Shot from a 2018 Village Theatre production of “Matilda the Musical.” Photo by Mark Kitaoka

Shot from a 2018 Village Theatre production of “Matilda the Musical.” Photo by Mark Kitaoka

Village Theatre providing online options for youth summer programs

While the theatre’s mainstage productions are postponed, virtual programs are ramping up.

  • Wednesday, May 20, 2020 10:22am
  • Life

Village Theatre is looking to provide a safe and engaging space for Puget Sound children and teens to learn and grow this summer.

Although the theatre’s mainstage productions are postponed indefinitely due to social-distancing orders, the theatre’s Youth Education program, KIDSTAGE, will allow students entering Pre-K to age 20 an opportunity to participate in arts-based learning beginning June 6.

After a successful trial of virtual classes during the spring quarter, KIDSTAGE will roll out an expanded catalog for the summer session.

“When the ‘Stay Home, Stay Healthy’ order went into effect, we pivoted to an online class system right away,” said director of Youth Education Kati Nickerson in a press release from the theatre. “Connecting with peers and having a safe place for self-expression has really helped our students deal with the isolation of quarantine.”

Each KIDSTAGE camp is tailored to specific interests. Subjects like “Frozen,” “Star Wars,” and “Harry Potter” have been found to keep younger kids stimulated, while introductions to technical theater, camera-acting and songwriting are designed for teens who may be interested in pursuing a career in the entertainment field.

Over 30 classes will be held virtually from June 6 to July 24 and will be offered via Zoom. Camps taking place after July 27 are currently planned to be held in-person at both the Issaquah and Everett Village Theatre locations if social distancing restrictions are lifted by the state.

“Of course, we want to be in a room together,” said Nickerson in the press release. “Theater is all about collaboration and public gatherings. Having had online classes for the last six weeks with an average of 300 students per week, we know what works and have discovered some surprising benefits to virtual programming. These classes create an environment that allows every student to be center stage without interruption. Our teaching artists are able to celebrate online youth culture though activities that involve videos and memes. Students can blend their artistic and technical skills, and, since we are virtually everywhere, a student can take a class with a friend or relative who might not be located in the Greater Seattle Area.”

The theatre’s youth education program is one of the largest musical theatre education programs in the U.S. Serving over 5,000 students annually, KIDSTAGE is designed to build critical life skills in each participant and encourage creativity, collaboration, problem-solving, concentration, public speaking and a strong work ethic.

While some students are striving to make it to Broadway, all students are working to improve their futures and self-confidence.

In addition to camps and classes, KIDSTAGE also offers opportunities for students to participate in a variety of fully-produced musicals, apprenticeships and internships, intensive year-round institute training and in-school programming.

Financial assistance is available for all programming. No student is turned away for financial reasons.

Summer camps and classes are on sale now. For more information, including a full list of classes please visit www.VillageKIDSTAGE.org.


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