Classes & Workshops

Note from the Director of Education

Wheelock Family Theatre’s education programs are sustained by both a professional theatre staff and Wheelock College, whose mission is improving the quality of life for children and families.

The result is a dynamic and exciting drama curriculum for youngsters between the ages of 5 and 18 that teaches drama skills and connects those skills to child and adolescent theory and practice.

Child development faculty at Wheelock College work with WFT artist-educators to create challenging drama and movement games, improvisations, and exercises that help youngsters learn not just the how but also the why of onstage thoughts, feelings, and actions.

While we encourage students to repeat classes, particularly at the youngest, creative dramatics level, we also thoughtfully design a scope-and-sequence of class offerings within each age group so that students are consistently asked to build upon what came before. Early creative dramatics classes lead to introductory acting, movement, and improvisation classes, then to specialty classes such as musical theatre, stage combat, and scene work. Experienced students can then audition for Wheelock Family Theatre's advanced performance programs and mainstage productions.

Each young person attending WFT drama classes receives individual attention. Teacher-students ratios are kept at 10:1 or fewer.  The Director of Education receives teacher feedback after each class, highlighting individual strengths, challenges, and areas of drama skills that need work.  This information is discreetly shared amongst teachers to help them prepare teaching and learning strategies that will best suit each young person as s/he progresses from class-to-class.  This thoughtful approach also enables teachers and staff to customize an individual student's pathway through the WFT curriculum by suggesting future classes that will fit their needs.

If you would like our help in selecting the best choice(s) for your child, please contact John Bay at 617-879-2252 or jbay@wheelock.edu


Summer Classes

SUMMER I: JUNE INTENSIVES


For tuition discounts please contact WFT directly at 617-879-2252.

Summer I: June 26, 27, 30, July 1, 2, Thurs.,Fri.,Mon.,Tues.,Wed., 9:00am-3:30pm, Tuition: $400, Extended Day Option: 3:30-5:00pm: $75 per week

Ages 6-8 Bringing Stories to Life.

Takes favorite children’s stories from page to stage. Students will explore how telling stories onstage to an audience is similar to and different from reading a book alone. First and foremost, the goal is to have fun!

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Summer I: June 26, 27, 30, July 1, 2, Thurs.,Fri.,Mon.,Tues.,Wed., 9:00am-3:30pm, Tuition: $400, Extended Day Option: 3:30-5:00pm: $75 per week

Ages 9-11 Playmaking with Puppets.

Offered in collaboration with Puppet Showplace Theatre. An absorbing, hands-on introduction to this ancient and worldwide form of theatre. Students will travel through the universe of puppet types and styles, then build and animate puppet characters of their own.

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Summer I: June 26, 27, 30, July 1, 2, Thurs.,Fri.,Mon.,Tues.,Wed., 9:00am-3:30pm, Tuition: $400, Extended Day Option: 3:30-5:00pm: $75 per week

Ages 12-16 Unlocking Characters Through Movement.

Actors can discover much about their characters through physical improvisations. Explores the different aspects of expressive movement, including physical character work, character analysis, and creating emotion from sensation.

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Summer I: June 26, 27, 30, July 1, 2, Thurs.,Fri.,Mon.,Tues.,Wed., 9:00am-3:30pm, Tuition: $400, Extended Day Option: 3:30-5:00pm: $75 per week

Ages 13-18 Musical Theatre Scene Study.

An opportunity for the advanced musical theatre student to further explore the complexity of developing a character in a multitude of musical styles. Drawing from musicals produced by Wheelock Family Theatre—from Beauty and the Beast to Hairspray—students will focus on developing songs, scenes, and production numbers. The five days will culminate in an afternoon workshop presentation on the WFT mainstage. By invitation and/or audition only.

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SUMMER II: JULY PROGRAMS

Ages 5-6


For tuition discounts please contact WFT directly at 617-879-2252.

Creative Dramatics and Stagecraft. Tuition:$400 per week. $1500 for all four weeks. NO extended day option.

A fun and physical introduction to the building blocks of drama. Students will explore a different theme each week through movement exercises, story reenactments, theatre games, improvisation, role-playing, music, dance and visual arts. Morning work is focused on drama activities, while students work on set, prop, and costume design in the afternoon. Each Friday, family and friends are invited to join the group as they showcase what they have learned that week about the process of theatre-making. Students may enroll for one, two, three, or all four weeks.

