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The First Act Children's Community Theatre Inc.

Mission Statement

The First Act Children's Community Theatre was established to provide access to educational training in theatre for Children (K-12); to produce theatrical performances as a way for them to improve and demonstrate skills; to prepare students to pursue further theatrical training; to foster and strengthen the dramatic arts in the community of Jacksonville by promoting the developmental benefits of the dramatic arts for all children. We have a special interest in inter-generational work with local seniors using Reminiscence/Theatre projects to; foster relationships with older people; to create new dramatic works based on the memoirs of participants and to provide entertainment and recreational opportunities for the community.
Scholarships for students and seniors from under served communities will be provided where possible.


Fall Program 2018

 All classes are held at:

The Adele Grage Theatre, 

716 Ocean Blvd at 7th Street in Atlantic Beach, 32233


Introductory Class 1st - 3rd Grade

Saturday 11:15am - 1:15pm

Intermediate Class - 4th -6th Grade

Saturday 9:00am to 11:00am

Advanced Class 6-9th Grade

Monday 5:00pm - 7:00pm


Homeschool class Thursdays 12:30 - 2:30

To register for this class contact Michelle Carter at Spring River School 

 



Each class culminates in a short play or showcase at the theatre.
Children and families from our community will be invited to performances as seats are available after friends and family have booked.

Line learning is required unless a non-speaking or small part is requested.
Grades are rising. Classes are capped at 14 students.  

Grades are a guideline but we are flexible about accepting younger children in senior camps depending on experience.

Middle and High School students looking to acquire Community Service Hours should send a cover letter by email expressing their interest.


Questions? Call Aine on 904 509 1472   or email ainehealy@thefirstactcct.org for a registration form.

Checks to be made payable to The First Act CCT
Mailing address 612 13th Ave North, Jax Beach, 32250

Gallery of Summer Camps and Class Shows

Snapshots in time

Based on stories told to the children from their Grandparents and Great Grandparents, the children will perform vignettes from the 1940's, 50's and 60's on Sat Dec 1st and Sat Dec 8th at  12 noon and 7:00pm.   Seating is free once parents and guests are seated.  At the Adele Grage Theatre.  We especially welcome older audience members to this show.

What Parents Say About Summer Camp

  • My daughter has participated in multiple camps and workshops with Ms Aine over the past few years. She has gained a wonderful creative outlet, a supportive circle of friends, increased self confidence, and many fun memories. Ms Aine provides exceptional training and loads of encouragement. She has a way of bringing out the best in each child!
    Anna Lipsey Farrin

  • C had such a great time at your camp. Thank you so much! We hope he can work with you again.
    Kittinee Pennella
  • Thank YOU so much…again…for giving the kids such a wonderful experience. A looks forward to this every summer. And we just love seeing her up there on stage in her element. She had such a wonderful time and I know the confidence she gains from her time with you in this program is shaping her in the most amazing way. And…her little sister asked me during the show if she could participate next summer…so you may be seeing two sisters in 2017! Much love and thanks to you Aine for another stellar performance and camp experience.
    Kristen Bankert 
  • Thanks for providing a wonderful experience. M really loved drama camp and we are interested in next summer and your other programs!
    Keli Coughlin 
  • My eight year old daughter participated in one of Aine's drama camps last summer and loved it so much that she signed up for drama class in the Fall and now again this spring. Aine is wonderful with children, inspires the creative process, and helps build confidence as well as performance skills.
    John Lucas

  • When my daughter  first joined Ms. Aine's drama camp in 2014, she was a shy five years old. By the time she turned seven, she not only became outgoing, but she also enjoyed entertaining her friends. Today, this little seven-year-old girl takes her drama class experience a step forward and is never tired of making films with her Stop Motion app at home. Thank you very much, Ms. Aine for making such great impact in my daughter's life in many ways!
    Vivian Guo
  • My daughter came home today wide eyed with the biggest smile on her face. She had SUCH a good time today. All afternoon she's been just the best version of herself. Thank you for everything that you do.
    Kathleen Fitzgerald
  • My granddaughter loves being in Aine's drama group every summer. She has been performing with First Act for 7 years and looks forward to going back every summer. Aine is great with all the kids. She is creative and fun to work with and works wonders at bringing kids "out of their shell!"
    Susan Bradshaw Miller
  • Thank you for providing such a wonderful creative space. My daughter has been raving about how much fun she is having and couldn't wait for the weekend to be over. This speaks overflowing volumes. As a parent to see our growing children's eyes sparkle is delight and wonder truly makes my heart sing...once again, thank you.
    Elana Byrd 

About

Aine Healy-Richardson is the executive director and drama teacher at The First Act Children's Community Theatre Inc. 

