Thursday Afternoon Acting Group Enrolling New Students Ages 8-18

September 8, 2015 at 11:22 am

Looking for a place that will instill confidence, creativity and discipline in your child? Look no further than our Thursday Afternoon Acting Group (TAAG) at the University of South Carolina Upstate.

Registration is now underway for students ages eight to 18 to participate in this after school theatre program which meets each Thursday from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. in the Studio Theatre at USC Upstate. The first class will be held September 10.

Jordan Montemayor said she was 10 years old when she started drama camp at USC Upstate and participated in a production of “Winnie the Pooh.” Even with no experience as an actor, Montemayor said she was quickly welcomed into the group and has been participating in the fall and spring TAAG classes each year from that point on.

“I’m learning about acting at the college level,” said Montemayor, a student at Wren High School, who shared the stage last fall with USC Upstate’s Shoestring Players* as “Scout” in Harper Lee’s “To Kill A Mockingbird.”

“I love that I get to be a different person each Thursday for a few months, as we practice our shows,” Montemayor said. “Then to be on the stage, to hear the audience clap for you, there’s nothing like it. You know that all those hours you’ve spent preparing and working together has paid off.”

Montemayor is already looking forward to the troupe’s upcoming performances of the classic story, “Little Women,” December 10-12, and a zany holiday show, “Ho, Ho, Ho! The Santa Claus Chronicles,” Dec. 4-5. The TAAG group will share the stage with the Shoestring Players for both performances.

“ ‘Little Women’ is going to be a blast,” said Montemayor, who has already had a chance to read the script. “And the ‘Santa Claus Chronicles’ looks really funny.”

Oakbrook Preparatory student Sam Kopf, 14, is already thinking about his return to the stage this year. While he loves acting, he also loves to hang out with the friends he has made at TAAG.

“You can learn and grow as an actor, while making some of the best friends you’ll have in life,” Kopf said.

And sharing the stage with college students is a big plus, too, he said.

“You can learn so much from working with other actors, especially your older peer actors,” Kopf said. “I’ve learned so much about acting and about myself through TAAG. I’ve performed with the Shoestring Players in three shows and those have been great experiences for me.”

Kopf said in addition to the acting, he enjoys the games and exercises that help actors to improve vocally, physically and mentally for their roles.

“It helps you with public speaking and in being a better communicator overall,” Kopf said. “It’s great acting and good fun.”

Does this sound like something your student may be interested in trying? The cost of the semester-long program is $75. Please note, extra rehearsal times will be required during the month of November and leading up to the shows in December.

Rich Robinson, associate professor of theatre at USC Upstate, teaches the TAAG classes with the assistance of two theatre students.

To register for classes or for more information, please contact Robinson at (864) 503-5621 or


*About the Shoestring Players

Recognized both nationally and internationally, the Shoestring Players have produced theatrical performances on the USC Upstate campus for more than 40 years. The troupe has been recognized by the Kennedy Center’s National Committee and Awards Panel with a 2015 Commendation for the Acting Company for ensemble performances of “Memigery,” and was named “Best in Fest” in July 2015 for their performances of “The Pursuit of U.S.” at the International Youth Festival in Kingston Upon Thames in the United Kingdom.