NCT launches at-home ‘Acting Adventures’ for children during social distancing

The inside of Nashville Children's Theatre

Don’t know what to do with your kid stuck at home?  Nashville Children’s Theatre has some options.

Most 90-years-olds aren’t the best at embracing technology.

Children participating in Nashville Children's Theatre's interactive workshops.

Children participating in Nashville Children’s Theatre’s interactive workshops.

That’s not the case for Nashville Children’s Theatre which, in its 90th anniversary season, has adapted its classes for young audiences to a digital platform during this period of social distancing.

“What’s been beautiful about the online classes is they remain close to our mission to create transformational theatrical experiences,” says Executive Director Ernie Nolan. “As soon as things began to develop, we asked ourselves, ‘how can we be of service to families and audiences?’ There’s been a lot of families counting on us for childcare, so when we found out the kids couldn’t come to the building, we’ve done everything we can to bring the building to them.”

Ernie Nolan, NCT's executive artistic director

Ernie Nolan, NCT’s executive artistic director.

 

The country’s oldest professional theatre for young audiences has adapted seven exclusive classes online for children ages 3 to 18 on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. Each class runs 40 minutes with warmups led by a NCT teaching artist, all based around a central theme.

“Our programs continue to go through college-age, so it was about looking at what we had to offer previously and then brainstorming how that might work online,” Nolan says. “We’ve definitely discovered that one of the skills that theatre people have is creative problem solving.”

NCT’s primary concern is not only the children it serves on a daily basis, but also the professional teaching artists it employs.

“We wanted to make sure to offer opportunities for our teaching artists,” Nolan continues. “At a time where things are so uncertain, it was exciting to be able to offer some financial assistance to help them get by as well.”

Nolan says he was inspired by how the entire children’s theatre community “immediately responded and had each other’s backs” on a national scale.

“There’s been weekly Zoom sessions, webinars in the field, message boards created, and platforms for us to share how we are all getting through this period,” Nolan says. “It’s been amazing to stay connected and lean on each other.”

With so many NCT-active children in the public school system, NCT has been busy  adjusting to the needs of its community.

But Nolan reminds us that these times will pass and, when they do, there will be a newfound appreciation for live performance.

“We are all being challenged in multiple ways, but I think this time will have us coming out stronger,” he says. “After a time of social distancing, we all should be ready for an explosion of being able to gather together in a theater again, make memories, and experience art together.”

NCT’s At-Home Acting Adventures starting March 24:

Roll Playing Radio

Ages: 11-18

Days: Thursdays (Six, 1-hr live Sessions)

Dates/Times for Class Session 1:
March 26: 11am; April 2: 11am;
April 9: 9:45am, 11am, 12:15pm, or 1:30pm
(class will be split into the same three small groups)
April 16: 9:45am, 11am, 12:15pm, or 1:30pm
(class will be split into the same three small groups)
April 23: 9:45am, 11am, 12:15pm, or 1:30pm
(class will be split into the same three small groups)
April 30: 11am

Dates/Times for Class Session 2:
March 26: 3:30pm; April 2: 3:30pm;
April 9: 3:30pm, 4:45pm, or 6:00pm
(class will be split into the same three small groups)
April 16: 3:30pm, 4:45pm, or 6:00pm
(class will be split into the same three small groups)
April 23: 3:30pm, 4:45pm, or 6:00pm
(class will be split into the same three small groups)
April 30: 3:30pm

Roll the dice. Take a risk. Inspired by role-playing games with a 20-sided die, this class challenges students to take the principles of levels, power, and characteristics and apply it to choices in voice acting. Roll Playing focuses on improvisation and imagination to create reactive and exciting scenes that will be presented in audio drama form at the end of the session.

In this class students will create a character starting from basic archetypes and rounding out those characters through a series of acting exercises. Being placed into smaller groups, students will then build on and embody those characters, creating backstories, and character voices as they test their wits against obstacles thrown their way.