Aine is a native of Dublin, Ireland with a long history of working with children (including her twenty-five nieces and nephews).  She grew up in an Oral Tradition – both her parents were great Storytellers with a passion for poetry and her immediate and extended family are involved in Theatre in Ireland. Aine was also part of a Community Theatre Group in London, gaining experience on and off stage.  Aine spent fourteen years living and working in London where she worked as an Occupational Therapist in Community Mental Health.  As part of that training, she originally studied Therapeutic Drama which she put into practice with adults and seniors in Mental Health for over ten years. Part of the purpose of that work was to help people increase self-confidence in all aspects of communication, and to use creative drama techniques to explore and express emotions. This is still part of the focus of her work with Children.   But now she puts on plays too, and so much more!


Having moved to the Jacksonville Beaches  in 2001 to marry Wes, Aine has since combined her love for Drama and working with children.  Since 2005 Aine has taught classes at ABET Theatre,  Players By The Sea , The Ponte Vedra Cultural Centre, The Cathedral Arts Foundation at The Carver Centre, Discovery Montessori School, Tides Montessori School, Beaches Episcopal School, Atlantic Beach Elementary School and The Jordan Centre.

In 2008 Aine started The First Act and in 2010 formed a collaboration with ABET Theatre where she happily taught classes and camps until 2016.

In Oct 2016 The First Act was awarded a contract with The City of Atlantic Beach to proivde the children's theatre program at The Adele Grage Theatre in Atlantic Beach FL.  TFA are extremely appreciatiave to work in such a perfect environment for Children.  A small and intimate stage next to a playground and two blocks from the beautiful ocean.  Children walk, bike and skate to class and camp.  Thank you City of Atlantic Beach!

In August 2017 The First Act Children’s Community Theatre Inc was formed and became a non-profit 501(c)3 registered in the state of Florida. With a board of directors and many volunteers and supporters, The First Act CCT looks forward to working with children and seniors together on a regular basis and promoting the benefits of drama for all children, and Reminiscence for Seniors.  

This work is a collaborative effort by parents, children and volunteer artists, teachers and technicians.  

Wes Richardson has been a volunteer Technical Director for The First Act since it opened it's doors in 2008 and works on it's behalf in some way or another on a daily basis!

Anne Roberts has volunteered her skills and expertise to these children for over seven years, passing on her knowledge and creating all kinds of props and set pieces that serve to greatly enhance the experience of story-telling for the children.  

Mary Jo Evans has been volunteering her time at class and backstage for the past three years and brings a calm and nurturing influence to the work and is loved by the kids.

Rachel Dorrian a silent (and unpaid) partner for many years helped Aine build the program by tirelessly promoting and recommending to other parents and by being there to set up and break down on more occassions than can be counted.

Ingrid McCawley  has been a wonderful parent and advocate for this work and this program and has given a tremendous amount of time to it for many years.  We are delighted to have her serve as President of it's Board.

To all the above, and the many many more people who support Aine in this work, she thanks them heartily.  

“I am fascinated with stories and all the ways there are to tell them. Children are natural storytellers and I believe that they benefit enormously and get great satisfaction from this work. It is wonderful to see so many of my students go on to receive further training in theatre, but I believe studying drama helps all my students to develop communications skills, gain increased empathy and understanding of others, explore their emotions and, importantly, to have fun with a group of friends"  

Aine Healy-Richardson 2017

Board of Directors

P Ingrid McCawley  VP Louis Weimer   Tr Dorris Croasdell   Sec Ginny Brinkley

D Renee Faure Aine Healy-Richardson


What Our Parents Say

  • I think this week may have been life changing for my son! With all the extracurriculars that he has been involved in, acting camp now tops his list. It was gratifying for him to push himself outside of his comfort zone. Thank you for creating an emotionally safe environment for him to do so. The play was magnificent!
    I cannot thank you enough!
    Brooke Anderson
  • Our daughter loves this program. She has found what she loves. Ms Aine is so wonderful at casting the characters, encouraging the children and keeping it fun for the kids. We were amazed with the kids performance and will do it again and again. Thank you!
    Jenny Mons
  • Our son's first stage performance, playing Mr Shakespeare himself. He is born for the stage and BIG thank you to Aine Healy-Richardson and The First Act Theatre camp for making his first thespian experience absolutely amazingly magical. We want to join a class!!
    Jana Light
  • "We moved here from Los Angeles where our daughter had been involved in theater productions for the last three years. We were skeptical to find a program that was age appropriate and had the solid professional foundation we had in our LA program. Well, we found a great program and a great teacher in Aine! Her enthusiasm and energy just brought our daughter right in and captured her attention and imagination throughout the entire program. We look forward to seeing just what Aine has planned next.
    Lisa Peterson
  • This drama class is the BEST!! My daughter has been taking drama here for three years and LOVES it. Thanks for all your hard work.

