Jane Eyre

Education @ Hartford Stage partners with the CREC Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts Learning Corridor to host Summer Studio Classes

By Grace Clark, Education Enrollment and Marketing Coordinator

When Hartford Stage teaching artist Thomas Beebe greets his students in the new home of Hartford Stage’s Summer Studio on July 6, it will be in a place that he knows well. Hartford Stage recently announced that the CREC Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts will host its popular summer theatre camp at the Learning Corridor campus. Beebe, who has taught in Summer Studio since 2013, was involved long before that as a student and volunteer when the program was operated by Hartford Children’s Theatre. He also attended the Arts Academy as a high school student. For him, the move brings together two programs that have been a big part of his journey.

“The ability to work on a full-scale production and take high-level classes at a Tony Award-winning regional theatre (right in my own school) is an opportunity that I wish I had available to me during my summers as an Academy student when I was looking to keep up with my training and education,” said Beebe, who has now graduated from Montclair State University in New Jersey with a BFA in Musical Theatre. “I hope that it allows more Academy students to join our teen program in the summer as a continuation of the education they are receiving during the school year.”

Emely Larson, Studio Manager at Education @ Hartford Stage, said the summer program has existed for decades, beginning at Hartford Children’s Theatre in the 1990s. “It has been a part of the regional summer landscape for many years and has morphed through many transitions and thrived throughout. This new transition will help to strengthen an already strong program,” she said. The program draws students from all over the state, often bringing together students who might not otherwise meet and forming strong friendships. Tuition assistance is available, including scholarships specifically for Academy students.

This will be the eighth year that Summer Studio has run through Hartford Stage’s Education Department. The six-week program, previously housed at Classical Magnet School in Hartford, serves about 260 students annually through a wide variety of theatre classes for youth ages 3 to 18 – including Teen Musical, Youth Ensemble, Junior Troupe, One-Act Play, Children’s Cast, Summer Bookends, and Day Dreamers. The camp offers full-day programs from two to five weeks, as well as half-day, one-week programs for younger students.

Jennifer Roberts, Director of Education @ Hartford Stage, said, “The Academy has beautiful performance and rehearsal spaces which will strengthen the experience of our Summer Studio students and families and give us room to grow. Hartford Stage is also able to share its resources and programs with the students and faculty at the Academy. I look forward to seeing this partnership forge connections and opportunities for all students involved.”

One of those students, Kaydin Younger, 16, is a Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts musical theatre student who has participated in Summer Studio since he was 13.  Younger said he thinks the move to his school’s campus will make his peers even more focused on immersing themselves in the arts. “It makes me feel good that people will have the opportunity to study arts at a place that was built for it, and they will get everything they need for that,” he said.

The CREC Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts Half Day Program is an arts-focused magnet high school, serving Hartford and its suburbs, which provides college-preparatory and pre-professional arts education in a culturally diverse environment.  The Academy, named a “School of Distinction” by the Magnet Schools of America, offers a program housing state-of-the-art theatres, dance and visual arts studios, music practice rooms, and actor spaces.

“Throughout the Arts Academy’s 35-year history, we’ve had the good fortune to work with Hartford Stage. Today, we’re so pleased to formalize our relationship and to give Education @ Hartford Stage a new summer home,” said Kim Stroud, Director of the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts Half Day Program. “We have been looking forward to this collaboration for some time, and we couldn’t be more pleased to make our spaces available to Hartford Stage’s families and students.  At the same time, it is a wonderful opportunity for our students to learn more about Hartford Stage and to be exposed to world-class theatre right here in our own neighborhood.”

Beebe, who will direct this summer’s Youth Ensemble production of High School Musical Jr., is certain that students, families and the staff will only benefit from the new location. “The Arts Academy hosts a space that is comparable with many large arts organizations across the country. Students will rehearse and learn in spaces that better accommodate the level of work they’re doing, and it allows teaching artists vital space to allow their classes to grow and breathe.”

“The campus is a really cool place,” Younger added. “I’m excited.”

The auditorium at Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts
The auditorium at Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts.
A Classroom at Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts
A Classroom at Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts.

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Education @ Hartford Stage