What does my child have to gain from this program? Theatre can create a positive opportunity for personal and social growth and development. Children involved in performing arts can be more self-aware, understand the value of collaboration and working within a team. They can learn about how emotions can be tied to or even changed by the use of our bodies. Public Speaking has been documented as one of the greatest fears among adults, and our goal is help our students conquer that fear before it can even set in.
Through the KidStage experience, students can develop an enhanced imagination, strengthen their creativity, and learn to take risks in a safe environment. Parents have told us that after KidStage, their children exhibited an expanded vocabulary, higher reading scores in their school work, and much more confidence in conversations in groups as well as in a one-on-one setting.
How are auditions conducted? Auditions will be conducted the first day. The students do not need to have anything prepared. The director will have selected parts of the script that they will use for the auditions, and the students simply need to be prepared to read their part an audition as a group in the scene they are assigned. Afterward, they will have a choice to stand up by themselves in front of class and deliver one line from the scripts if they would like to do so. The students will have a chance to practice reading through the lines with their audition group for 10 minutes or so PRIOR to auditions, and the director will be there to answer any questions and offer assistance. Kids who are just learning to read need not worry! The Director will call out the lines to them and they just repeat them aloud. The primary thing the instructor will be looking for when casting is how animated the child is with their bodies, faces and voice during their audition.
Why are auditions required? Auditions are required as a means of assessing the initial comfort level of your child as a performer. If your child does not feel comfortable auditioning then they are not required to. They will still get a role in the play assigned to them based on all the info gathered from the entire class the first day. As part of the audition process, we explain that all the parts are important parts in the story they will perform, regardless of the amount of lines it has. It’s up to the actor who is assigned the part to flourish in it and make it their own. It’s not about counting lines and the more lines an actor has doesn’t make that actor more important. We discuss that the more lines to memorize means more homework and study at home. We also ask the top 3 roles each child is most interested in so we have an idea of what they are looking for. Not everyone will get one of their top 3 choices, but all of this allows our Director to make the best assessment they can that day on what roles to assign to whom for the best possible experience for all our cast members.
Will the kids have a chance to eat a snack before rehearsal begins? Yes, we will take time at the beginning of each class for the kids to have a snack since they are usually hungry right after school. Please try to send snacks that will create minimal crumbs or mess and are peanut-free. If your child has any kind of intense food allergy please make sure to notate that when you register them on our website.
My child got a small part and is upset. What should I do? KidStage teaches children to do their very best no matter how many lines they have. Even if a role looks small on paper, there are still additional activities to participate in and ways to make that role into something special and unique based on the individual child’s personality. Some of the most memorable characters in plays/movies/stories are only in one or a few scenes. Less is, in a lot of cases, more.
We have found that the children with the smaller roles shine just as brightly because they are able to focus on their role and really turn on the performance power! Your child can focus on the delivery of every line they have with much more forethought, practice, and intensity. This will allow them to delve more into characterization and emotional make-up of their character and not having to sit at home memorizing for a longer time just to get their lines down.
We would suggest that you have a conversation with your child explaining to them that all the roles in the Play are important and that they can really shine in the role they were assigned as a part of the performance team. Also – you can ask your Director for pointers on how your child could improve their future auditions, and share that with and work on those things with your child.
What is the best way for my child to learn his/her lines? Practice makes perfect! Students should speak their lines “loud and proud” every evening. Young actors need an adult to help set aside and schedule time to work on their lines each week until they are down pat. Without scheduling it, it can easily be forgotten about. Once your child is memorized, then a brush-up every few days is critical to keep them up to speed, and also can be fun since they can delve into creative character exploration at home.
You can help by running the dialogue with them; simply read about 3 to 4 lines prior to their lines in the scenes they are in. This gets their brain to start to recognize the pattern of speech leading up to when they need to deliver their line. You need only rehearse the scenes of the play your child is in.
For children that are having difficulty recalling their lines, try having them write the lines down repeatedly, this can even be done as a journal exercise.
Finally, it really helps kids practice projection and being loud when they rehearse lines from a distance (ex: you sit at the top of the stairs and they sit at the bottom or across a room). It’s natural for them to want to talk softly when on stage so the more practice at home they can have pushing their voices out and with strength, the better it will help them on show night!
Why is it important for my child to memorize all of their lines by the Off-Book date? Memorization is a crucial element to ensuring your child is getting the most out of the in-class experience! When a child does not know their lines, it’s hard for them to have fun and learn about acting because they’re constantly focused on carrying their script and reading while trying to rehearse. This is why we set the off-book (fully memorized) target date. Your child should be 100% memorized by this point. Ideally, they are off-book sooner than that, but that is the final goal date. This way they can learn more about acting in class without the added stress (and it is stressful) of carrying a script, trying to stay on the right page and then reading their lines. This is ESPECIALLY important if your child is younger (grades K-3).
Gaining and developing self-confidence is one of the most influential elements of KidStage and when a child has worked hard and feels confident about their lines they are able to perform with confidence and are free to let loose and have fun exploring their character!
Are we required to purchase costumes for our children? No. The KidStage philosophy is to keep productions simple and affordable. The class and production are about process and the performance experience for our young actors. Parents can purchase costumes if desired, but we encourage you to push your child to creatively come up with their costume using things you already own! Think outside the box. At the end of the day their costume can be as simple or as elaborate as you wish and often times made entirely of items you already have at home. Many parents have told us that it is a fun parent/child bonding activity that can be scheduled for a particular weekend.
Will there be props for the production? We need families to volunteer to bring/make these items in order to make the show more visually appealing and fun for our young actors! During the session, the director will send out a list of props needed for the production. Please volunteer for things you can bring in – it rarely requires anyone to be artistic and to make massive back-drops. It can be as simple as a tea set, small chairs and table, bench, etc. This is another great example of the collaborative nature of theatre and how everyone working together makes the final project the best it can be!
What can we expect on show night? The majority of our Productions are simple, and it will be what the kids and parents make of it. In order to ensure a better production, it is of utmost importance that the children have memorized their lines and cues. And to do that, it requires the parents to constantly schedule, remind and work with the children at home.
The primary purpose of the show is to help the children build confidence speaking and performing in front of others. Therefore it is great to have as many parents/siblings/family/friends at the show as possible to root them on! There is no ticket charge for most of the shows, so the more the merrier! Also, bring a pencil/pen to the show. One of our traditions at KidStage is that we encourage the audience to get autographs from the actors after the show! It’s a blast and parents/actors all have fun with this!
It will most likely be hard to hear some actors. Why? Imagine yourself as a young child on stage for the first time. Is it possible or probable that you may be a bit nervous – forget a line – and even talk softly? YES! This is one of the big reasons why young children need the KidStage experience early on so they build up this experience so that standing up and performing or speaking in front of others becomes second nature. We don’t use mics or sound systems because they typically don’t work well and they can be quite expensive. Using mics won’t teach our actors to learn to project their voices. So please be aware that you may not hear certain parts of the play, but that our goal is to build each and every actor up and help them learn to enjoy being on stage. Fearless. Performing with confidence. Our audiences believe in this mission and helps support it by loving and supporting the actors on show night, regardless of how loud or shy or gregarious or emotional they may be.
Your class is already full! How does the Wait List work? This process has recently been changed, so it’s important to share with you. If a class is full, then you will have a box on our registration page where you can enter your email to be put on the wait list. If and when a spot opens up, the system will automatically email EVERYONE who is on the wait list for that class at that moment at the same time. The first person to go into the site and register will get the spot.