I’m New to CTW/Theatre…Can You Explain What This Is All About?

Absolutely! First of all…WELCOME!

Theatre is amazing and we hope this becomes your theatre home.

Here are some common questions we get when people inquire about participating in CTW’s programs:

How do I get involved in CTW?

The most common way people get involved in CTW is by signing up for Fall, Winter/Spring, or Summer classes. There’s no audition process or pre-existing experience needed to be a CTW student; we have a limited number of spots in each class and program, and when we run out of spots, we close registration.

Each semester starts from scratch. If you join in the Winter/Spring semester, or the Summer, you are not necessarily jumping in at a halfway point in our programming. That being said, there will still be moments when staff and students pull from earlier experiences to inform their activities. We’ll always do our best to keep your student informed and up-to-speed!

When can I sign up?

We open registration a few months before the semester starts. Fall registration opens in June, Winter/Spring’s registration opens in November, and Summer registration opens in February. We close registration one week before each program starts.

Winter/Spring 2019 registration opens November 2018, and the Early Bird Discount applies through December 10, 2018. Registration for Winter/Spring 2019 closes on January 5, 2019, or when classes fill.

What’s a Fall or Winter/Spring semester like?

CTW uses a classroom-to-stage model; we have theatre classes, then we produce a play with those students. We provide students with 10 hours of theatre class, and somewhere in those 10 weeks we hold auditions for their play.

We only accept as many students as we have roles in the play–every student who auditions will receive some sort of speaking role in the play. This is our policy because we design our classes and rehearsals to feed off each other, so that by participating in both, the student gets a well-rounded experience. And we know that many students won’t improve until they go through the audition, rehearsal, and production process.

We find it’s easiest to compare our operations to a dance studio, or a music studio. We accept students, teach them all no matter what level they’re at, then we perform with those students at the end of the semester.

Does my student have to take classes to audition for the play?

Yes; we are a theatre education facility that prioritizes the benefits of classes and a production process as two necessary halves of a whole.

See “What’s a Fall or Winter/Spring…” tab for some more information on this!

What kind of classes do you offer?

For our Fall and Winter/Spring semesters, our core class is the Theatre Class. It covers acting, auditions, theatre terminology and culture, theatre history, script analysis, and improvisation. This class emphasizes the foundations of theatre from an acting standpoint. The Theatre Class tuition overs the classes and participation in the plays–there is no separate production participation fee.

We offer special topics classes as well, but we require our students to take the Theatre Class in conjunction with the special topics classes. There are a few exceptions to this, and we specifically state when this is the case.

Our special topics classes include musical theatre, devising (collaborative playwrighting), choreography, technical theatre and design, and sewing/costuming.

How do you split students up?

We split students up according to age: 3-4 year olds in one group, then 5-6 year olds in another group, 7-9 year olds in another, then 10-12 year olds, in another, and 13-18 year olds in another. We also have an accelerated program for 15-18 year olds who are interested in pursuing theatre after high school.

What’s the Summer like?

Summer at CTW is a little different!

We have two musical theatre productions in the summer: one is a summer-long production for ages 10-18. This production is close to our Fall and Winter/Spring semester; we still have classes before auditions and rehearsals, but it’s in a one week intensive format.

The other summer musical is for teenagers only; it contains mature content and long rehearsals. This musical gets produced in three or four weeks!

We also offer a variety of week-long day camps, as well as the occasional one-day workshop. Registration for summer programs usually opens in February, and we announce our summer schedule in late January.

Tell me how CTW engages children with special needs, differing abilities, and neurodiversity

First of all, CTW accepts all students, regardless of ability status. The only reason we ask about special needs on the registration form is so we can plan accordingly. This goes for young people with differing physical, developmental, and behavioral needs, as well as various iterations of neurodiversity. 

The best way to have a great experience here, if you are concerned about your child’s experience, is to let us know in advance and start that conversation! Your students’ teachers and other related staff will create a plan designed to adjust our programming for your child. We have so many wonderful resources at our disposal so we can equip ourselves to best engage your child.

If your student needs ASL interpretation to participate in our classes, let us know! 

My child is very new at theatre. What can I expect?

If your child is 3-6 years old, don’t worry! Everyone in this age range is fairly new at this, and our curriculum for this age is very low-stress and introductory.

If your child is 7-9 years old, our staff have planned for students who are new to theatre and will be sure to bring your child up to speed on all the theatre basics. Many of the students in this age range are new, or have only a year or two of experience.

If your child is 10-12 years old, it helps for us to know if your child is new to theatre so we can be sure we don’t forget to include introductory topics in our lessons, as well as direct our more experienced students to help them catch up. We usually have a few students in this age who are completely new to theatre, so your child will likely not be alone.

If your child is 13+ years old, it is less common for students to sign up if they are new to theatre. That being said, if you inform us, we will touch base with the teacher so they can give your child extra support in their lessons and rehearsal process.

My child is an experienced performer. What should I expect?

As theatre teachers, we want to do what any other teacher would want to do when encountering a student who is new to us: we will want to spend time in the classroom with them, learning about their strengths and experiences as well as areas of growth opportunity. There’s no clean and clear “test” for theatre skills and studies, so we will want to see for ourselves where your student is.

There are plenty of opportunities for challenges and leadership within each class and rehearsal process, and it is in the staff’s best interest, as well as your child’s, to make sure your child is adequately challenged while seeing to the needs of all the other students. There are various roles available in the plays; students can challenge themselves by taking on directing, technical theatre, and design tasks; and directors can always use help bringing the newer students up to their best work. Progress is more important than achievement, here.

We want to make it clear: we aren’t interested in making anyone a “star.” We are theatre educators who seek to work with young people to develop their theatre skills to their next level, and to equip them with all the life skills naturally inherent in the theatre-making process.