CROTON-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. -- Robyn Ferracane started the children's theater program known as the Actor's Playground as the culmination of a lifelong dream.
With the group's one year anniversary coming up, Ferracane, of Croton-on-Hudson is focusing on making dreams come true for young actors throughout Westchester County.
The group will host a workshop Saturday at Jefferson Valley Mall in Yorktown. New students interested in acting in one of the group's many shows in the upcoming year can attend the workshop and register to join the group's summer camp that starts Monday.
"I discovered my love of teaching kids years ago hosting a few programs in Arizona but I really wanted to do something locally since moving here," Ferracane said. "We had been going through a difficult year but my husband said to me, 'this is something you love doing and it's something the kids here will love too.' And after I lost my job, I took it as a sign that it was time."
While she worked as a teaching assistant at Clear View School in Briarcliff Manor, Ferracane never stopped acting. She has performed as a professional actress doing regional theater, TV movies and voice overs.
"I think one thing that gives this company an edge is that I still work as an actress," she said. "So I'm not just teaching, but I'm someone who has the experience to really know what I'm talking about."
For 11-year-old Jessica Goetchius, the experience working in the Actor's Playground has been a dream. Jessica went from knowing very little about acting a year ago to getting lead roles in "The Wizard Of Oz," "Snow White" and "You're A Good Man Charlie Brown" and getting a role in Hendrick Hudson High School's performance of "Fiddler On The Roof."
"I was a little nervous at first when I started but once I kept doing it, it was a lot of fun," Jessica said. "It's so much fun getting up in front of people I don't know and performing and having fun with the people I'm with."
Ferracane said seeing Jessica's performances and its effect on the audience have reminded her why she started the company in the first place.
"Before these shows, no one had heard Jessica sing, not even her parents," Ferracane said. "When she first sang 'Somewhere Over The Rainbow' as Dorothy, her mom cried. That's what has made this so wonderful."