Q&A: Jana Siciliano, Screenwriting Teacher, at the Forum

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The Metuchen Forum Theatre is gearing up for a new semester of creative arts classes, beginning the first week of February. Instruction in stage acting, improvisation, scene study, stand-up comedy and screenwriting as well as music lessons will be offered to both children and adults of all ages.

This is the first in a series of Metuchen Matters profiles about the Forum instructors and classes, as we would like to help bring visibility to this historic Theatre's revival and its goal to enhance our community's access to the arts through live performance theatre, musicals, concerts, films and more.

Q&A with Forum Theatre teacher, Jana Siciliano

What class will you be teaching at the Forum?

 I am teaching various Screenwriting classes for children, for teens and for adults. I'm a working screenwriter and have an MFA in film from Columbia University--my latest screenplay is making the rounds, so I think I offer both practical and creative guidance for young writers. Often, people think that screenwriting would be a challenge for young children, but I have taught it privately and kids are very open to the format. It is easy and accessible and it further enhances all the elements of good writing that kids are learning in their Language Arts classes.  And, it is fun! You can work your story out by acting it out. I've had students who are actors who really enjoyed screenwriting for that reason--communicating cinematically is an active experience!

What made you decide to teach at the Forum?

Metuchen Matters had been at the forefront of helping the Forum relaunch its programs. When Karin Leone asked us about publicizing her search for teachers, I volunteered to teach myself because I wanted to be part of a new program and seeing it grow, right here in our town!


I have experience with one-on-one, private instruction, and I am looking forward to teaching a wide range of students in larger groups. The energy that is created by writers working together to exchange ideas and share their work is very exciting and a great lesson in teamwork and camaraderie--artists don't have to be combative and competitive. It's more fun to work together and everybody wins!


What is your longer-term home for the Forum?

 I think that the Forum Theatre arts program will continue to grow and that the Theatre overall will benefit central New Jersey for a long time to come. Like that famous line from FIELD OF DREAMS, "If you build it, they will come." Growing the format over the next couple of years is imperative and requires patience on the part of the staff, the administration and the community.


  I think that Metuchen and its environs will benefit from the Forum as a fully-functional all-encompassing arts center, with performances that will eventually be created by its very own students.


 It is pretty challenging to be an artist in this economy, and I hope that we will be able to reach burgeoning talents, young and old, and help them get a leg up on their personal creativity. This leads to realizing the wonderful benefits that come with hard work and teamwork - including enhanced self-esteem, pride and enhanced communication and writing skills.

For more information visit www.forumtheatrearts.org

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