Acting Classes for kids offer more than just a chance for them to be on stage. While I started with theater arts training for a grade schooler who had caught the acting bug, I found it was also useful for my shyer child who had troubles pronouncing all of his words.
While we took advantage of CTC’s needs-based ACT Pass program, there are several great options for acting classes around the Twin Cities. I’ve listed some of our favorites below and included a map of where each is located.
Moore Than Dance – Our partner company, Moore Than Dance, offers more than just dance classes (I’m assuming that pun was attended, although they are also located near Moore Lake). Conveniently located just outside Northeast Minneapolis off of 694, Moore Than Dance offers musical theater classes as well as dance in a wholesome environment that focuses on creativity, personal growth and the inherent value of each student.
Children’s Theatre Company – Both Gianna and I have taken advantage of the Theater Arts Training (TATs) program at Children’s Theatre. One perk of going through CTC is that they can afford to offer scholarships. Sometimes that makes them a better option for families who qualify. CTC is located in South Minneapolis.
Shell Lake Arts Center – Just over the Wisconsin border, Shell lakes offers acting classes and summer camps each year.
Youth Performance Company – Is located Southeast Minneapolis off of University. However, they are moving soon. Until we update this entry, you should call ahead for location.
Brave New Workshop – Located in downtown Minneapolis, Brave New Workshop specializes in comedy and improv.
Merrill Arts Center is located in Woodbury and offers acting classes and camps throughout the year.
Stages Theatre Company – Stages is located in Hopkins and offers classes, camps and workshops. Kids can audition for their productions and will work alongside professionals.
SteppingStone Theatre – Although we don’t have experience with their acting classes, we have attended community events and auditions at Steppingstone Theatre and find them an enthustiastic and child-centered theater program. SteppingStone is located in Saint Paul.
10 Reasons to Choose Acting Classes
As parents, we only have so much time and money for extracurricular activities. Eventually our kids choose their own activities, but when I was still making the call, I often chose acting classes for these ten reasons:
- My Kids Love Theatre Arts Training. It started with my grade school daughter who was absolutely certain she wanted to be an actress when she grows up. I signed us up for the ACT Pass Scholarship Program. After watching my the five-year-old glow while participating in a sample class, I signed him up, too.
- I hope Theatre Arts Training will teach the value of hard work. This alone would make my time and expense worth it. My daughter wasn’t really one of those kids who likes to put effort into things.Despite the fact that it was hard work sometimes, she really enjoyed it. She is in high school now and I can say that, while acting is no longer her thing, she has learned the value of hard work.
- I’m Always Looking for Fun Ways to Help with Language Development. My 5-year-old was slow to talk and had difficulties with some sounds. With early childhood intervention, he started to become intelligible, but I worried he wouldn’t not be ready for Kindergarten next year. Theatre Arts Training was a part of our intervention efforts. At ten, he still needs to work on speech, but we have seen great strides.
- Theatre Arts Training Builds Confidence and Encourages Public Speaking. Girls have it hard growing up. They can be mean to each other, boys can be pushy, and there is pressure on girls, in particular, to please everyone around them. Anything I can do to encourage self-confidence and independent thought is a plus in my book.
- Acting Encourages Teamwork. This is another thing that makes me wonder if my 5-year-old will be ready for kindergarten. He doesn’t seem to be aware of how his actions affect the people around him. Hopefully a few months of working with other children, taking turns, following direction, watching for cues and all the other things that go with acting, will help him be a little more ready.
- Arts Education Improves Academic Performance. This is according to studies. I don’t have proof of this yet with my own children. I do know that when my husband and I were in high school, he struggled with a lot of home and school issues. The schools’ response, despite his test scores, was often to pull him out of “unessential” programs and stick him into vocational classes. When he finally got to a school which encouraged his creative side, his academic grades went from barely passing to honor roll. That’s pretty good anecdotal evidence to back up the studies. You can read about school-related benefits here.
- Theatre Helps Children See The World From Other Viewpoints. I think of Seedfolk and Snowflake immediately. In my experience, stories are essential to help children become less self-centered in their view of the world.
- Acting Is a Method Used To Help Children Work Through Fears. Last spring, some creep was peeping through windows in my neighborhood. He was probably casing; we don’t know. But later, after he was arrested, we learned some scary things about him. Unfortunately my daughter was one of his victims and my children are all dealing with a lot of fear from that experience. Having someone peep through a window at you is creepy for an adult, but it is downright terrifying for a child. I hope as they expand their abilities to act, they can work through these fears and get past them.
- I get to support a program I believe in. Children’s Theatre Company is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Any money I spend, goes back into creating these experiences for youth.
- It actually is a Family Event For Us. Children’s Theatre is in the same building as the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. While the older children take their classes, the rest of us hang out at the MIA. Even going weekly during class times, we still haven’t hit every art cart or completely explored all the exhibits.
Those are my top ten reasons. What are your reasons for the activities that make your cut? We would love to hear your thoughts.
This article was originally published in February 2015
and most recently updated August 17, 2019