Nadia Affolter Lee loves theatre and has performed since she was a child, in plays with large casts to two-person productions. From performing, directing, producing and even writing, Nadia has embraced every role in the world of theatre. She is also a certified teacher, with a major in Theatre and geography from Queen’s University in Kingston and has been an educator for the past 15 years.
Those thoughts tie together well for Nadia. For years she taught in the Durham Board, where she used her drama training to stimulate and energize students. In a successful production at Ajax High School, Nadia’s students also learned a lesson about compassion, as the proceeds of their performances were donated to a homeless youth shelter.
Nadia’s inspiration for directing her love of theatre into a business took shape while she was on maternity leave. She tested the water at first by extending her time off to offer theatre workshops in local schools across all grades and through private classes. She called her business Imagine Nation Theatre Company.
She developed a wide variety of workshops aimed at student audiences from Kindergarten to grade 12, incorporating curriculum expectations as well as school or board initiatives. All programs build social and communication skills, develop confidence and offer stress management strategies in a safe environment. Programs for youngsters focus on fun, movement and character, and at the senior levels the view broadens to include writing, directing and set design.
Last spring she and her young family relocated to Cavan. Covid had put a damper on her business, but in May, she decided to put up her shingle to offer theatre workshops to students through their classes- their virtual ones, that is. She was not expecting the deluge of requests that followed. Twenty-six classes received virtual workshops last June, ranging from one hour creative play for junior classes to thought-provoking half day workshops for more mature students. The appetite for something new after months of virtual class routine made her audiences particularly receptive, and Nadia was amazed at how even the youngest students remained focused and cooperative during her workshop sessions.
Last week, Nadia began to offer in-person workshops at the Cavan Monaghan Community Centre. Individual workshops from dramatic games and activities for the very young to creative writing/playwriting for older students, are available, with age-specific targets and participant limits in place. There are plans for more intensive workshop series beginning in January to delve deeper into the theatrical performance, development and production processes, with some adult opportunities as well.
Skills developed in these workshops are relevant to everyone. Dramatic exercises allow participants to explore and connect with various emotions and different characters. Nadia believes that taking on different roles allows participants to discover new places, people and better understand and overcome obstacles. Communication skills from reading facial cues and body language, to improving movement and vocal techniques to better understand and be better understood are developed in these sessions. And most importantly, participants have fun. To learn more about this new local business, visit the website at www.imaginenationtheatre.ca. KG