  • The Magic Bus. Monday, 7/7-Friday, 7/11, 8:30am-3:00pm.

  • Shake, Rattle, & Roll. Monday, 7/14-Friday, 7/18, 8:30am-3:00pm.

  • Party at the Zoo! Monday, 7/21-Friday, 7/25, 8:30am-3:00pm.

  • The Wonderful World of Dr. Seuss. Monday, 7/28-Friday, 8/1, 8:30am-3:00pm.

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Ages 7-8


For tuition discounts please contact WFT directly at 617-879-2252.

Summer Semester II: Monday, 7/7-Friday, 7/25, 9:00am-3:30pm

Alice in Wonderland: A Creative Dramatics Comprehensive. Tuition: $1100 for all three weeks; no partial attendance. Extended day 3:30-5:00pm: $75/week.

A comprehensive three-week curriculum, with each week’s approach designed to build upon previous work both onstage and offstage. Students will explore the story of Alice in Wonderland, developing characters through improvisation, movement, and vocal exercises. They will also design and create set pieces, costumes, and props for their culminating demonstration on Friday, 7/25.

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Summer Semester II: Monday, 7/28-Friday, 8/1, 9:00am-3:30pm.

They’re Alive! Using Costumes, Props, and Other Visual Elements to Bring Characters to Life. Tuition: $400. Extended day 3:30-5:00pm: $75/week.

An opportunity for students to work with WFT artists and designers to create imaginative visual worlds for the stage. Participants will also investigate how the thoughtful use of visual elements can enhance an actor’s performance.

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Ages 9-11


For tuition discounts please contact WFT directly at 617-879-2252.

Play Production I. Monday, 7/7-Friday, 7/18, 9:00am-12:00 noon.

Play Production II. Monday, 7/21-Friday, 8/1, 9:00am-12:00 noon.

Tuition: $450 per two-week session; $850 for both two-week sessions.

*Can be combined with Afternoon Specialty Workshops for a full-day session.*

A chance to experience the whole theatrical process from beginning to end! Students design, produce, and perform pieces created from dramatic literature for invited guests at the end of each two-week session. Previous experience recommended but not required.

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Morning Specialty Workshops: 9:00am-12:00 noon.

*Can be combined with Afternoon Specialty Workshops for a full-day session.*

Tuition for morning or afternoon workshops: $235 each for 1-3 sessions. $850 for 4 sessions. $200 each for 6 or more sessions.

Inventing Movement. Monday, 7/7-Friday, 7/11.

Expands students’ movement vocabularies through exercises and physical improvisations, supports development of body and movement awareness, and encourages observation of other’s mannerisms. Students will learn how actors express a character’s inner life and intentions through movement.

Monsters & Heroes. Monday, 7/14-Friday, 7/18.

Explores early myths and legends from a variety of world cultures. Students will examine and dramatize stories from a range of traditions, learning how to realistically interpret classic tales and larger-than-life characters.

Broadway Kids I. Monday, 7/21-Friday, 7/25

A high-energy class for students who love to sing, dance, and act. Each session focuses on a different selection of song and dance numbers from contemporary and classic musicals, with an emphasis on developing strong ensemble skills and a Broadway-ready professional attitude – so students can choose one or both.

Broadway Kids II. Monday, 7/28-Friday, 8/1.

A high-energy class for students who love to sing, dance, and act. Each session focuses on a different selection of song and dance numbers from contemporary and classic musicals, with an emphasis on developing strong ensemble skills and a Broadway-ready professional attitude – so students can choose one or both.

Register Now >>

Afternoon Specialty Workshops: 12:30-3:30pm.

*Can be combined with Play Production or Morning Specialty Workshops for a full-day session.*

Tuition for morning or afternoon workshops: $235 each for 1-3 sessions. $850 for 4 sessions. $200 each for 6 or more sessions.

Comedy Jam. Monday, 7/7-Friday, 7/11.

A light-hearted exploration of the intricate, almost mathematical structure of comedy. Students will work on comic scenes, invent comic personalities, and discover what makes an audience laugh.

Intro to Voice for the Actor. Monday, 7/7-Friday, 7/11.

An initial journey through the various voices that can be produced when using appropriate vocal technique. Students will connect voice to posture, gesture, and full-body movement through improvisation to create vivid characters.

