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Meet Alysia Giakoumas of The Playground Acting Program

Today we’d like to introduce you to Alysia Giakoumas.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Alysia. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
When I was little and people asked me “what do you want to be when you grow up” I would always say either an actor or a teacher. As I got older and had the opportunity to be mentored by my acting teacher, Jeanine Gangloff-Levy who not only shaped me to be who I am as a person today but also made me come to the realization… Why not both? With her guidance, I got accepted to Southern Methodist University’s BFA Acting Program. I got on a plane from my hometown of West Palm Beach, Florida and flew to Dallas, Texas were in my third year at SMU I took a class called Creative Entrepreneurship. My professor James Hart, who is also the director of Arts Entrepreneurship at Meadows School of the Arts and who has won numerous pedagogical awards and innovation honors would listen to me in his class as I would pitch my idea of my dream acting program. An acting program where I would teach soft skills like confidence, public speaking skills, and communication skills through the art of theatre-based acting techniques, I called it my “30 years plan.”

I never thought I would be able to have the resources or support to begin my business in college. I had lots of experience teaching acting and creating programs at schools and summer camps but no idea how to actually take the steps to begin my own business! For god’s sake, I was an actor not a business major! He encouraged me to apply to the Big iDEAS pitch contest and pitch my idea in order to win $1,000 in start-up money and win access to the SMU incubator where I would have a classroom, an office, and a conference room for FREE! I thought about all the children and adults here in Dallas that could benefit from this program, and decided to go for it and WON! Since then, I have received other grants to help fund The Playground Acting Program, thanks to SMU’s many opportunities for their student entrepreneurs. I currently run my classes out of the SMU Incubator’s beautiful classroom in SMU Expressway Towers along with a few online acting classes during this ‘Corna Season.’ (Which have been a total blast BTW!)

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Of course, entrepreneurship isn’t easy but I’ve learned that in order for your dreams to come true I need to take risks, adapt, and not be afraid to fail. When Coronavirus hit we were in the middle of our eight weeks program for children ages 7-15. At first, I told the parents we would postpone the classes until after business began opening again when I realized that wouldn’t happen anytime soon I was crushed. I thought to myself ” how the heck could I do an acting class online?” I started researching online acting classes. I even participated in a few to see how others had adapted and was amazed! I went back to my lesson plans and adapted the lessons I had planned to do in person to online. We did a mix of group sessions and individual sessions and the students LOVED it, we even still had our final showcase where we invited family and friends to join the video call as audience members. The best part of the challenges and obstacles I’ve faced is learning to adapt and keep going!

So, as you know, we’re impressed with The Playground Acting Program – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of and what sets you apart from others.
The Playground Acting Program is a theatre-based acting program for children and young adults. The students participate in interactive acting classes both in person or online that teach soft skills like public speaking skills, oral and physical communication skills, empathy, confidence, concentration, and self-care all through the art of acting. We have adapted acting techniques that are taught at the top universities for BFA in acting and made them accessible for beginners to intermediate students to gain from. We have witnessed students’ lives transform through learning these skills.

Although some of the students who participate in our classes want to be actors, a lot of our students join our program because they are new to Dallas and want a sense of community, or have a fear of public speaking or the parents want their child to work on their communication skills, or the student simply wants to be apart of something creative. Our classes don’t just teach you acting techniques but we teach you how to directly apply these skills to your everyday life. Think of it as an acting class mixed with aspects of psychology and sociology with a teacher who encourages you to be your most confident self. No matter what career our students want to pursue in the future, we create confident, self-assured humans who will flourish in their future both professionally and personally.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
We will to continue to offer online classes so we can reach an audience all over the USA. In the Fall, we will offer two 8 Week Acting Programs, one for ages 7-15 and one for ages 16-26. Follow us on social media @theplaygrounddallas for updates about our upcoming free trial classes and programs.

Pricing:

  • 8 Week Acting Program Tuition is $175

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Savier Losornio

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