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THE BUZZ: Act-Out! Acting School Presents “Robin Hood”

He steals from the rich and gives to the poor.

Act-Out! Acting School is coming up on what Artistic Director John Stillwaggon calls his favorite time of year: Act-Out! Acting School’s Youth Summer Camp Production. This season, a cast of children ages three to 18 will take the stage to present the school’s world premiere performance of the classic tale, “Robin Hood.”

“One of the things we’re really proud of at Act-Out! is that this is our fifth annual summer camp,” said Stillwaggon, “and what I’ve been able to see is that these kids get together on a Monday and a lot of times they haven’t met each other or even seen the script before, and in 11 days they’ve got a full-fledged theater production put together.”

According to Stillwaggon, students – over the course of just a week and a half – learn world-class acting technique while bringing to life a full-scale original performance of a classic tale, oftentimes with a modern spin.

“These young actors are able pull off things in 11 days that many or most of the adults that I’ve worked with in my life haven’t been able to,” lauded Stillwaggon, calling this year’s classic, “Robin Hood,” a particular favorite.

“It’s very pertinent today,” he said. “Plus, it’s a fun and exciting story.”

These shows – though presented entirely by children – aren’t seen as “kid shows,” said Stillwaggon. “They hold themselves to a very high standard, causing us to see these shows as what they are: just great shows.”

Stillwaggon’s summer camp has previously tackled tales from “Alice in Wonderland” to “Peter Pan” to last year’s classic, “Beauty and the Beast.” This year’s swashbuckling story follows Robin of Locksley (played by Aidan Lawrence) as he returns from the Crusades to find a country in the clutches of a tyrant, and in need of a hero.

“Robin Hood” will also feature Camilla Bettig (as Friar Tuck), Jacques Bettig (as Prince John), Ashley Chico (as Guinivere), Brandon Collins (as Little John), Angelina Doyle (as Ella), Thomas Doyle (as the Sheriff of Nottingham), Adley Rubinfine (as Mudge), Gabby Rubinfine (as Shelly), Anna Markoch (as Will Scarlett), Or Mazo (as Sam) and Isabella Sirota (as Maid Marian).

Performances of “Robin Hood” will take place on Friday, August 22 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, August 23 at 5 p.m. – both at The Block Institute, 376 Bay 44th Street.

Tickets are $10 and a portion of each ticket purchased will benefit the Block Institute and its work on behalf of children and adults with special needs.

“What we’re most proud of is what this program creates for our students,” said Stillwaggon, adding that, many times, summer students go on to become Broadway stars, “and what it’s done for their self esteem, their sense of conflict resolution, their sense of teamwork and the friendships they’ve built.

“It’s really become a family over the years,” Stillwaggon said. “It’s the most wonderful part of my year.”

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