I’m New to CTW/Theatre…

Can You Explain What This Is All About?


First of all…WELCOME!

Theatre is amazing and we hope this becomes your theatre home.

Children’s Theatre Workshop (CTW) offers an inclusive environment for young people of all backgrounds, cultures, and lifestyles where they have the opportunity to study many aspects of theatre arts, develop valuable life skills, and produce quality plays.

Our students learn all the facets of a stage production, including writing, acting, set design, and behind-the-scenes work. CTW’s informal, classroom-based structure promotes self-expression, critical thinking, creativity, and teamwork. All students enrolled in our classes are eligible to audition in plays that are put on for live audiences, but those who are stage shy have plenty of other ways to contribute and participate.

We are a nonprofit, 501c3 organization that is proud to serve the community.

Here are some common questions we get when people inquire about participating in CTW’s programs:

How do I get involved in CTW?
The most common way people get involved in CTW is by signing up for Fall, Winter/Spring, or Summer classes. There’s no audition process or pre-existing experience needed to be a CTW student; we have a limited number of spots in each class and program, and when we run out of spots, we close registration.

Each semester starts from scratch. If you join in the Winter/Spring semester, or the Summer, you are not jumping in at a halfway point in our programming. That being said, there will still be moments when staff and students pull from earlier experiences to inform their activities. We’ll always do our best to keep your student informed and up-to-speed!

When can I sign up?
We open registration months before the semester starts. Fall registration opens in July, Winter/Spring’s registration opens in November, and Summer registration opens in February. We close registration when full or when each program starts.

What’s a Fall or Winter/Spring semester like?
CTW uses a classroom-to-stage model; we have theatre classes, then we produce a play with those students. We provide students with 10 hours of theatre class, and during those 10 weeks we hold auditions for their play. Once the play is cast, there will be rehearsals in addition to the classes. Rehearsals are 3 times a week (Monday evening, Thursday evening and Saturday afternoon), though your student may not need to come to all rehearsals. You will have an opportunity to let us know about schedule conflicts and receive a rehearsal calendar. We can work around a lot of conflicts, so don’t be afraid to ask!

We only accept as many students as we have roles in the play–every student who auditions will receive some sort of speaking role in the play. This is our policy because we design our classes and rehearsals to feed off each other, so that by participating in both, the student gets a well-rounded experience. And we know that many students won’t improve until they go through the audition, rehearsal, and production process.

We find it’s easiest to compare our operations to a dance studio, or a music studio. We accept students, teach them all no matter what level they’re at, then we perform with those students at the end of the semester.

Does my student have to take classes to audition for the play?
Yes; we are a theatre education facility that prioritizes the benefits of classes and a production process as two necessary halves of a whole.

Does my student have to audition for the play?
No, they are welcome to just take the classes and not audition for the play. We usually have a number of students every semester that only take the classes.

If they are 10 years old or older, they can ask to do a technical position on the play instead, like lights, sound, or deck crew. Many of these roles are only needed for about 10 days, the week before the play and the play weekend. So it may be an option to participate in the play even if your schedule doesn’t work for rehearsals.

How do you split students up?
We split students up according to age: 3-4 year olds in one group, then 5-6 year olds in another group, 7-9 year olds in another, then 10-12 year olds, in another, and 13-18 year olds in another. We also have an advanced program for 15-18 year olds who are interested in pursuing theatre after high school.

What kind of classes do you offer?
For our Fall and Winter/Spring semesters, our core class is the Theatre Class. It covers acting, auditions, theatre terminology and culture, theatre history, script analysis, and improvisation. This class emphasizes the foundations of theatre from an acting standpoint. The Theatre Class tuition overs the classes and participation in the plays–there is no separate production participation fee.

We offer special topics classes as well, but those do not have an associated play. Our special topics classes include musical theatre, devising (collaborative playwrighting), choreography, technical theatre and design, and sewing/costuming. These classes may not be offered every semester.

What’s the Summer like?
Summer at CTW is a little different!

We have three musical theatre productions in the summer: one is a summer-long production for ages 10-18. This production meets 3 evenings a week all summer and performs their play in the beginning of August.

The next summer musical is for teenagers only; it contains mature content and long rehearsals. This musical gets produced in about five weeks! They typically meet each weekday afternoon.

Our newest edition to the musicals is our 7-9 year old musical. They start in the beginning of May with evening rehearsals and perform their musical at the end of June.

We also offer a variety of week-long day camps, as well as the occasional one-day workshop. We have a different day camp each week. Topics include Musical Theatre, Acting Camps, and our standard theatre day camps. Registration for summer programs usually opens in late February.

Tell me how CTW engages children with special needs, differing abilities, and neurodiversity
First of all, CTW accepts all students, regardless of ability status. The only reason we ask about special needs on the registration form is so we can plan accordingly. This goes for young people with differing physical, developmental, and behavioral needs, as well as various iterations of neurodiversity. 

The best way to have a great experience here, if you are concerned about your child’s experience, is to let us know in advance and start that conversation! Your students’ teachers and other related staff will create a plan designed to adjust our programming for your child. We have so many wonderful resources at our disposal so we can equip ourselves to best engage your child.

If your student needs ASL interpretation to participate in our classes, let us know! 

My child is very new to theatre. What can I expect?

Don’t worry, our staff have planned for students who are new to theatre and will be sure to bring your child up to speed on all the theatre basics. Many of our students are new, or have only a year or two of experience.

If your child is 13+ years old and worried about starting now, just let us know and we will touch base with the teacher so they can give your child extra support in their lessons and rehearsal process.

My child is an experienced performer. What should I expect?
As theatre teachers, we want to do what any other teacher would want to do when encountering a student who is new to us: we will want to spend time in the classroom with them, learning about their strengths and experiences as well as areas of growth opportunity. There’s no clean and clear “test” for theatre skills and studies, so we will want to see for ourselves where your student is.

There are plenty of opportunities for challenges and leadership within each class and rehearsal process, and it is in the staff’s best interest, as well as your child’s, to make sure your child is adequately challenged while seeing to the needs of all the other students. There are various roles available in the plays; students can challenge themselves by taking on directing, technical theatre, and design tasks; and directors can always use help bringing the newer students up to their best work. Progress is more important than achievement, here.

We want to make it clear: we aren’t interested in making anyone a “star.” We are theatre educators who seek to work with young people to develop their theatre skills to their next level, and to equip them with all the life skills naturally inherent in the theatre-making process.