    Shelly Baesler
  • When we signed our grand-daughter up for Aine's program, our focus was less on acting and more on helping her to become more confident in a group and to 'bring her out of her shell. Well, she is out!! She is about to start her 8th semester in Drama with Aine and not only is she a more confident child, she has truly blossomed in many ways. Aine has a gift for finding just the right level for each child's development and challenging them to really become involved in the learning process. Aine's own enthusiasm for her work is contagious. As a teacher for over twenty years myself, I am able to recognize the bond that Aine is able to create with all the children in her program and I feel lucky that my grand-daughter is one of them. 
    Patricia Szegi

A Midsumer Night's Dream for Kids

What Parents Said About Midsummer

  • As a parent (and audience member) I have to tell you how wonderful this weekend's performances were. The set was gorgeous, and the children truly rose to the occasion, their understanding of the Shakespearian language was fabulous - something you don't get all the time with much, older performers.
    And as a parent, I can't say enough good things about what Aine does. Her ability to work with the children and what she gives them is really special - she puts her heart and soul into the work, and it shows. Very few people could have pulled off a performance, of Shakespeare, with 27 kids in the cast (all under the age of 14).

    Rachel Dorrian
  • I wanted to let you know how much our entire family loved the performance of "A Midsummer Nights Dream" last weekend. Everything about it was magical...from the music and costuming to the terrific interpretation and acting to the celebration wedding at the end. What a wonderful way to welcome the spring here in Atlantic Beach!
    One comment I heard from another parent was "I think I understand and even like Shakespeare now!" Thank you and the board for bringing this level of entertainment, culture and magic to our community. And, of course, we are so grateful to have someone as passionate and creative as Aine directing and inspiring such genius.
    We look forward to more performances like this in the future. Not only does it give us a great cultural experience, but it also helps build an inspired community!
    Aurora Farber
  • My daughter was lucky enough to be in last weekend's presentation of Shakespeare's Mid-Summer Night's Dream, the culmination of Aine Healy-Richardson's children's drama program classes for the Fall and Spring. I don't know if you were able to see the show, but it was truly outstanding. It is such a coincidence that, just a few blocks away at the same time Saturday night, another Shakespeare comedy was being performed by UNF as part of their Shakespeare in the Park program. I have been telling friends that I have no doubt that the children's performance of MND was every bit as good as the college performance!!
    I must admit that when Aine first said that she wanted to do Mid-Summer Night's Dream I was a bit skeptical. Ten, 11 and 12 year-old's doing Shakespeare??!? But she pulled it off and did so with flying colors.
    Nick Speckman

Reminiscence Theatre

As part of her work as an Occupational Therapist Aine provided treatment for Seniors who were experiencing depression and social isolation. A weekly talking group called Reminiscence Therapy. Aine witnessed the benefits of this work in treating her patients and decided to invite local seniors to work with her students, not to treat depression this time, but as a way to promote inclusion, social interaction and inter-generational friendships. And to have fun with their peers remembering and celebrating their lives. 

What Kids Learned Through Reminiscence Theatre

  • I’ve learned that people in the “olden days'  did not have it easy; ironing hair with an iron instead of straightening, curling hair with rags and cans instead of curling irons, watching T.V. shows like Howdy Doody, Bonanza and many others. I’m sure us kids could NEVER live in that time! I mean, imagine it, black and white T.V.s with about 2 channels, no cell phones, no laptops, no ipads, iPod touches or any of the stuff kids do to entertain themselves nowadays. I have learned many things and am hoping to learn more!

    A Speckman 
  • The Reminiscence project has been a terrific experience! I learned a great deal of American history along the way, from victory gardens to the theme to Bonanza. However, the most important thing I learned was how to incorporate the seniors' experiences into my own style of acting to bring it to life for the audience. I'd like to thank everyone, from the seniors to Ms. Aine to the other kids I worked with.

    J Tucker
  • I enjoy seeing how happy the seniors get when they recall their memories. I liked hearing their stories. I can't wait to see their faces light up when they see us bring their memories to life. Thank you for letting me be a part of this experience.

