By Erin Frederick

I don’t know about you, but I had a big imagination when I was a kid.  I was constantly strutting about the house as one crazy character or another or valiantly trying to stage a full-scale production of Les Miserables on the playground with my fellow third-graders.  (It turns out we all wanted to play the tragic heroine Eponine, while no one wanted to be stodgy old Javert.)  I probably drove my mom crazy with my need to find an outlet for all of that creative energy.

So it’s probably a good thing that I eventually went into a career in theatre and found my way to the Education Department at Hartford Stage.  Through our Studio Youth classes, we encourage our students to express themselves and build their self-confidence through theatre games and activities.  For the imaginative child, there is a wealth of class options year round: from beginner acting classes to full-length productions, from playwriting to accents and dialects to musical theatre cabaret!  It has been an incredibly rewarding experience to see our students go from timid beginners on the first day of class to boisterous, enthusiastic performers on their final Share Day performances.  One recent new student, a 5-year-old little boy, marched up proudly to his teacher on his second class and announced that he had been ACTING at home that week, because ACTING is PRETENDING!

Studio Collage

While some of our students have chosen to go on to careers in theatre (we’re very proud of our 15 students currently featured in A Christmas Carol at Hartford Stage), that’s certainly not the case with all of them.  It is our hope, however, that whether they choose to go into medicine, law, business, engineering, or any other field, our students will take with them the confidence, empathy, and creative thinking that they learned at Hartford Stage.  If that’s the case, we’ll consider our jobs well done, indeed.  So while I may not parade around my parents’ house in costume anymore, I still love to encourage that same imagination in the students of Hartford Stage Youth Studios.

For those interested, you can find information on our upcoming Winter Youth Studio Classes (beginning in January) at http://www.hartfordstage.org/education/youth/studio-classes/winter-studio.  You can register online or by calling (860) 520-7244.

*Special Cyber Monday deal –  get 25% off on all Youth Studio Classes using the discount code CYBERMONDAY. Today only (Dec. 1st)!

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