Shakin’ It With Shakespeare. Monday, 7/14-Friday, 7/18.

Bring on the Bard! This class decodes the sometimes perplexing language of Shakespeare, helping students to find meaning, humor, and a variety of other emotions behind the words.

Intro to Stage Combat. Monday, 7/14-Friday, 7/18.

How does one create the illusion of uncontrolled mayhem on stage? This class focuses on the importance of safety, spatial awareness, and clear communication with fight partners at all times.

Creating 5-Minute Plays. Monday, 7/21-Friday, 7/25.

A concise introduction to the playwriting process. Students will build on initial ideas through improvisation, develop scripts, and produce and perform their own original works.

Puppet Theatre. Monday, 7/21-Friday, 7/25.

Using found objects, their own imaginations, and craft supplies, students will design and build one-of-a-kind puppet characters. They will also learn how to connect puppet manipulation to visual storytelling, and gain the performance skills needed to bring their creations to life!

Improv for the Actor. Monday, 7/28-Friday, 8/1.

A variety of fast-paced games and exercises build students’ ability to think on their feet. Participants will learn how to respond calmly, creatively, and quickly to a variety of unexpected situations.

All About Auditioning. Monday, 7/28-Friday, 8/1.

Students will prepare scenes and monologue and learn how to create a compelling resume and head shot. Focuses on the individual actor’s particular strengths.

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Ages 12-16


For tuition discounts please contact WFT directly at 617-879-2252.

Story Troupers. Four weeks: Monday, 7/7-Friday, 8/1, 9:00am-12:00 noon. Tuition: $850.

Story Troupers gives experienced teen performers the opportunity to play a wide range of roles, from outrageous slapstick comedy to serious drama. For the first two weeks, Story Troupers rehearse an original show based upon children’s literature. Troupers then take the show on a two-week tour, performing for young audiences at childcare centers, hospitals, camps, and libraries throughout greater Boston. Troupers also have the opportunity to perform at various Wheelock Family Theatre events during the 2014-2015 season. Previous stage experience, a willingness to take artistic risks, and a four-week morning commitment are necessary. Story Troupers full. Check out all our other summer classes!

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Morning Specialty Workshops: 9:00am-12:00 noon.

*Can be combined with Afternoon Specialty Workshops for a full-day session.*

Tuition for morning or afternoon workshops: $235 each for 1-3 sessions. $850 for 4 sessions. $200 each for 6 or more sessions.

Comedy Improv. Monday, 7/7-Friday, 7/11.

Introduces the fundamental skills of comic improvisation. Students learn what makes a scene funny while honing their ability to listen and build upon other actors’ ideas.

Acting Shakespeare. Monday, 7/14-Friday, 7/18.

Focuses on the physicality and poetry a Shakespearean actor needs to make language spring to life and characters to shine. Pre-memorization of a Shakespeare excerpt assigned by the instructor is required.

Vocal Technique: Finding Your Voice. Monday, 7/21-Friday, 7/25.

Emphasizes theatre breath and vocal technical training to achieve supported, confident speaking. Students will also learn how to integrate the voice with the body to enhance physical acting skills.

Suzuki and Viewpoints. Monday, 7/28-Friday, 8/1.

Explores two of the most influential approaches to actor training. Tadashi Suzuki’s method uses exercises inspired by Greek theatre and martial arts; Viewpoints, developed by director Anne Bogart and playwright-director Tina Landau, is an improvisation-based technique for examining a play through movement and gesture.

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Afternoon Specialty Workshops: 12:30-3:30pm.

*Can be combined with Afternoon Specialty Workshops for a full-day session.*

Tuition for morning or afternoon workshops: $235 each for 1-3 sessions. $850 for 4 sessions. $200 each for 6 or more sessions.

Creating Characters I. Monday, 7/7-Friday, 7/11.

Examines the essential elements of developing distinctive and believable characters. Exercises, improvs, and theatre games help students make strong performance choices physically, vocally, and emotionally. (Sessions I and II cover different material; students can choose to enroll in one or both.)

Laban Movement Technique. Monday, 7/7-Friday, 7/11.

Explores this fascinating technique for breaking down all movements into categories such as direct/indirect, strong/light, free/bound, or sudden/sustained. A challenging way to expand personal movement vocabularies—while getting a terrific workout!

Creating Characters II. Monday, 7/14-Friday, 7/18.

