Behind the scenes at Orlando Shakespeare Theater

Youth & Teen Acting Classes–Where the magic happens!

Beginning on September 26 and running through October 31, 2015, our Fall 2015 Youth & Teen Acting Classes are just around the corner! Wondering whether to enroll your child (Age 4 – Grade 12)? Children’s Series Coordinator Jennifer Bonner discusses how our classes benefit “the whole person”, while having a whole lot of fun too!


Classes2015_3hrOST: How are Orlando Shakespeare Theater’s Youth & Teen Acting Classes different from others offered in the community?
JB: At Orlando Shakes we really focus on the education portion of the program. We have a “Shareformance” at the end of each six week session, where the students share what they’ve learned with their family and friends, but the bulk of material is devoted to educating the students as a whole person. We give them tools they can use in life, such as the concept of the “actor’s toolbox” (voice, body, and imagination), and we really hone in on that. We aren’t striving to produce stars. We just want our students to learn about themselves and others, as well as theater and artistic integrity. It’s a sneaky way to educate while they are having fun at the same time.

OST: How do we cater each class for specific age groups? Is there a core standard they all share?
JB: Our classes focus on skill sets that benefit students on stage as well as in everyday life. They celebrate the process of learning, experimenting, taking risks, and challenging expectations by focusing first on acting, then movement, and, finally, Shakespeare’s words. Alone or as a package, this training is valuable for beginning actors as well as aspiring young professionals.

OST: Seems like this Fall’s classes are based on some of the shows we’re producing during our 2015-16 Season. What characters can students look forward to exploring?
JB: Older students will be exploring Peter Pan from Peter and the Starcatcher; all of the zaney knights from Monty Python’s SPAMALOT; Trinculo, Stephano, Caliban, Prospero, and Ariel from Shakespeare’s The Tempest; and Pericles, Dionyza, Cleon, and Marina from Shakespeare’s epic tale Pericles.

Classes2015_1hrLittle ones will learn with Jack and Annie from the Magic Tree House book series (and our Fall Children’s Series production, A Ghost Tale for Mr. Dickens), as well as best friends Gerald and Piggie from the popular Mo Willems’ book series and our Spring Children’s Series production of Elephant and Piggie’s “We are in a Play!”.

Our hope is that by including the stories from the season in our classes, students will be excited about our productions and will become more invested in the theater. They’ll begin to think of the Theater as theirs. And that’s what it is–we’re here to serve the community.

OST: Do students from our classes and camps ever have the opportunity to be cast in Orlando Shakespeare Theater productions? How can these connections help any aspiring young actors?
JB: Anyone in the community is able to audition for our season each April. Many of our current and previous students have auditioned for past seasons and, when the production calls for it, numerous kids have been cast in child and young adult roles. Many have also had the opportunity to work as understudies. For students that want to pursue acting as a profession, auditioning is always valuable, and we welcome and encourage them to do so with us.       

OST: Why is Theater important for kids–even if they don’t intend on pursuing it as a career choice?
JB: Theater has so many dimensions. It’s a social art. It’s a history lesson of the minds and hearts of people throughout time. It teaches us compassion, acceptance, and tolerance by allowing us to walk around in someone else’s shoes. It helps with expressing feelings and emotions, with public speaking, and with confidence. It teaches us that it’s okay to make a mistake because ultimately, there is no right answer in theater. It’s what you feel. It’s what you see. It teaches us to think outside the box–to be brave. And isn’t that what we all want to be?


Registration is still open for our Fall 2015 Youth & Teen Acting Session! Visit us online for details.
Additional questions? Contact Jennifer at (407) 447-1700 ext. 254.

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