The Stage Awaits – Will Your Kid Step On?
You might not know, but Civic Theatre is much more than just dazzling performances. The School of Theatre Arts also finds its home in the historic building on Division.
The robust, award-winning program offers a variety of introductions to theatre from acting to dance to backstage technical work. It’s one of the country’s leading and most comprehensive community theatre education programs.
Their goal is to provide hands-on opportunities for students to experience the beauty of theatre through classes, camps, and workshops.
Below is a list of ways that your student can deepen their knowledge of theatre and make their way to the Civic Theatre stage.
1 – Take a Class
Classes are the perfect place to start for any student with interest in theatre. With classes starting at age 4 and going all the way to adults, no age group is missed in the curriculum. All classes are led by experienced theatre professionals who are able to give a first person perspective on anything from being on the stage to creating the costumes that you see in a show.
Each term allows students to focus on the areas they are most interested in. You can dive into anything from stage makeup to puppetry. Many of the actors that you see in performances started with these classes – both young and old!
2 – Sign up for Summer Camp
Each summer the school offers a summer camp program where students are able to spend a week with professional theatre artists learning all aspects of theatre. Their days are filled with creativity and collaboration with other students who are passionate about the art of theatre as well. This is another great introduction for students to explore different aspects of theatre.
3 – Performance Block
Performance Block is an opportunity for students to jump into a mainstage production. Students (4th grade on up) are walked through the typical show process from auditioning to the performance, in a condensed period. They work with professional theatre staff including directors, stage managers, music directors, choreographers, and technicians to ensure that they are given the true mainstage experience.
This year, the Performance Block students presented Willy Wonka, Kids and Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing some to a sold out house! This is a great way for students who have taken some foundational classes to move to the next level.
*There are some prerequisites for this program so make sure to check the Civic Theatre website for those requirements.
4 – Hit the Road With Traveling Troupe
An important aspect of theatre is bringing joy to your audience and giving back to your community. The schools’ annual Traveling Troupe shows students how important this is. Each year, this outreach program offers local schools and community venues the opportunity for live theatre to come to them. It’s always free of charge and just has the mission to bring the art of theatre to people who might not have access otherwise.
Traveling Troupe brings the sets, sound, equipment, costumes, crew, and actors…all they need is an audience! This is great way for students to participate in a show while learning the importance of sharing your talents with your community in a direct way. Now in its 27th year, Traveling Troupe has played for more than 160,000 children and adults!
5 – Dive Into SRTI (Summer Repertory Theatre Intensive)
One of the most comprehensive and unique programs in the school’s impressive list is the Summer Repertory Theatre Intensive (also known as SRTI). There offer two tracks: Performance and Production. The performance group focuses on acting while the Production students get to learn more about design and technical work.
Students spend their afternoons in classes with theatre professionals and their evenings in rehearsals. They also work with industry professionals from all over the country through a Masterclass with Actor’s Gymnasium in Chicago. Geared for students interested in a career in theatre, this is an opportunity for them to soak up all aspects of theatrical performance while preparing to be part of the two final shows in a Civic Theatre season.
*While theatre experience is not required to audition, those with little or no theatre experience may find this program to be extremely challenging.
What are you Waiting For?
Whether your student is a season veteran of the stage or looking to begin their journey into the world of live theatre, the School of Theatre Arts provides lots of opportunities to help facilitate their next steps.
If you have an aspiring thespian or backstage technical genius in your family, make sure to check out all that the school has to offer. And, mark your calendars for the SRTI performances of Little Women and School of Rock this summer!