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Once Upon a Time . . . Summer Studio

By Erin Frederick, Education Enrollment and Marketing Coordinator 

Erin Frederick (back) and Youth Students.
Erin Frederick (back) and Youth Students.

This summer, fairy tales and adventure are the name of the game, and the halls of Classical Magnet School will be filled with the sounds of the music, laughter and creativity of Hartford Stage’s Youth Summer Studio. Students ages 3 to 17 will explore the excitement and drama of live theatre in one, two and four-week programs.

In the four-week Summer Studio Youth Ensemble, students aged 9 – 15 will be cast in either a musical or non-musical production. This summer’s productions are Shrek, Jr. and Snow White and the Seven Fairy Godmothers. Students spend mornings rehearsing and afternoons exploring elective classes of their choice. Previous elective classes have included Musical Theatre Cabaret, Shakespeare, Commedia dell’Arte, and Technical Theatre. Once a week, the Youth Ensemble enjoys a field trip together. This year, students may opt to take a trip into New York to see the Broadway smash hit Wicked! Youth Ensemble runs from July 6 through July 31. In August, students ages 9-15 can also participate in the One-Act Play class, which runs from August 3–14. In this program, young actors will hone their skills with training in the basics of acting and improvisation, working toward a production of Law and Order: Fairy Tale Unit.

For our youngest students, aged 3 to 5 (who have not yet entered kindergarten), the weeklong Day Dreamers program invites children to explore their imaginations through a half-day of creative movement, music, story theatre, and puppet play. Day Dreamers is offered in two sessions: July 6–10 and July 13-17.

For children who have already completed kindergarten, ages 5 to 8, parents can choose between either the Children’s Cast or Bookends programs. In Children’s Cast, students will take classes in story theatre, creative movement, music, puppetry, and arts and crafts, and go on a weekly field trip. Previous field trips have included the Connecticut Science Center and a field day in nearby Elizabeth Park. Each session ends in a mini-production that the cast creates based on favorite stories and characters. Children’s Cast takes place in two two-week sessions: July 6 – 17 or July 20 – 31. In Bookends, students explore literature from the summer reading lists through acting, musical theatre, creative movement and arts and crafts. The 1-week program runs from either August 3 – 7 or August 10 – 14.

For the budding Broadway star, the Teen Musical Theatre Intensive offers students ages 14-17 the opportunity to become a triple threat. Students will spend their days acting, singing and dancing up a storm in preparation for their final musical revue performance of Broadway favorites. Our Teen Musical Theatre students are also featured in a public performance at Blue Back Square in West Hartford.

With early drop-off, late pick-up, payment plans, and scholarship opportunities available, it is Hartford Stage’s goal to make our Education programming lie within the reach of all families. Summer Studio welcomes young people with all levels of experience – from the curious, timid beginner to the confident young star-to-be!

For more information on Youth Summer Studio programs, call (860) 520-7244 or visit