Nathanael and Anna Fisher want to turn children’s stage fright into fortitude.

The couple, which is the brains behind the new Emerald Coast Theatre Company, told The Log that the most important thing they hope the students take away from their class is self-confidence.

"When a child is comfortable with themselves, and their acting, that's special," said Nathanael.

The two formed the Emerald Coast Theatre Company in June of 2012 after realizing that the area was lacking one thing — live theater classes.

The young, slightly nomadic, couple moved around for more than 10 years, never really laying down roots, until they returned to Anna's hometown of Destin, where they witnessed the growth in the area in the past decade.

"There is live theater in the area — The Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation, but nothing really for educational purposes," said Nathanael, the executive and artistic director of the fledgling company.

So, after lots of "prayer and conversation, this dream we had always kind of been working towards took off," said Anna, who is the associate artistic director.

With classes starting on Tuesday, Jan. 22, the Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation will join the Emerald Coast Theatre Company to offer students at Destin Elementary School a ten-week after school theater program.

This program is specifically designed for students in second through fourth grade, and it's intended to teach young thespians not only the art of theater acting, but the proper techniques and foundation.

"You can't run before you walk," according to Nathanael, adding that participants will learn creativity, character work, memory-building-techniques, communication and listening skills.

Looking back on a class she taught years ago, Anna tells The Log about one of the most rewarding days she's ever experienced on stage.

"After a production, this little girl was crying, balling her eyes out, so I asked her why she was crying," said Anna. "Her response was, 'I've never been so proud of myself before.' It was amazing."

Registration forms are being accepted through the Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation on a first-come, first-serve basis.

For more information or to register, please contact the Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation at 650-2226 or

For more information about the Emerald Coast Theatre Company, please contact them at 687-1637 or

"There is a growing demand to offer a more extensive cultural program for children's education theater," said Marcia Hull, the executive director of the Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation. "This alliance with the newly-formed Emerald Coast Theatre Company will expand our All Kinds of Art outreach program to enrich the performing arts educational experience to the children of our community."