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Acting, Drama & Theater

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Questions Related Pages Theater Programs with Reviews

Performing arts for a 5-year-old?

August 2010

My almost-5-year-old is getting in touch with his inner Michael Jackson and he wants to sing and dance onstage. We live in Oakland, near Lake Merritt. Is there any program that I can take him to where he can learn the performing arts? Preferably a weekly class; he was accepted into COVA but we chose not to go there. Stage mom, who me?


Kids Take The Stage in Alameda has programs for kids of all ages. My child has been taking their classes and camps for several years. Their classes are hosted by several Alameda schools, but they also have a weekly program to serve home-schoolers, or those who attend private schools and public schools that do not host a program. KTTS theater programs are stable, and their directors are creative and fun. It's a terrific way for kids to experience all aspects of putting on a musical production. My child has made great and lasting friendships through this experience. I believe KTTS has just started a new group for 3-5 year old children. Check out their website for more information: kidstakethestage.com. Stage Mom

Pop singing/performance for 7-y-o like Glee?

June 2010

I have a 7-year-old son who absolutely loves watching and imitating the singing and dancing performances on 'Glee,' especially the pop songs. Does anyone know of a program that offers pop singing and performance for boys? So far I have only been able to find a class for girls.


Danceversity has fantastic week long dance sessions (Camps) at Ashkenaz in Berkeley. Boys and girls they are very theatrical and interactive. They run all August long. DanceVersity Programs Danceversity World Dance Camp offers girls and boys (ages 7-16) a ... www.danceversity.com/summerprogram.html Sharyl
Berkeley Playhouse (http://www.berkeleyplayhouse.org/) has wonderful co-ed classes that teach musical theater singing and dancing. There may be mostly or all girls who attend, but they have a great male teacher, Dane, who has taught all of my daughter's classes there.

Acting Classes for a 4 year old

Oct 2009

Any ideas for a preferably group acting class for a four year old? d


I don't know that I would call Glitter & Razz ''Acting Classes'' per se - as they don't go through the different METHODs or make kids memorize lots of lines, but the Itty Bitty Drama Camps they do (kids 4-6) are fantastic for little ones who love being on stage, using their creativity and imagination and making these dreams come to life using their words and bodies. My five year old has been attending G&R drama classes and play in a day camps since he turned 4. The staff there have taught him much beyond what I expected. Last summer, they not only practiced art, drama, and fun movement, they also discussed and did role plays about conflict resolution, sharing, and being nice. You can check out their programs at www.glitterandrazz.com or call 510.654.7166. Also they are really convenient - right in Rockridge. hil
My 4 year old daughter spent two weeks at Glitter & Razz's Itty Bitty camp this past summer (for 4-7 year olds) and she absolutely loved it! With the help of the teachers, the kids dream up characters and storylines for plays that they perform for their parents at the end of each week. They put together their own costumes and do the artwork for the set. The process is collaborative, creative and fun! Every child's ideas are valued and they each participate in a way that is appropriate for their age, personality, etc. Lynn and her staff are simply fabulous and I was very impressed by the way they work with the group. They nurture imagination and confidence while also helping the kids develop self-awareness, empathy and social skils such as conflict resolution. I can't say enough about Glitter & Razz and I just signed my daughter up for the ''Play in a Day'' camp on November 11th. In addition to their website, I'd encourage you to check out their Facebook page where Lynn sent out daily updates during the camp. You are also more than welcome to contact me if you'd like to hear more. - Deb deb

Musical Theatre for 9-year-old son

April 2009

I am looking for a class or program in musical theatre for my 9 year old son. He loves to dance and sing (not on key but with much enthusiasm) and perform. He has been to drama camp but Ib1208>Young Drama Queen looking for Venuem looking for something on weekends (preferably Sunday) or after school. It doesn't have to be super-organized - a neighborhood group or informal production would be just fine. Thanksamundo. stage mom


