Acting up: Drama Kids helps children in Destin build confidence

Jessica Coker
From left, Ainslee and Erika Bobek, both nine, six-year-old Audrey Brown, seven-year-old Ellery Frana, five-year-old Presley Frana and AnnaSophia and Liam Brown, both five, with their Drama Kids teacher Toni Frana.

As Toni Frana stands in the front of a small classroom, her students sit quietly, listening to everything she has to say — hearing everything she has to say.

That's just one of the skills Frana teaches her students weekly in an hour-long drama program — Drama Kids.

Drama Kids is the worldwide leader in children's drama classes. The classes and camps help children build self-esteem, character, leadership skills, confidence, acting skills, public speaking skills and listening skills.

Frana got involved with the Drama Kids program in July of this year while living in Las Vegas.

When she and her family made the move south to Northwest Florida, Frana brought her Drama Kids experience with her.

"There's wasn't really anything like this that I know of in our area," said Frana, "so I wanted to try it out here."

Frana began teaching Drama Kids at the end of September to students throughout Okaloosa, Walton and Santa Rosa Counties at Smarts and Arts on Airport Road. The Drama Kids classes are open to students from five to 12 years old — but Frana says that age range may grow in 2013.

"We are looking to expand more with the middle schools," Frana said.

Drama Kids classes can be delivered Monday through Friday, in any public location that is free and open to the community — including public parks, recreation departments and community centers. The Drama Kids program can also be brought into area schools for an afterschool program.

The only weekly class Frana is currently teaching in Destin is held at Smarts and Arts on Airport Road, Thursday nights from 5 to 6 p.m.

According to Frana, the most important rule to remember while in a Drama Kids class is always have fun. And the kids have mastered it.

Two of her students who take her class at Smarts and Arts, five-year-old twins AnnaSophia and Liam Brown, tell The Log that their favorite part of Drama Kids is "everything."

As a group, Frana said the students enjoy the mini-play portion of each class the most.

During the mini-plays, students are broken up into smaller groups and given lines to recite. A popular theme for a Drama Kid's mini-play involves children making ice-cream or toys.

After the smaller groups have learned their parts, the class comes together  — reciting all of their lines, forming one skit.

Frana introduces the students to different characters, settings and environments, allowing them to act up in a positive way.

Frana said that it has always been important to her that her work add value in some way to people's lives — which is the real reason she got involved with Drama Kids.

"It's incredible to see the confidence children can build in just one hour a week," Frana said, "I can't imagine doing anything else!"

If you would like more information about Drama Kids call 279-4008 or visit