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North Shore Music Theatre’s Director of Education Lloyd Woodcock tells Creative North Shore about upcoming classes and workshops coming to NSMT in the coming months.
Tell us a bit about what classes and workshops are being offered at NSMT in the coming months?
For our Spring Youth classes we will be offering, Improv for the Stage 3 for ages 8-12 and Musical Theatre Techniques for ages 13-18.
Our adult (ages 19 and up) Spring classes will see a continuation of our Improv Series as well as a new Musical Theatre. We also offer Tap, Jazz and Ballet for adults.
Summer Session for youth includes classes like Stage Combat and Audition techniques as well as our 3-Week August Intensive Production of Aladdin Jr.
Adult Summer classes will continue with Tap, Jazz and Ballet classes as well as a Movement for the Actor class and a Scene into Song class.
Class descriptions and more information can be found at nsmt.org/education
Why do you feel it’s important for students to participate in workshops held in a world-class theatre such as NSMT?
There is a difference in opinion in the Arts Education community where some believe that process is more important than product, while others believe that product is more important that process. At NSMT we believe that neither can exist without the other. We liken it to sports. You wouldn’t play the Friday night football game without practicing first and you also wouldn’t just practice without using or testing those skills in order to get better and to see what areas need improvement.
While being in productions is a wonderful experience, it doesn’t allow for the time necessary to learn the proper techniques when it comes to acting, singing, and dancing, because the normal production schedule doesn’t allow it. That is where taking a class comes in. During classes, you have the time to dive deeper into the theoretical knowledge of a particular method or technique. It gives you the time necessary to work on your challenging areas, as well as build upon the tools in your actor’s toolbox.
Professional Actors continually take classes to keep their skills sharpened and to learn new and various techniques to become a more rounded performer. By doing both process (classes) and product (production work) they are always honing those skills to make sure that each audition they have is as successful as can be, each character they play is unique, each scene that they are in is dynamic, and each production they are in grabs the audience’s attention and creates a dialogue afterward.
Classes also help in areas off stage too. Theatre classes (unlike other art forms) also help students develop important life skills, such as critical thinking, social skills, collaboration, various learning styles, focus, and public speaking. These skills are necessary to be a better citizen of the world and to be successful in any career you choose.
Who can attend these classes? Do you have to be at an advanced level to participate or are they for all ages and skill levels?
Anyone from the ages of 8 to 108 (or above) can attend our classes. Most of our classes are geared towards both beginner or advanced levels unless a pre-requisite is otherwise noted in the class description. So far our youngest student is 8 and our oldest student is 80!
Can you drop into classes or do students need to take the full session?
Yes, you can drop into the first class to see if it is right for your child or for yourself.
Are there any new, special offerings this year that haven’t been offered in previous years?
We have made the 2-week August Intensive into a 3-week Intensive. The first week for this class will be focusing on the production side of the Musical. Students will be creating props, set pieces, costumes and gaining a better understanding of mounting a show from start to finish. We are also offering more singing based classes for our adult offerings to balance out our acting and dancing offerings.
Anything else you’d like to add?
NSMT takes care in making sure our classes are sequential in nature and that both beginner and advanced students feel welcome. We take pride in making sure that all students, regardless of their standing in life, have the opportunity to create and grow as theatre artists. We also acknowledge that not all students will go on to be Broadway stars, but if they take classes here at NSMT they will have a strong foundational knowledge of Musical Theatre on which they can build upon, or take with them on a different career path. Either way, we strive to make sure that each student has a great experience and builds a life-long appreciation for theatre and the arts.
About North Shore Music Theatre: Since 1955, NSMT has become one of the most attended theatres in New England, with approximately 250,000 patrons annually. With a national and regional reputation for artistic achievement, NSMT has received numerous industry awards including Elliot Norton Awards, IRNE Awards, the Rosetta Le Noire Award from Actors’ Equity, and the Moss Hart Award. NSMT produced the World Premiere of Memphis in 2003, the show went on to win four 2010 Tony Awards including Best Musical.
Under the new ownership of Bill Hanney in 2010, NSMT continues to annually produce a musical subscription series and an annual production of A Christmas Carol along with celebrity concerts and children’s programming along with year-round education programs.