Children's Fairyland in Oakland down by Lake Merritt runs a children's theater program: kids (ages 8-10 by Jan. 1) audition in January, and they choose a bit over 30 kids to assign to three different casts. The kids rehearse on weekends in the spring (every third weekend, both Sat/Sun, for each cast) then perform, again every third weekend, two performances each Sat/Sun, beginning June and running through October. Our daughter is in her third year, and loves it; each year they have one classic production (this year's is from Beatrix Potter), one native Americas production, and one from some other foreign culture. The new stage, opened last year, is stunning. More information here: http://www.fairyland.org/plan_your_visit/childrens_theatre_schedule.htm Stage Dad
I highly recommend Contra Costa Civic Theatre's Musical Juniors program. Kids put on a full musical over a 10 week period. There is emphasis on all drama skills -- vocal work, character creation, dancing, ensemble work, etc. Nina Meehan the director is awesome. I've seen her work with the kids and her emphasis on supporting each other and teaching drama is wonderful. I volunteer at the theatre (it is a community theater) and while my 5 year old son isn't old enough to join in yet, we have seen many rehearsals and performances. My son is eager to join in once he turns 7. CCCT is in El Cerrito. You can find out more at www.ccct.org. Susan
Kids 'N Dance and Theater Arts!......They have a FABULOUS musical theater program for kids with age groups that start at 4 and end at 14. What I love about them is they work hard at giving all the kids a great experience. Scripts are customized for each cast and everyone is given a chance to be challenged and have fun. The quality of the productions is amazing considering the broad range of talent. We have done three shows already and our daughter loves it and has made a great community of friends. An added benefit that I wasn't expecting is that she is learning about responsibility and teamwork. She insists on practicing with the CD they give her everyday so that she is ready for class. Usually we are in the car and she happily sings at the top of her lungs wherever we go! They do musical theater in both of their studios (Laurel District - Oakland, and Lafayette) and also do productions at the Orinda Rec. Center. happy low-key stage mom
I would recommend Berkeley Playhouse for a kid with the acting bug. http://www.berkeleyplayhouse.org Their summer program is apparently full, but the fall music theatre session will begin registering in late July/early August. They staged Roald Dahl's ''The BFG,'' and ''Peter Pan'' will be running July 17 through August 23 at the Ashby Stage. They have a number of other classes... I took their most recent Adult Musical Theatre class, and had a great time... it was a perfect intro to musical theatre for the parent who's realized that the kids shouldn't be the only ones getting up on stage! They've also held one ''open-mic'' night for singing (both as a group and performances by students, etc... three of the performers from ''Once on This Island'' sang pieces from other shows) at the Julia Morgan and plan to hold those every 3-4 months. A fine organization. Ross ross

Young Drama Queen looking for Venue

Dec 2008

I have an 8 year old budding actress. She has taken some theater classes, but now she is interested in being in a ''real play''. Not being much of a stage mom myself, I'm not really sure where to find such an opportunity. I grew up down the Peninsula where there was a children's theater in town, is there such a thing in the East Bay? andrea


Children's Fairyland will be holding auditions for next year's productions in January: http://www.fairyland.org/plan_your_visit/childrens_theatre_auditioning.htm They select three casts of ten 8-10-year-olds, rehearse from March or so and then perform starting in June and running through October. Each of the casts generally performs every third weekend, two shows on Saturday and two on Sunday (i.e., they rotate the casts so there's a two week break, then a heavy performance weekend, for each cast). After that there's a holiday show that performers can volunteer for, combining players from all three casts... the 2008 performers will be doing that this coming weekend, and next, and it might be a great opportunity to meet and talk with them (and see the performance venue... this year was on the brand new $3M stage). Our daughter has been in it the last two years, and it's been wonderful. Ross
I would reccomend Kids Take the Stage. Heather
I want to recommend the Berkeley Playhouse http://www.berkeleyplayhouse.org/ They put on kid-friendly plays and also run theater classes and other programs. We went to see the BFG (based on Roald Dahl's book) with two jaded 7-year-old boys last month and it was fabulous - funny, wildly inventive, lots of great kid and teen acting. Our kids were totally transfixed the entire time, and that's saying a lot. Check out their website. I think it's a wonderful thing for kids to be able to see live theater that is fun for the parents too -- we are lucky to have this group in Berkeley! Ginger
You don't say what city you're in, but I'll recommend Town Hall Theatre's children's programs in Lafayette. It is very near BART and HWY 24, so it is easy to get to from Berkeley, Oakland, Lamorinda (obviously), Walnut Creek, and Pleasant Hill. Their kids' programs are great. Each culminates with a play on the theater stage, sometimes on multiple nights, depending on the program. The directors are fabulous and they have several programs based on age that go from age 4 to to 18. http://www.thtc.org/education Mary
If you are looking for a great musical theatre class for kids, there is a hidden gem at Kids N Dance in the Laurel district in Oakland and in Lafayette and Orinda. In the Oakland studio they have a Beginning Theatre on Thursdays (age 6-12), Intermediate Theatre on Mondays (age 8-14) and a lot of ''Little Theatre'' classes for age 4-6. The classes culminate in two full performances. Check it out! Stage mom

