My Approach to Teaching:

Goal: confident stage presence

When we look at ways that stage fright and anxiety come up for us in a group setting, we gain insights from different viewpoints. Trying to manage the complicated emotions wrapped around performance anxiety when you’re alone (especially when you feel pressure from a presentation or performance you’re about to give) can increase fears exponentially. In this constructive group class, chosen by and made for you, we take time to help each other know in our bones that: 1) We’re not alone with the horrible butterflies, dry mouth, and the wondering if this is what a panic attack feels like, and 2) It’s going to be okay because a small group of supportive souls (including me, a kindly drama therapist) can provide tools to take into your next presentation prep session or rehearsal.

What is that initial hindrance when we speak our first words in front of an audience? What helps us grow, be confident and have fun? We will look for specific, grabbable tools throughout this class and will practice them together to help you foster a more grounded and supported self when we’re not together.

Our group will get you, will have your back, and will help you experience calm presence so you can bring your whole, unperturbed self to public speaking.

My Perspectives on Training for the Industry:

Uproot Fears/Unleash Stage Presence will be useful to anyone who is ready to explore and work through their own barriers with stage fright and anxiety about stepping into a spotlight. It is certainly for those in the performance industries if they need to find more joy and less worry in their work, but is also suitable for people working in other industries — doctors, lawyers, teachers, executives, business owners, or anyone who wishes to feel more confident standing up and speaking in front of others. 

Meet Luke Wallens:

Luke Wallens is a Registered Drama Therapist through the North American Drama Therapy Association, specializing in sociodrama and group problem-solving. He’s formulated workshops based on how to deal with bullying, self-advocacy, relinquishing control, and reconnection. He creates a playful environment to explore agreement, imagination, cooperation, respect, and boundaries. His drama therapy work tends to be improv-based and includes consultation for neurotypical group social dynamics as well as social skills for neurodiverse adults, teens, and children. He cultivates a sense of well-being and balance in any kind of group.

In addition to his work in ACC Continuing Education, Luke teaches through ACC Adult Education, u 

Luke has worked as Program Coordinator of Expressive Arts at The Arc of the Capital Area and in a multitude of capacities between teaching, improvisation, and writing with ZACH Theatre, Merlin Works Institute, The Hideout Theatre, The Institution Theater, The Paramount Story Wranglers, Move Your Tale and On & Off The Stage, and the AISD Greater Opportunities Project. He has a background in playwriting, grant writing, copywriting, improv, and acting in scripted plays. 

Luke learned improv through Hideout Theatre and Coldtowne Theater as well as musical improv through Merlin Works. He has been performing in B. Iden Payne Award-winning silent improv troupe, Golden, since 2015, has written and acted in the queer sketch comedy troupe, Martini Ranch, and has played in various improv shows, most notably Big Gay MusicalDanger! The Improvised Lifetime Original Movie and The Next Chapter. He has taught improv to kids and teens with disabilities through Hideout’s Building Connections program and continues his drama therapy work in collaboration with Shannon Stott’s Improv On & Off The Stage. 

Luke holds a master’s degree from The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in Collaborative Theatre: Writing for Performance and a B.A. in Drama from Colorado College.

Photography credit: Steve Rogers