NoHo is getting more theatre kids!
Well NoHo is a theatre district all right. But North Hollywood is also becoming a theatre neighborhood for our youth. We are happy to share that the Children’s Theatre Group of Southern California (CTGSC) has moved to its new home at the Avery Schreiber Playhouse, located at 4934 Lankershim Blvd, in the NoHo Arts District.
CTGSC is an intensive, professionally oriented, ongoing theatre Company for ages 5 to 18, offered September through May. Through Company membership, actors are given weekly classes, including Improvisation, Monologues, Scene Study, Song and Dance, and Technical Theatre. Members of the program have the opportunity to also audition and participate in two yearly main stage productions of the highest quality for audiences of all ages.
“[CTGSC] is a place of joy and play and community – so much of what the theatre should be about… The shows are consistently professional and are wonderful experiences for both the young actors and their audiences.” – Jason Alexander
CTGSC creates extraordinary theatre experiences that educate, challenge, and inspire young people and their communities. Through its arts education and mentorship programs, CTGSC instructs children and young adults in all aspects of the performing arts and teaches life-skills and values that translate to the world beyond the stage. CTGSC’s goal is to provide a setting where actors feel free to be themselves, able to explore the unique creative elements that exist within them, to feel encouraged, and special, and where they can make lifelong friends.
CTGSC producer Robert Briscoe Evans gave us some background on the Company.
Tell us some history on the Company.
Children’s Theatre Group (CTGSC) was created in 2002 as an offshoot of a summer arts program (Southern California Arts Program – SCAP). The campers were always so sad when summer ended that its co-founders/co-artistic directors, Sherry Lynn (Evans) and Bonnie Hellman were encouraged to form a year-round haven. They created a theatre company for children based on an adult company. Dues are paid monthly that provide two hour classes weekly, two showcases a year for all its members, and the opportunity to audition for and perform in two professional yearly main state productions. The ages for its members are from 8 – 18, at which time they are prepared for college and their future pursuits.
Both artistic directors are working professionals. Sherry Lynn’s accomplishments have been heavily based in voiceover and she has worked heavily with Disney, Pixar, etc. in animation (see her resume at www.sherrylynnvoiceover.com). Bonnie Hellman has an extensive resume in television, film, and theatre and is an award-winning theatre director.
The two other full-time instructors are Jessica Evans an NYU/Tisch graduate, who has been teaching at CTGSC for the past four years. Jessica brings her improvisation skills to her students as well as her theatre/film background. CTGSC’s other professional teacher is Marc Antonio Pritchett. Besides being an accomplished actor and singer, Marc shares his expertise in Shakespeare with all of the Company members.
What do kids learn in the Company?
Creatively, all CTGSC members have a two-hour class each week as part of their membership. They learn improvisation techniques and skills as well as all the fundamental acting tools needed to be a well-rounded, professional actor. They also have the opportunity to audition for and be cast in two of our company’s main stage productions that typically run for 12 performances. Here they learn from professional working directors, musical directors, and choreographers what it truly means to be a professional actor. Our productions, though performed by children, are by no means treated any differently than an adult production, thus giving our members a truly quality experience.
Along with the creative training, CTGSC’s members learn trust, respect, and care for one another. It is a safe haven, where each member can take risks and discover himself, feeling comfortable in his own shoes, and grow into a strong, independent individual. These tools are equally important as they relate to what the Company is about – a high level of creativity and experience. Life skills through theatre skills!
Why makes CTGSC different than other acting academies?
CTGSC is unique in that it isn’t merely a theatrical academy with performances… but a theatre COMPANY. As mentioned earlier, it is based on how adult theatre companies are run, going way beyond preparation for a show… including classes and 12 performances of main stage professional productions.
We also prepare our members for college auditions, should they desire to move forward with an acting career. We have three levels of classes with our final being the Classical Class for our high school students. Besides their level of expertise being challenged, they are equipped with a contemporary and Shakespeare monologue, both of which they can use for college auditions around the country. Our success rate is at 100% for college entry into Stanford, NYU Tisch, Emerson, etc.
We have also been successful in preparing younger students for entrance into Milliken Middle School Performing Arts Magnet (in Sherman Oaks) LACSHA, and many private school arts programs.
CTGSC was also named 2010’s BEST COMMUNITY/YOUTH THEATRE IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA by Broadway World.Com
Do you have other professional theatre folks visit the Company?
As you may know, Shirley MacLaine attended a performance of Pajama Game, after which she got on stage and regaled the audience and cast with stories.
John Rubinstein (Tony award-winning actor, currently on Broadway in Pippin) talked to our Classical Class.
Original Charlie Brown in Snoopy, James Gleason, did a talk back after one of our performances of Snoopy, along with original composer, Larry Grossman.
Fred Sanders, original director of some of the David Ives one acts, did a talk back after one of our performances of those same one acts.
“CTGSC is a magical island of real creative, professional theatre for children. The directors are amazing and the productions are absolutely sparkling with discipline, imagination, and vision.” – Annie Potts
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