prospect of being ‘live-fed’ for all to see is terrifying. And they are right. It is!

Those of us that take on the responsibility of helping young actors shed their insecurities and discover that in fact they are enough, have entered a serious business and it should not (repeat NOT) be taken lightly.

"... before you can do any exploration and dive into the world of an actor, there has to be trust [between instructor, student, and parent]!" - Carole Dibo

I don't mean to be overly dramatic when I say that we have their life in our hands, but we do. We are asking them to connect to text from their own personal experience. If a scene is about death, possibly they haven't experienced death yet, but we cautiously take them down that path of discovery either way. Death is loss. We’ll begin by asking the student, “What have you lost that was hard to get over?” Maybe it was a role in the school play they were counting on, or maybe it was a best friend moving away. Can they relate to that? Once we find a common ground to lay our foundation on, we then gently open up that memory, and begin to dig for the subtext underneath the original written lines.

However, before you can do any of this exploration and dive into the world of an actor, there has to be something built between the instructor, the students, and the parents of these students… Trust! Each instructor has a different approach they take to building that genuine connection, but they all arrive to the same comfortable point by the end of class.

The following is a video of how other instructors foster trust and connection! By playing "The winds are blowing if...", each person in class gets to see how many others are on the same page as them. This breaks down the walls of insecurity that we subconsciously put up.

I foster that trust by having each actor take a turn sitting in my directors chair and asking the class questions about them. Pretty much asking the class to type them based on appearance. What kind of music do you think they listen to? What is their go to comfort food? What group do you think they hang out with in school? By asking them to "type" this actor we realize how appearances tell us very little about the real person! The student in the chair laughs at the suggestion that look like they listen to coffee house music and then naturally shares that actually, they love rap. On and on, each one taking a turn, and by the time the last one is finished they are laughing and enjoying themselves. Voila! We begin to see the beginning of a safe place where judging one another has no home!

After this, we can really begin the real work of inputting their experiences, and how they felt about those experiences, into the subtext of the original written lines. Now we can be, and not act.

By Executive Director & ATC Founder, Carole Dibo

This is the important work we do at the Actors Training Center. We can't do what we do without help from a community. If this resonates with you, then please join us for “Money for Funny, Music for Free”!

Our Fall Fundraising Comedy and Music show takes place on Nov 3rd, at Viper Alley in Lincolnshire, IL from 6-9pm. There will be comedy, music, great food, live auction travel packages, raffle prizes, and tons of fun!

If you can't attend, please consider a donation! ATC is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. All of the proceeds and donations from the FUNdraising Comedy and Music show go directly towards scholarships and programming for students at ATC.

We thank you for your support and are glad to call you a part of our family!

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