Performing Arts Classes for 9 year old

Aug 2008

My nine year old is ready to start Performing Arts and theater classes. Can you recommend an after school theater program in the North Oakland/ Emeryville/ Berkeley/ Albany area? Drama Queen parent


A great place for performing arts is Kids N Dance in Oakland's Laurel District! They have several choices for a 9 year old, depending on the experience she already has. Beginning Theatre is lots of fun and can be very low key for the timid (chorus roles) and more challenging roles for those who are ready for it. Intermediate Theatre focuses on more skills and has more challenging roles. There is also a Audition and Theatre Skills class, and a class for parents to do with their children (Family Theatre). You should definitely check them out. Brenda

Acting opportunities for parent & child?

Sept 2007

Does anyone know of any Bay Area opportunities for a parent and child to act/perform in an amateur stage production together? We recently visited some relatives in the LA area who are about to perform as a family in ''Annie.'' We'd love to do something along those lines. Any leads would be most helpful. Thank you. B


I have a great recommendation for parent/child acting opportunities -- Contra Costa Civic Theatre (in El Cerrito). They have been around for 50 years and produce high quality theatre that the whole family can be involved in. Many families perform together (or a parent could run spotlight.) In fact it was founded by a husband/wife team whose children grew up acting and participating and now their children are involved. They usually do 2 musicals per year, a comedy and a drama. They also have afternoon/weekend children's programs. My husband directs, acts and is on the Board of Directors. It's a great group of folks, and we really enjoy being involved. Our son is 3 and we plan on getting him involved very soon. Check out www.ccct.org. Or feel free to call us at 510-665-7795. Susan

Drama Classes for 10 year old

October 2003

Anyone know of any on-going drama classes during the school year for a 10-year old? Thanks! lb


YES! I will repeat a recent recommendation for kids in grades 3-5. I don’t know if it’s too late for the fall session, but I highly recommend First Stage. It meets Tuesdays, 3:45-5:50, usually at Wildcat Studio (8th Street Berkeley, near Dwight). They do a few rehearsals, and perform, at the Julia Morgan Theater. They run two 10-12 week sessions each year. Give the director, Sue Walton, a call. Her phone number is 415-647- 0914. The plays are written to include interesting parts for every actor, and the kids have a great time. R.K.
Try Berkeley Rep School of Theater. They have four sessions a year. for ages 5 and up. My 6-year-old has had just 3 weeks of her class, but she is thrilled with it. anonymous

Drama for 5-8 year olds

August 2003

I am looking for a drama experience for my kids in an after school program. I'd love for at least my 7-year-old to be able to be a part of a play, the kind that rehearses throughout the semester and then has a performance or two at the end. I suppose many schools do this, but not the one my daughters go to. Also, I have checked the website, but the recs I saw were either for older kids or for the Julia Morgan center (which I think seems to follow more of a workshop-type, develop-your- actor's-skills method rather than staging a production of Oliver or something). Any recommendations? Thanks Allison


