Research shows the far-reaching benefits of drama classes for children and teens–from increasing academic performance and public speaking skills to encouraging teamwork and self-expression. Not just for budding actors, these workshops are about embracing creative play, stimulating the imagination and building self-esteem.
“Kids also learn transferable skills like listening, responding, empathy and connection, flexible thinking, problem solving, and acceptance of other people’s ideas as valuable,” said Aleks Malejs, education coordinator at Theatre of Youth. “These abilities will carry them in any career they choose, and in life.”
Theatre of Youth offers several exciting workshops this summer, designed for grades K-12. Their expanded programming runs the gamut from basic story building and movement-based classes to improvisational techniques and group storytelling. New this year, workshops are offered as morning and afternoon sessions, with the option of enrolling in both. (With a different instructor for each, participants are encouraged to sign up for both morning and afternoon classes to get the most out of their experience.)
Classes are led by teaching artists, actual actors in the community who share their craft, talents and passion. While theatrical elements like using the voice as an instrument, stage presence and learning lines are embraced, instructors do it in a fun and sneaky way, according to Malejs.
More serious students can choose TOY’s new The Actor’s Edge workshop for grades 9-12. The pre-professional program is a collaboration between TOY and Shea’s Performing Arts Center for experienced young talent who plan to pursue the performing arts.
At the conclusion of all TOY workshops, there’s a performance for parents and friends, conceived and created by the students with support from staff. “By the end of the class, they’ve really bonded with each other and the teachers,” said Malejs. “I’ve seen kids come in really nervous on the first day, clinging to their mom’s leg. By day two, they’re are off and don’t even say goodbye.”
Workshops begin July 8 and run through August 23. Classes are filling up quickly, so don’t miss the opportunity to help your child spread their wings. Currently, workshops with the most availability include the afternoon sessions of Act 1 Creative Play (Grades 1-3) and Magic Door (K-2). See complete class schedule and register online here or call 716-884-4400, ext. 304. Workshops range from $150-$300 and scholarship assistance is available.