Several neighborhood elementary schools are providing opportunity for budding actors with an after-school drama club.

“Other than just being fun, it does a lot to build self-confidence,” says Beverly VanHartesvelt, a parent who instigated a drama club for students at Moss Haven Elementary School.

“Some of these kids started out being shy, and by the end of the year, they were up on stage performing,” VanHartesvelt says. “They really seem to come out of their shell.”

The little entertainers participate year-round in the drama club, which is sponsored by Dallas Children’s Theater at Moss Haven, Wallace and Hamilton Park, and soon at Lake Highlands Elementary.

Students meet once a week after school for an hour and 15 minutes to develop a play of their own and practice acting skills, VanHartesvelt says.

The Dallas Children’s Theater provides professional actors, who coach the children and help them write a play.

Last year’s play at Moss Haven was titled “Mystery at Sea.”

Moss Haven’s after-school drama club director is Jessica Lowe, who also has been teaching the children to mime.

The club is open to all of each school’s elementary students and is divided into three groups according to age.

At the end of April, club members will take what they’ve learned to stage and perform their play at the Dallas Children’s Theater.

VanHartesvelt, who dabbled in drama during her high school years, says she’s happy to help bring more cultural arts into our schools.

“The program is a safe venue for kids to express themselves,” she says.

If you would like more information about making the program available at your school, call Nancy Schaeffer at 214-978-0110.