At the end of the session, the student’s improvised encounter will then be transformed into a fully produced Audio Drama by Colin Peterson, a nationally recognized sound designer, winning “Best Action Sound Design” by the Audioverse Awards (national awarding association for audio drama podcasts) in 2020.

Advancing Your Acting

Ages: 11-18

Days: Thursdays
Times:
2pm (Four, 45-Minute live Sessions)
Dates:
March 26, April 2, April 9, April 16

Using the power of the internet, students will be lead on a skills-based curriculum to strengthen their actor’s toolbox, to better connect with audiences in person (or online). Students will practice imaginative devising work, character creation and making bold choices, and given performance techniques to help better their delivery of written material. Each student will receive individual instruction as well as positive group feedback.

After each session, students will receive work to complete at home to further the learning and skill building.

Drama Duos
Ages:
3-5

Days: Tues/Thurs at 9 and at 10, Weds/Fri at 9 and at 10
Dates:
March 24 & 26, March 31 & April 2, April 7 & 9, April 14 & 16

Drama Duos takes you and your little one on an adventurous romp through stories, picture books, and nursery rhymes using creative play. You’ll experience the fun of working together to tell stories and solve problems exercising the actor’s toolbox of body, voice and imagination. Each live session will feature drama exercises to warm-up your actor’s toolbox, a fun storytime, and a creative drama activity that explores the story!

After each session, families will receive at least two do-at-your-own-pace activities to continue the fun and drama learning at home.

Jungle Journeys

Ages: 5-7
Days: Tuesdays & Thursdays
Times:
11am OR 2pm (each live session lasts 20-30 minutes)
Dates:
March 24 & 26, March 31 & April 2, April 7 & 9, April 14 & 16

Students explore stories as they swing from vines and escape quicksand! Your child journeys into the Jungle for an imagination-filled adventure. Each live session will feature interactive jungle-themed creative drama activities to engage your young actor at home.

After each session, students will receive at least two do-at-your-own-pace activities to move the adventure forward.  Join the Jungle Crew today and find out what’s hiding in the Temple of Biv.

Superhero Training Academy

Ages: 5 – 7

Days: Wednesdays & Fridays
Time:
2pm (each live session lasts 20-30 minutes)
Dates: March 25 & 27, April 1 & April 3, April 8 & 10, April 15 & 17

The sky is the limit when it comes to what your students will create in this class. Don your capes and cowls, it’s time to suit up and get to work saving the world! Each live session will feature interactive superhero-themed creative drama activities to engage your young actor at home.

After each session, students will receive at least two do-at-your-own-pace activities to move the adventure forward. Join the Superhero Training Academy today.

Shipwrecked

Ages: 8-11
Days:
Tuesdays & Thursdays
Times:
1pm OR 3pm (each live session lasts 20-30 minutes)
Dates: March 24 & 26, March 31 & April 2, April 7 & 9, April 14 & 16

A terrible storm! A ship on crashing waves wrecks on a deserted island! Students create the adventurous story of a shipwreck and decide what happens next. Each live session will feature interactive creative drama activities to help engage your student actor’s imagination and develop their actor’s toolbox of body, voice, and imagination.

After each session, students will receive at least two do-at-your-own-pace activities to move the story forward and explore themes that excite them. Find out what happened on your voyage and help your fellow adventurers – they need you!

Character Creators

Ages: 8 – 11

Days: Wednesdays & Fridays
Times:
1pm (each live session lasts 20-30 minutes)
Dates: March 25 & 27, April 1 & April 3, April 8 & 10, April 15 & 17

Creating authentic characters is what makes an actor believable. From comedic to dramatic, these students will hone their character creation skills from the comfort of their own house. Each live session will feature interactive creative drama activities to help engage your student actor’s imagination and develop their actor’s toolbox of body, voice, and imagination.

After each session, students will receive at least two do-at-your-own-pace activities to move the work forward and explore themes that excite them.