    M Darkatsh
  • When I first started this drama class, I knew that some seniors would be telling stories from when they were kids. I was curious what kind of things I would hear and learn. When a lady told the story of how she got her braids inked by a boy sitting behind her in class, I thought that was really funny! A lot of people grew up during WWII, and it sounded pretty hard. I can’t imagine living like they did. You had to grow your own food, because food was rationed. They called those gardens Victory Gardens. What I learned was times back then were hard. One thing I didn’t like was how the girls always had to wear dresses and skirts. However, times back then were really a lot of fun because there were a lot of kids around to play with, and no video games to distract anyone. The Reminiscence Project has been a great experience and I can’t wait until the play performance!

    S Estes
  • What I learned on the way was the simple games that were played back in the day such as marbles. There were portable radios unlike what I've seen in older movies. I like bread so it was intersting to know back then the bread was delivered to their houses by the bread man. I also learned how easy it was for kids to board the train without parents and how to ride a train in a play. Most of all I learned kids back in the day are just like us kids today. We all like to play games and hang out with our friends. 

    J Harris
  • What I learned along the way is that things were extremely different back then. People now take things for granted, in the past people would think that things like
    fabric and chocolate were amazing. Instead of ice cream men, they had ice men and the kids would go visit him to get ice chips. Also people watched strange shows back then; when I saw clips of Howdy Dowdy I was freaked out. It was also very interesting to learn about how in the past they were masters of recycling, everything was reused and nothing was wasted. I really enjoyed talking to the seniors and learning about the past. History is one of my favorite subjects, so hearing about personal experiences from a person instead of a text book point of view was brilliant.
    S Selders 

What The Adults Got Up To

What The Adults Said About The Projects

  • The Friendships that have been formed in this group will be life long. This is a great way to teach children about theatre and where stories come from. I've been involved in a lot of theatre, and this has been the best experience yet.  Expect to see much more of us in the audience!
    Nancy Graeme
  • I believe the past is worth remembering and worth sharing. Life in our youth was so different. Memories that have faded to the back our minds have been unlocked by our weekly meetings. These wonderful women who I now consider to by my friends have helped me to recall moments in my past that I thought were long forgotten. The show was wonderful and the experience of making theatre with our stories was thrilling.
    Irene Duvall
  • The memories this group has stirred up are amazing, the stories I have heard from others are poignant, extremely interesting and enlightening. I will never forget the wonderful people I've met in the past twelve weeks.
    Dolores Nardino
  • I wanted to write and thank you for creating the "reminiscence project" and allowing C to be part of it. Besides being a wonderful show, the inter-generational friendships that occurred are priceless. C still calls Nancy "her senior" and when she has a chance to see her she gets so excited. Being in the audience and watching the women see their lives on stage was just amazing. Thinking about it still gives me goose bumps.

     The lasting benefits from this program went on long after the curtain went down - and for that I am so grateful.

     Thank you again, for creating such a wonderful program – and thank you Blue Cross Blue Shield and the Cultural Council for funding something so worthwhile in our community.

    Rachel Dorrian
  • I just wanted to reiterate my congratulations on such a wonderful culmination to the Reminiscence Project, funded by a BCBSF Arts & Cultural Education Grant. I thoroughly enjoyed “The Past as a Present” (as did my daughter!), and was so impressed with the top-notch quality of the vignettes: the children’s performances, the costumes and sets, the music, and historical detail. Most of all, it was apparent that the project was successful in fostering an extremely positive intergenerational experience. I sat behind the ladies from the senior center who had provided the memories that informed the production. They were absolutely beaming the whole time! I really think your project concept could serve as a model for other theater education programs.
     
    Thanks again for inviting me. It was a magical evening of theater!
    Amy Palmer 
     
  • Aside from the impact to our children in the drama class, a real bonding occurred amongst the senior citizen participants. The children were able to watch them reminisce about their past, and they saw the friendships that developed as each senior remembered and shared his or her story. By the end of the project and performance of the play, everyone lives were enriched in an immeasurable way.

    Ann von Thron

How To Support Our Mission

If you would like to support our mission to create access for all children, or to sponsor a Reminiscene Theatre project with local low income seniors, please contact us by email.  

Your donation is tax deductible as a charitible donation.

FOLLOW US

ADDRESS
Mailing Address
612 13th Ave North, Lower,
Jacksonville Beach, FL
FL 32250

Classes and Camps held at
The Adele Grage Theatre,
716 Ocean Blvd.
Atlantic Beach,
FL 32233 


CONTACTS
Email: ainehealy@thefirstactcct.org
Phone:  (904)  509 - 1472