Educational Theatre: 3 Great Ways to Involve Young People in your Performing Arts Organization

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It’s no secret that involvement in the arts and theatre can have a tremendously positive impact on a young person’s life (if you don’t believe us, just click here, here and here). However, sometimes it’s difficult to reach and involve young people that don’t already have ties into the theatre community.

CC Image by Minneapolis Institute of Arts

Here are 3 great ways that your performing arts organization can get young people involved and excited about your community theatre organization:
Providing an Educational Outreach Program
If you happen to have a handful of actors that are up for it, you could consider forming an educational outreach troupe that can be hired out to perform in schools.

CC Image by Iain Findlay-Walsh

Educational outreach programs are awesome because they offer so many possibilities for student involvement! Depending on the way you structure your program, you could provide the exciting combination of a performance and an instructional session. I also love the ability for cross-promotion that this option provides; this is a great opportunity for you to encourage attendance to your regular youth/family theatre performances!
Establishing a Permanent Youth Theatre Program
Whether this is a mainstay staple of your regular season or not, it’s a great option for encouraging involvement between your organization and young people and their families. There are two different types of theatre programs for youth that you could establish…and there’s no reason why you can’t try both!

Theatre for Young People. This program would be geared towards encouraging young people and their families to attend your performances as an audience member. Repertoire selections would be specifically chosen with young people and young families in mind.
A Youth Theatre Troupe. This program would be featuring young people as the performers. Repertoire selections would be specifically chosen for age appropriateness and, of course, fun!

CC Image by North Charleston
Offering Special Workshops
These workshops could be a full-day event, or just an afternoon…the point is that they aren’t a long-term commitment for your organization or the young people and their families. These types of workshops have the ability to offer exposure to children that might show an interest in theatre, but aren’t sure if they want to make a long-term commitment (such as being involved in a performance).

These workshops also offer a great opportunity for youths that are already theatrically-inclined and are looking to sharpen their acting chops and have some fun in the process.

Workshops work best when they are specific and are clearly advertised as such. For example:

The Singing Actor: A Masterclass For Broadway Kids. This workshop would be for a small group of young people. Each participant would bring a song and work with a director on their performance in a masterclass setting.
Be Silly: Let’s Learn Improv! This workshop works well for medium and large groups, and can be led by a director and a few actors.
Dancing Through Life: An Introduction to Dance in Musical Theatre. This workshop could be tailored to work for the number of registered participants. A choreographer can lead the group through a (simple) dance number from a popular musical theatre selection.

CC Image by Feast of Music

Have you found another fantastic way to involve young people through a successful educational theatre initiative? Tell us about it in the comments below, we’d really love to hear about it!

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