First, I want to thank you for coming!
The Children’s Arts Theatre School blog promises excitement, humour, and hopefully, a bit of education. I plan on covering the exercises we lead in class, the techniques behind the exercises, progress of rehearsals, and any pertinent information regarding the rehearsal schedules and final performances. I’ll also be including my own thoughts towards theatre as an art form and why I believe acting and performing is such a vital component of every child’s education.
Second, you may be wondering who I am? Valid question.
My name is Mark Keller. I’ve been with this company for fifteen years. I began as a student when I was 14 years old at our High Park location. I lasted two terms before CEO & Artistic Director Gina Anki asked me to help out in the sound booth for performances. I then worked as a counselour at our summer camps, then as an assistant during the year, and fifteen years later I’m now Head Director of the company. Many parents and students have asked me how many shows I have put on at CATS. And my answer is always the same – too many to count!
You may also be wondering, why is this person teaching and directing my child? Another valid point!
From charging my family fifty cents to witness the brilliance of my first theatrical productions at eight years old in my living room, to completing an Honours Bachelor of Fine Arts in the Acting Stream at York University, a highly-esteemed program. I’ve been involved in theatre my entire life. I single-handedly brought back theatre to my Etobicoke High School, and won multiple awards for writing, performance, and directing in the Sears Festival for Ontario High Schools. Since University I have been a part of numerous short films, creative projects, a commercial for Best Buy, as well as booking an ad campaign in Australia. I’m currently in rehearsals for a two-night short play festival at the end of September.
I’ve also been working with children and youth for half-my-life – from teaching swimming lessons as a teenager, to volunteering at schools, to completing numerous leadership programs, to my long-term involvement at CATS. I also love writing and adapting stories for children. Inspired by my favourite book, “Where the Wild Things Are” I’m currently working on a children’s book of my own.
Working with children in theatre is always so exciting because of their honesty. They are so alive in the moment! The comedian, W.C. Fields, always said, “Never work with children…because they will always upstage you.” And it’s my personal mission to ensure this remains true!
There you have it. Now that we’ve been properly introduced, I hope you’ll return!