New York City is home to several programs and educational facilities to teach aspiring child and teen actors the art of the craft. Countless Oscar, Emmy, and Tony Award–winning stars started their careers performing with at least one of these groups. These are just 12 of several programs in NYC that can set children and teenagers on a path toward success.
A Class Act NY
A Class Act NY offers one-day musical theater, voiceover, and on-camera workshops alongside weekly classes, summer camps, and private coaching to performers of all skill levels. Workshops are held throughout the New York area, including Manhattan, Long Island, and Westchester (camps are also offered in Ohio, Texas, and Connecticut). Musical theater classes emphasize singing, dancing, and acting skills. Meanwhile on-camera classes allow students the opportunity to practice scenes and audition sides from television shows, films, and commercials. Instructors include Broadway, film, and television actors, in addition to Los Angeles– and New York–based casting directors and talent agents. Audition only classes are also available for on-camera training.
Atlantic Acting School
The Atlantic Acting School hosts after school programs for children and teenagers where they can learn storytelling, writing, acting, and improvisation through games, singalongs, and costume play. Spots are still available for spring classes for children 4–18. The school also has summer camps for children and teens to learn the craft. The four-week teen summer ensemble ise for students aged 15–18 and will give students the opportunity to develop professional acting techniques from professional trainers.
The Barrow Group School
The Barrow Group School provides both professional and budding artists training in acting, directing, and playwriting. Specifically, the school offers kids (ages 7–9), tweens (10–13), and teens (14–17) their own acting classes. Instruction revolves around ensemble-building games before moving on to the basics of acting, monologues, and scene work. Classes for teens include sessions devoted to acting in film and television, improv, and musical theater. The Barrow Group also offers several separate one-and three-week summer programs highlighting script analysis, monologues, scene work, theater production, and film and television on-camera acting.
Broadway Bound Kids
Broadway Bound Kids offers afterschool programs, Saturday classes, summer programs, and master classes with Broadway performers. It also features the Broadway Bound Players, a free youth ensemble for children ages 9–13 who don’t have access to arts programs in their schools. According to the website, the Broadway Bound Players is comprised of children who “rehearse and perform a musical revue they help create in the fall,” while staging a “full-scale musical complete with costumes, sets, and props in the spring.”
Child’s Play NY
Children as young as 18 months old can participate in one of many classes at the Brooklyn-based Child’s Play NY. Younger children concentrate on more imaginative play through live music, physical games, and puppetry. Child’s Play NY also use song and dance for kids ages 4–6 in the mini-musical program. Older children begin performing Shakespeare and studying Greek texts to help immerse themselves with story, character, and language as part of the classic ensemble. All classic ensemble teachers are trained professional actors with experience performing Shakespeare on Broadway and regional productions across the country. Classes are available for children 3–14.
At CurtainUp Kids, actors ages 5–12 build skills and confidence to perform in any professional setting with training in dance, voice, and drama. The theater has just begun its 16-week spring session. There’s also a 16-week fall session which begins in September 2020. Private singing and acting lessons are provided all year round.
Harlem School of the Arts
The revered Harlem School of the Arts program specializes in dance, music, theater, and visual arts. The programs offer educational opportunities for youth from early childhood through high school. This year’s Teen Theatre Summer Lab runs July 7–24 and is accepting teens aged 13–17. In August, HSA begins its Wiz Jr. musical theater summer intensive for young actors ages 8–12.
Professional Children’s School
The Professional Children’s School provides an academic education for working or aspiring performers that help prepare them for college or their professional careers. The application process to enroll in the school includes recommendations, an interview, and class visit, among other standard materials. PCS has enrolled nearly 200 students from grades 6–12 across over a dozen states and countries.
Professional Performing Arts School
The Professional Performing Arts School was launched to assist students in pursuit of professional work as they completed their high school studies as well as for those who wanted to study the arts as a job. The school offers students in grades 6–12 the opportunity to study in a professional environment selecting majors in dance, drama, musical theater, instrumental music, or vocal music. An audition is required to enter the Professional Performing Arts School.
Rita Litton Studio
Director Rita Litton created ACTeen in 1978 with a curriculum built around on-camera acting. She now teaches a similar program in New York that educates and prepares students to perform in any medium from film to theater. Rita Litton offers courses for on-camera film acting, foundations of acting, commercial auditioning techniques, and monologues which can also be taught through Skype. Litton also offers private acting coaching.
Tada! Youth Center
Co-Founders Janine Nina Trevens and Linda Reiff formed TADA! in 1984 with a budget that fell under $2,000. Today, their budget is over $1.8 million and has helped TADA! become one of the leading youth programs in the city. The organization has reached over 840,000 participants through programs that include musical theater productions, arts education, and youth development. One such program is its Broadway Bound program, where students aged 9–12 will have fun learning musical theatre training, advanced improv and more!
Young Actors at Strasberg
The Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute provides diverse training to children and teens. They develop skills in acting technique, teamwork, and leadership as it relates to stage, film, and television. Separate year-long and summer classes include a week-long kids camp (grades 2–5), a two-week teen workshop (grades 6–8), and a six-week young adult intensive (grades 9–12). The Young Actors at Strasberg Kids Program consists of acting, movement, voice, dance, theory, and on-camera classes. This acts as an introduction to the fundamentals of acting for those just beginning, as well as for others with more experience. The Teens Program is more intensive working on monologues and scenes using Lee Strasberg’s Method Acting technique.
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