Focuses on interpreting characters from a script. Students learn to identify and overcome their individual actor habits to develop characters who are distinctly different from themselves. (Sessions I and II cover different material; students can choose to enroll in one or both.)

Intro to Directing. Monday, 7/14-Friday, 7/18.

What does a director need to know? Explores the fundamentals of directing: choosing material, casting, working with designers, the rehearsal process, and performance.

Broadway Song & Dance I. Monday, 7/21-Friday, 7/25.

An ambitious one-week journey through song and dance numbers from contemporary and classic musicals. Engages students in the performer’s triple play of acting while dancing and singing. (Sessions I and II cover different material; students can choose one or both.)

Improv for the Actor. Monday, 7/21-Friday, 7/25.

One of an actor’s most valuable tools is the ability in both rehearsals and performances to create new ideas in the moment, on the spot. Students will explore various improv styles and learn new ways to be loose, clear-headed, open, and quick-thinking.

Broadway Song & Dance II. Monday, 7/28-Friday, 8/1.

Another ambitious one-week journey through song and dance numbers from contemporary and classic musicals. Engages students in the performer’s triple play of acting while dancing and singing. (Sessions I and II cover different material; students can choose one or both.)

Meisner Acting Technique. Monday, 7/28-Friday, 8/1.

An introduction to this essential element in an actor’s education. The goal of Meisner technique is to live truthfully under given imaginary circumstances. This class will help students bring the spontaneity of improvisation to work with text.

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SUMMER III: AUGUST INTENSIVES


For tuition discounts please contact WFT directly at 617-879-2252.

Summer III: Monday, 8/4-Friday, 8/15. Tuition: $850 Extended Day Option Available for Ages 7-14 only – 3:30-5:00pm: $75 per week.

Ages 7-9 Creating a Mini-Musical. 9:00am-3:30pm.

A fast-paced intensive program for young people with previous stage experience. In two weeks, students will advance their acting, singing, and dancing skills while also discovering more about production elements such as set, props, costume, sound and light design. Culminates in a performance-demonstration for families and friends on Friday, August 15th. Students should have prior drama experience.

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Summer III: Monday, 8/4-Friday, 8/15. Tuition: $850 Extended Day Option Available for Ages 7-14 only – 3:30-5:00pm: $75 per week.

Ages 10-14 Musical Theatre: Developing Performance Skills. 9:00am-3:45pm/

This Youth Advanced Performance Intensive provides a positive educational experience for the young musical theatre student while simulating the “two weeks and up” rehearsal process found at many professional theatre companies. Students will focus on two particular aspects of character development: immersing a character in song and physicalizing a character. The two weeks will culminate in a fully-staged evening presentation of a musical (TBA) on the WFT main stage on Friday, August 15th.

By invitation and/or audition only.

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Summer III: Monday, 8/4-Friday, 8/15. Tuition: $850.

Ages 14-18 Living the Moment: The Core of the Actor’s Work. 12:00-6:30pm.

This Teen Advanced Performance Intensive provides a two-week advanced theatre training for the teen students committed to deepening their acting skills and knowledge of craft. By studying scenes from outstanding plays through challenging vocal, movement, and character work, students experience the actor’s process in depth. While the focus is on ensemble training, students are given specific individual attention and feedback. Culminates in an “Open Studio” performance-demonstration on the WFT main stage the evening of Friday, August 15th.

By invitation and/or audition only.

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Fall, Winter, & Spring Offerings

Classes & Workshops – Weekly classes and specialized workshops in creative dramatics, acting, expressive movement, dance, Shakespeare, and more.

Vacation Week Intensives – Intensive theater experiences for young people during school vacation weeks.

Summer Offerings

Classes & Workshops – Four weeks of acting classes with workshops in movement, voice training, and theatre crafts; and Story Troupers, a teenage touring ensemble.

Advanced Performance Intensives – Two weeks in August for the experienced student.

 

Not only did I have so much fun, but I also received a lot of constructive criticism. It's extremely hard to find a program that's both entertaining and beneficial — most are interested in one or the other.  

– Wilmene H, teen intensive program member

Register For Classes

...or download our registration form (PDF).

 

Everyone takes something personal and lasting from their participation in the theatre whether as an actor or a member of the audience. I hope that many other kids will share my good fortune and have the opportunity to be part of the Wheelock family.  

– Jacob B, student & actor