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Information on Drama/Theater Class for kids

 
Tips For Taking Kids To The Theatre Why Participate In Theatre Find a Children's Theatre Plays for Children
Drama Class for Kids

 

AGE GROUP BOYS AND GIRLS PRE-SCHOOL - ADULT

Age Requirements?

Drama classes develop confidence and speaking skills, serves as a terrific introduction to acting and begins a life-long enjoyment of creative arts. The skills learned, such as self-discipline, responsibility, teamwork, setting goals, and concentration skills will be used throughout your child's life.

The age requirements for drama vary based on the school and the programs that they offer.  The youngest age that you can start your child is around 3 years old.  Classes are normally divided by age or grade level.  For example ages 3-6, 7-11, 12-18.  Many classes run weekly throughout the school year and some are divided into Fall, Winter and Spring sessions. Summer Camps are offered and are normally eight weeks over the summer.

Workshops are tailored for specific age groups, the level of work changes depending on the age of the class so students are encouraged and challenged at all times.

Young children are introduced to the world of theater and performing through the use of games, activities, and creative play.   Curriculum for older children varies by location but often includes some or all of the following: creative movement, structured improvisation, language development, scripted dialogue and monologue, voice development, stage makeup and application,  and end of session productions.  These types of classes are considered to be technique classes, which are the foundation of solid performing arts education.   The skills gained in these classes will carry over into all facets of dramatic expression.    Production classes stage full-productions and spend much of the time in the classes practicing and rehearsing.  This is where the skills learned in the technique classes are put to good use.

When do I need to register??

This will vary based on the school.  Drama programs are anywhere between 6 -10 weeks or 3 - 6 months depending on the type of program.   This gives you the ability to join at various times throughout the year.  You will need to contact the school to obtain this information.  Some schools will allow you to join in the middle of a session and will prorate your cost but others will not. 

Registration can usually be done in person, by phone, by mail or fax.  In addition, some organizations will allow you to register on line.  Normally these programs are very popular and space can be limited so don't delay registration or you may miss out!

 

Commitment Level ?

Classes range from anywhere between 45 minutes and 3 hours.  Normally classes for young children will be one hour and two hours for older children.  A summer camp or some production classes can be 3 hours long.  Time will be determined by the class and level that your child is participating in.  When you register for acting classes you are signing up for a session.  Benefits in acting are realized over a period of time, so year round participation is encouraged.  Good attendance is imperative.  Absences and tardiness will result in your child missing important instruction time.

Practice is extremely important when your child is participating in a production.  Remember that practice makes perfect. So it is crucial that you spend time helping your child do their homework through out the rehearsal process to ensure their success.

How to help kids practice their lines for a play:

Practicing their lines is very important.  It make be difficult or overwhelming for your child if you try and learn lines all at once.   The real trick is to encourage your child to learn their lines a section at a time.  Each evening review their lines with them.  By working at the lines a little at a time, you are helping your child achieve optimum story, plot, and line retention.  Additionally, you can have them write down the lines on a separate piece of paper a few times a week  to reinforce their memory. You can also have them record their lines on a tape or CD and then play them back while doing other tasks like riding in the car. 

Children sometimes have difficulty trying to stay in character throughout the performance. To prevent character breaks, help your child to do a little research to familiarize them with their part and the time period of the play.  Go online, rent a period movie, or visit a local library to help set the stage. 

Encouraging your child to project their voice will help  serve him/her on stage.  A good technique for teaching this concept is called The Moving Beanbag. Essentially how it works is a beanbag or other object is placed at a location directly in front of the actor. The actor must then speak his or her lines to the object, as if the object were listening. After the actor has read a few lines, the beanbag is moved a few feet back, and the actor must read his/her lines, again, this time a bit louder so that the beanbag can still hear what he/she is saying. This continues for a few more times until the beanbag is now 20 or 30 feet away from the child, and the child must allow himself to raise his decimal level so that the beanbag can hear him/her. Be careful that the child doesn’t mistake making his/her voice louder for the beanbag to hear him, as the same thing as screaming.

 

How Much will Lessons cost?

You will find a difference in price for classes between cities or sponsoring organizations.  Since some organizations must also bear the cost of additional facility rentals for performances or other specialized presentations they will charge an additional fee above the class price.  You can expect to pay approximately $150 - $160 per session.  You may also be charged an annual registration/membership fee of anywhere between 15.00 to 40.00 in addition to your tuition. 

 

Theater Terms

Acoustics: The science of sound.

Act:  What an actor does

Ad Lib :  A shift away from the script

Aisle : A passage through the seating.

Backstage: The part of the stage and theater which is out of the sight of the audience.

Bridge: A walkway, giving access to technical and service areas above the stage.

Casting: The process of the director or others choosing the actors for a production.

Choreographer:  The individual who designs and creates the dance elements and arrangements for a show.

Company: The cast, crew and other staff associated with a show.

Cue: The command given to technical departments to carry out a particular order. Or the signal an actor uses to begin a line or movement.

Curtain: The drapery which hides the stage from the audience.

Dress Rehearsal: A full rehearsal, with everything brought together.

Footlights: Lights that are sometimes recessed into the front edge of the stage, used to stop shadows made by overhead lighting.

House: The audience or auditorium.

House Lights: The theater lighting which is usually faded right before a show.

Orchestra:  The musicians providing the musical backing for a show.

Orchestra Pit: The sunken area in front of the stage where the orchestra play during a performance.

Props: Furnishings, set dressings, and any other item large or small that is not considered scenery, electrical, or wardrobe.

Spotlight: A light that shines down on a stage that shines on a group of people or one person.

Stage left/right: the audience's point of view when looking at a stage.

Stage Manager: In charge of making sure things get done.

Sound Check: Testing the sound system before a show and checking each speaker.