R’ville Stage Creations holding free monthly workshops for performers of all levels

— Photo from Tara McCormick-Hostash
Tara McCormick-Hostash

RENSSELAERVILLE — Tara McCormick-Hostash hopes to give people who are new to theater an opportunity to explore through First Friday Playhouse, a free, monthly workshop hosted by R’ville Stage Creations.

McCormick-Hostash, who is the group’s creative director, told The Enterprise this week that theater offered her a place to forge strong connections while developing her artistic talents as she grew up in the town, when there was a group called Impulse Theater and Dance, founded by Richard and Nadia Kramer. 

“The connections I made there were instant, and so strong,” she said. “And, basically, for the rest of my life I’ve wanted to provide that space.” 

R’ville Stage Creations was formed in 2011, and had an “explosive” growth, as McCormick-Hostash told The Enterprise last year. They’ve successfully put on a number of productions, and just received their not-for-profit designation, which will allow them to apply for grants to increase their quality even further, but she said this week that she hopes the workshop will be their “greatest offering.”

“Some people might want to get their toes wet, but they don’t want to jump in fully …,” she said. “Nobody has to go diving in. I want it to be as gentle as possible because it’s the spot I wished I had and the spot I want to make for other people.”

While the workshops, which began in February, are open to both teens and adults, she said that adults were “one of my main targets.”

“I think it’s way harder to make friends as adults,” she said. “And we get so jaded as we get older, and we’re seeking these things out less and less.”

McCormick-Hostash says she knows adults who want to perform but feel that getting involved with a full production would be too much of a commitment.

The workshops are held the first Friday of every month at an “amazing theater space” at the old Carey Institute, now called Hilltown Commons, under a partnership with that organization, she said. 

A typical workshop begins with McCormick-Hostash introducing herself, and then runs through what activities the group will be doing that evening, so that people can know what to expect, and decide whether they’d prefer to sit out for some activities if that makes them more comfortable. 

“We do some really fun, physical warmups, where I work in some techniques for having really great posture as a performer,” she said. If a group is particularly large, she’ll sometimes do a name-game so that people can get to know each other more easily.

From there, people who want to practice for an audition or performance of some kind — whether it’s music or line readings — will have the opportunity to do so in front of the workshop. 

After that, McCormick-Hostash runs improv games.

“This past month, the theme was ‘exploring environment,’ so we played a lot of games that had to do with how to communicate to our audience where we were, what the environment was, so if it was cold out, if it was hot out, if we were in a bowling alley, if we were in a shopping center, what it would look like and how we would communicate it,” she said. 

“You’re just coming up with stuff on the spot, and everything is the correct answer …,” she said. “It’s really satisfying to walk away from. I feel great afterwards.” 

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