NORTH CREEK Area students in grades three through six have been given the opportunity to nurture their inner thespians, thanks to a new youth theater program put on by the Adirondack Touring Theater in collaboration with Our Town Theatre Group in North Creek. Two age groups, grades 3-6 and grades 7-12, will be performing in two separate plays that will be included in Our Town Theatre Groups Annual Free Community Holiday Show, Christmas Memories, to be held at the Tannery Pond Community Center on Saturday, Dec. 1 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 2 at 2 p.m. Colleen Doyle, instructor and director of the youth theater and co-founder of the Adirondack Touring theater, had been interested in launching a theater group for kids in the area for some time, but had been unable to due to lack of funding. This year, the youth theater was approved for a grant generously given by the Community Fund for the Gore Mountain Region, which not only made the program a reality, but also made it possible for students to attend for free. With the help of stage manager Mary Frasier, Doyle has spent the last several weeks preparing her students for the stage. Each age group will have attended eight classes to ready themselves for two fifteen minute performances. But the classes arent just rehearsals, they are also meant to teach the students about theater in general. Theyre rehearsing for the actual piece, but are also working on acting development and other skills that they could then apply to future performances. Said Doyle, Weve talked about auditioning, developing characters, stage presence, projecting and interpreting scripts and thing like that. Doyle has been pleased with the efforts of her students, who represent a variety of different towns and school districts. They really worked hard, its been fun. She commented, You know, its a fair amount to do in only eight classes. Theyve got wonderful energy and they come here really excited and ready to work. The students have responded very well and recognize that being able to participate in a youth theater is a special opportunity in such a small area. Ive been acting for more than half of my life, said 12-year-old Maraena Testa, who lives in Chestertown, Since theres not a lot of acting up here so I just try to get into anything I can. I know Colleens a very good director and Ive worked with her once before. Testa admitted that once in a while preparing for the big day can be nerve wracking. Sometimes it can be chaotic, but once the play starts it goes along very smoothly, she said. One of the best parts about acting is just kind of getting to be something youre not for a change. Montana Linnberg from Wevertown, who is ten, said that she joined because she wanted to practice singing in front of large crowds of people. I like everything about it. she said, Were learning how to act, and were learning how to cooperate with each other. The younger group will be performing Mother Gooses Christmas Surprise by Claire Boiko while the older students will be putting on S.O.S for Santa by Helen Louise Miller. The Christmas Memories program, which will feature the youth theaters productions along with performances by The Dont Quit Your Dayjobbers, John and Jackie Mallory and various other community groups, will be free. There is, however, a suggested donation of a canned good or personal care item to be donated to the North Country Outreach Center. There will also a be a community soup social held before the event at 6 p.m. on Saturday and 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, as well as a tree lighting ceremony of the Gore Mountain Region Chamber of Commerce holiday tree following the program on Saturday evening. All events will take place at the Tannery Pond Community Center in North Creek. A far as the future of the youth theater, Doyle hopes to be able to continue to offer classes in coming years. We would really like to continue something like this. she said, The neat part about it is that this time we were able to incorporate the performance of their short 15 minute plays into the Theatre Groups free holiday show.