Summer is an exciting and busy time here at Civic Theatre’s School of Theatre Arts. From summer camp to the SRTI program, our home here on Division is full of life with students of all ages, theatre professionals, and teachers. To share more about this nationally recognized aspect of our organization, we got some of the most commonly asked questions answered by Associate Director, Allyson Paris.
How many children participate in the youth theatre programs on a yearly basis?
We hit just over 1500 students this past year! About 570 in Summer Camp and another 900+ in after school programming. We also serve 3500 or so via Traveling Troupe performances, and thousands with our school matinees.
For those that don’t know, tell us a bit more about Traveling Troupe.
We go to 12 schools per year, and aim primarily for GRPS schools. Typically we see 300 kids in the audience at each school. We have also added several community venues in the last 2 years! This year our community venues included: Greenville Area Community Center, Cook Arts Center, Grand Rapids Public Library, Boys & Girls Club, and Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. The actors are all VOLUNTEERS! And it is generously underwritten by the Flood Family — allowing us to keep the entire program FREE OF CHARGE for schools/venues and audience members.
Another large aspect of the school is Summer Camp. What can families expect?
We have camps for students 4 years old-12th grade. Early Explorers (Pre-K/Kindergarten), Creative Quest (1st/2nd), and Dramatic Discover (3rd-6th) all rotate through all of the exciting aspects of theatre: acting, dance, music, and design/tech. We have local playwrights craft scripts specifically for their age groups so that everyone has a chance to shine in their Friday performance on the MainStage! 7th-12th graders are able to choose between a fully staged One Act play or Musical (or some students even do both!) which is put together in one incredible week and performed on our MainStage to a paying audience. This summer’s productions of Shrek, Jr and Robin Hood were high quality, impressive, and intense. Parents, students, staff were all beyond delighted by the magical performance the students were able to create in just one short week!
What is Summer Repertory Theatre Intensive (SRTI)?
SRTI is a comprehensive, unique program for student who are considering a career or college major in theatre performance or production. It has two tracks: Performance and Production to accomodate the student’s area of interest. During the program, the students spend the afternoons in classes with area theatre professionals and evenings in rehearsal for one of the two productions (Performance Track) or working with a team of professional designers on production elements (Production Track). Students also participate in a Masterclass at Actor’s Gymnasium and take in a production at LOOKINGGLASS THEATRE in Chicago. Weeks of work and learning culminate in a showcase of stunning proportions. This year, the shows are Little Women and School of Rock!
What makes the School of Theatre Arts special?
Civic Theatre’s School of Theatre Arts is the only place in West Michigan where students can take such a wide variety of theatre classes with performance & production opportunities for artists at every level. We want all students to feel a sense of belonging here – whether they love the spotlight, or would prefer to be behind the scenes; whether beginner or seasoned artist. If theatre is your passion, you belong at Civic Theatre.