I’ve been looking into acting classes for my grade-schooler. She enjoys her school musicals and if I don’t get her involved in something else, I will be doomed to hear Mary Poppins songs for the next year. On top of that, I have a 4-year-old who is well below age standards in speech. Any form of talking exercises is going to be helpful for him. Unfortunately, looking around, I have found most classes outside of my reach financially – especially when I start thinking of multiple children.
So, I decided to see if we qualify for Children’s Theater Company’s ACT Pass scholarship program. I went in thinking, “This is probably a long shot. I have a job, own a home, and I manage to feed my children healthy foods.” The fact is, although money will always be a concern for us, we live well above the poverty line.
However, as it turned out, we did qualify and it was a relatively simple process! Here is how it works:
The Children’s Theatre Company’s ACT One Program is part of their plan for making theatre accessible to all families. If you qualify, besides receiving discounted scholarships to camps and classes, tickets are made available to the family at $5 a piece.
It took me less than 15 minutes to fill out the online application. The questions were very simple. They needed to know the size of our family and ages of the children, our annual income, and any special needs our family may have. After submitting the application, I was immediately sent an email letting me know it was received and that CTC would let me know within a week whether my family qualified.
True to their word, I was notified within a week that we had qualified.
There are two basic benefits to the Act Pass Program: The greatly-reduced ticket price to the shows and the income-based scholarships to classes and camps.
The $5.00 tickets seem too good to be true, but in reality taking a family of six to a performance, even at the $10.00 rush ticket rate (now $15), was out of our budget. However, a night out for a family of six at $30.00 seems doable. The ACT Pass tickets are only available on-line. Members receive an email letting them know when tickets become available. Tickets remain available until they are claimed, but they go fast. Tickets for The Cat in the Hat went up while I was on a weekend camping trip. By the time I got home and attempted to order some, I was only able to secure 2 tickets seated together.
There is a limit of 6 tickets per family per production, so once you have more than four kids, you’ll need to choose your favorites for any given production. I say that jokingly, but by the time you have more than four kids, they’re ages are spread out. I’ve been informed by larger families, that after four kids, you quit going places together as a family anyways. In the case of CTC, Some shows are geared toward older kids — some toward younger. So, in most cases, six tickets will be plenty. You also have the option of purchasing lap passes at the door for any children under 3.
CTC’s Theatre Arts Training (TAT) program is designed to mold the next generation of theatre professionals in a guided, dynamic, studio-style program that is tailored to the needs of each individual student.
Camps and Classes
The other perk of participating in the ACT Pass Program is the scholarships to camps and classes. Summer camps range from one to two weeks and offer full and half day programs. Tuition ranges from $200 – $480, depending on the length and duration. Participants in ACT Pass can receive partial scholarships to these camps. These scholarship amounts vary depending on income. For us it was still a stretch, but one we could conceivably do.
We signed up and qualified for ACT Pass after all the scholarships were given out, but we were able to get on a waiting list and were offered a spot in a camp a couple weeks before it started.
My daughter loved it! She can’t wait to do it again. Among other things (she wasn’t very forthcoming with details), they learned singing exercises and warmups, planned and wrote their own play and performed it for parents on the last day. She also received a t-shirt, which I’m having a hard time pealing off of her to wash.
I am really glad I took a chance and applied for this program. It was easy to do and it got my daughter involved in a program that we would otherwise not have been able to do. If cost is an obstacle for you, I would highly recommend giving it a try. After all, if you are honest, you will either be admitted to the program or not based on preset guidelines. If you are not admitted, then you will be put on a mailing list for other offers and discounts throughout the year. To me, it seems like a win-win situation. I was not compensated for this post.