News Column

New acting class to treat students to Shakespeare

May 26, 2013


May 26--A Minersville thespian who has acted in Shakespeare plays in New York is planning to teach a class on the Bard to middle and high school students in Schuylkill County this summer.

"I think some students see Shakespeare as dusty, boring, something they have to sit behind a desk and read. What I want to show them is Shakespeare is alive. He is love and passion and violence and human. He tells very human stories," Emily Ehlinger, 30, said at Sovereign Majestic Theater, Pottsville, on Monday afternoon.

This is part of the Pottsville Gymnastic & Theatrical Center summer "theatrer class" program, and it's the third year the center has held theater classes, Sandy Kost-Sterner, a consultant for the GTC gymnastics program and director of the performing arts program.

"We've never done Shakespeare before," Kost-Sterner said Monday.

Since Ehlinger was available, it was possible, Kost-Sterner said.

"I decided to come back to Schuylkill County for the summer to spend some time with the family," she said.

While in the area, Ehlinger has also signed on to direct a production of "The Diary of Anne Frank," to be performed at the Sovereign Majestic in September.

Three of the classes Ehlinger will teach will be part of the GTC's Theatre Camps, Kost-Sterner said.

"All theater classes will be Shakespeare-based, but will also include other forms such as musical theater," Kost-Sterner said.

Each of those will last a week and the cost of admission is $95 per class. They will be held at Pottsville GTC at 206 N. Centre St. To register, call Kost-Sterner at 570-628-4966.

The classes, their descriptions and dates are as follows:

- "Once Upon A Time" for ages 5 to 10. "Go into the world of price and princess and happily ever after," Kost-Sterner said. It will be held during the GTC Theatre Camp from 9 a.m. to noon daily from June 17 to 21.

- "Around The World" for ages 8 to 14. This class will focus on theatre from different countries, Kost-Sterner said. It will be held during the GTC Theatre Camp from 9 a.m. to noon daily from June 24 to 28.

- "Acting Through Shakespeare" for ages 11 to 18. It will be held during the GTC Theatre Camp from 9 a.m. to noon daily from July 8 to 12. "Depending on how many people sign up, we might break that class up into sections," Ehlinger said.

Meanwhile, Ehlinger is planning to teach a "General Theatre Class" from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. from June 3 through the end of August. The schedule is still being developed, but the plan is to have hour-long classes for age groups including 5 to 7, 8 to 11 and 12 to 18, Ehlinger said.

"They will be $40 per month," Kost-Sterner said.

Anyone interested in those classes can contact Kost-Sterner.

"And I'm in talks to teach a class for people 18 and up because there actually is a lot of interest," Ehlinger said.

Born Feb. 19, 1983, Ehlinger is the daughter of Bert and Diane Ehlinger, Minersville. She is a 2001 graduate of Minersville Area High School. In 2005, she earned a bachelor's degree in theater from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

From 2008 to 2009, she was part of a theater group based in New York. Called "Bare Shakespeare," the company performed shows off-Broadway. For example, in October 2009, they put on a production of "Cymbeline" at Where Eagles Dare Theatre, 347 W. 36th St., New York, according to

Since 2010, Ehlinger has been working as an education artist and an actress at Shakespeare & Company, 70 Kemble St., Lenox, Mass.

"It's the most prestigious Shakespeare theater company on the East Coast. In spring 2012, I played 'Lady Macbeth' in an educational touring production of 'Macbeth.' We performed in the New England states. We do performances and workshops with students in high schools, performance workshops on Shakespeare actually," she said.

She'll be returning to work at Shakespeare & Company this fall.

It's important to encourage students to read and interpret Shakespeare's plays, from "Much Ado About Nothing" to "Hamlet."

In other matters, Ehlinger is working to find a cast for GTC's production of "The Diary of Anne Frank."

"This is the first play that Pottsville GTC will be producing," Kost-Sterner said.

Auditions were held Monday and another round of auditions will be held at the theater at 209 N. Centre St. from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.

"There are parts available for men and women ages 13 to 60," Kost-Sterner said.

Meanwhile, Pottsville GTC is also holding auditions for its 5th annual "Lil' Bits of Broadway," a show which features songs from Broadway shows, Kost-Sterner said.

There are parts for boys and girls ages 5 to 22 and there will be auditions at the theater at 6 p.m. June 3.

Ehlinger will also be directing the play "The Diary of Anne Frank."

Heading our Theatre program this summer is Minersville native Emily Ehlinger.


Will be held on Monday's at Pottsville GTC. All theatre classes are Shakespeare-based but also include others forms such as musical



All Camps will be held at Pottsville GTC and there will be a showcase at the end of the week for family and friends.

June 17-21

Once Upon A Time

(Ages 5-10) Go into the world of Prince and Princess and "Happily Ever After"

June 24-28

Around The World

(Ages 8-14) Travel to different countries to explore their theatre

July 8-12

Acting Through Shakespeare (Ages 11 & Up) Explore the world of William Shakespeare



This was the first show ever put on by Pottsville GTC and this year it will be celebrating its 5th Anniversary. This show is directed by Sandy Kost-Sterner. Auditions are Wedneday, May 22 5:00-6:30 and Monday, June 3 from 6:00-7:30 at the theater. The show is open to girls and boys ages 5-

22. Many of the cast members from the very first show will be participating this year. The show features songs from favorite Broadway shows.


Emily Ehlinger will direct the play "The Diary of Anne Frank" to be held at the Sovereign Majestic Theater in September. Emily was a member of the

National Tour of "The Diary of Anne Frank" Next auditions are Tuesday, May 28 at the Majestic Theater from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. This is the

first "play" that Pottsville GTC will be producing.

There are parts available for female and male ages 13-60.

Anne Frank female 12 -- 16 lead

Otto Frank male 40 -- 50 lead

Edith Frank female 40 -- 50 supporting

Margot Frank female 15 -- 19 supporting

Peter Van Daan male 15 -- 18 supporting

Petronella Van Daan femaie 40 -- 50 supporting

Putti Van Daan male 40 -- 50 supporting

Jan Dussel male 45 -- 60 supporting

Miep Gies female 25 -- 35 supporting

Mr. Kraler male 35 -- 60 supporting

Nazi Soldiers & Officers 18 -- 40 came


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