If it's not too far for you, you might check out Young Performers Theatre at Fort Mason. They have drama classes for kids age 3 through 12, as well as performances featuring kids. I'm not sure how many of the students perform, but call and find out: 415-346-5550 Burr Tyler
My 9-yr-old son and his friends have enjoyed the First Stage after school drama class since third grade. (The flyer says age 8-11, but if your daughter is close to 8, they might take her). They do not do something like “Oliver!”, but a musical play written or adapted by the co-directors. They have been doing this for over 15 years, and the instructors are wonderful. They write the plays so there are not just a few “star” roles while everyone else is in the background. Instead, while parts vary in size (as kids vary in their comfort level), every child has a role that is important to telling the story. Everyone sings and dances (simple steps, no dance experience is needed), as well as acting. The kids can also help make the scenery and props. The class meets at Wildcat Studio (on 8th street in Berkeley, near Dwight), and perform at Julia Morgan (a REAL theatre!). Classes meet on Tuesday afternoon from 3:45-5:30, with a couple of extra Monday rehearsals close to show time. It runs 10-12 weeks. Contact Registrar KC Chapek at 510-530-8804. Or, from Sept. 5- 16, contact Sue Walton at 415-647-0914. I don’t think they have a web site. R.K.
Hi Allison. We go to the Glenview Performing Arts Center (right off Park Blvd. in Oakland) for dance, and I noticed on their calendar they do have a drama class for kids (ages 5-12) starting September on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4-5pm. The fall session ends with a low-pressure presentation/ show for family and friends. Tuition is $40/ month for 1 class per week or $66/month for 2 classes per week. This seems to me to be the most affordable dance/drama studio around! Additionally, there are auditions coming up for the holiday show of ''T'was The Night Before Christmas''. I think they are auditioning kids from 5 years up to adult for the show, but you need to commit to regular rehersals and then 6 shows/weekend for two weekends in December. The studio has a new website at www.glenviewpac.com. Good luck! Tiffany

Drama Classes for 4-year-old

July 2003

I'm looking for an acting/singing/theater class or group for my four year old boy. He always has had a strong affinity for all things musical and in the past year has begun to develop ''class clown'' skills as well (according to his preschool teacher) -- basically he's a musical ham. He's been begging me to be in a play since he saw his first musical 6 months ago, so I'm thinking it's time to explore this a bit. Recommendations on the website are 3 years old, and I'm having a hard time getting any info from the various kids musical theater groups in the area about places for kids this age. We may do a week at the Julia Morgan this summer, but beyond that I'm lost. Any recommendations or leads, anywhere in the area, would be appreciated. Thanks! Tara

Recommendations received:

  • Julia Morgan Theater Camp
    March 2000

    My daughter is 4 and is very outgoing and dramatic. She loves to sing, dance and act things out. I'm looking for a good school where I can enroll her in some acting or drama classes so I can direct all this energy in some creative way. Last week during dinner she climbed up on the stage and announced herself, and then proceeded to dance for everyone, bowing at the end to the entire restaurant... Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated. bijou


    Kids On Camera is a program that accepts children as young as age 4. (See recommendations for Kids on Camera) Dawn
    My daughter is enrolled in the Elementary School of Arts and Sciences on Broadway. Although it is an Elementary School K-3, they do have a summer program for musical theater and an after school which starts in mid April for musical theater as well. I know Carol Smith (the director of the school) for five years now and I believe that it is the best program in theater, singing, performing for very young age. Also, you make want to consider the school itself for your daughter since their curiculum includes at least three theatrical performances per year. Their phone number is: 658-5443 Elena

    Classes for 7-year-old

    March 2002

    I'm looking for an acting class for a seven year old boy who is very energetic and creative. I've put him in the Julia Morgan classes where he was grouped with 4 and 5 year olds as well. Too juvenile. We're looking for something he can really sink his teeth into and have fun...any suggestions? We are willing to drive into SF on weekends. This is just for fun, we've no professionlal aspirations. An East Bay Mom

    Recommended:

  • California Shakespeare Theater

    Shakespeare acting classes for 10-year-old

    December 2001

    Hi, I'm looking for a Shakespeare acting class for my 11 year old daughter. She worked with the Actor's Centre for a production this fall, and loved it! I've looked at the listings on the web site, but not come up with anything. I'd love to know about classes in the East Bay or Contra Costa. Thanks Dyanna

    Recommended:

  • California Shakespeare Theater
  • Berkeley Rep
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