Projects are the hallmark of PLAY Conservatory. Immersed in a learn-by-doing approach, the students (ages 4 to 17, depending on the project) take part in a fully realized theatrical production. Each project fosters the development of onstage performance technique as well as skills in professionalism, literacy, and leadership. Moreover, skills training relevant to the demands of the play is integrated into the rehearsal process, making each project unique. For example, the script for Amazing Adventures of the Marvelous Monkey King required a fusion of Chinese Martial Arts and Hip Hop Dance, so for the project expert teaching artists were hired to train the actors in the authentic movements; the students attended a skills class once per week in addition to rehearsals for the play; then the choreographer incorporated the learned movements into the action of the play.
For each project, qualified teaching artists are hired to work with students. Likewise, professional stagecraft artists are hired to design and build a production of superior quality. More experienced students are invited to get involved as Interns and Apprentices. Our students gain confidence, learn to cooperate, and challenge themselves to think creatively.
Our projects explore different cultures and time periods with stories that have accessible and universal themes; they would appeal to a diverse general audience. Whether it’s making a carpet fly as in Disney’s Aladdin, or creating an authentically terrifying mob of savage boys as in Lord of the Flies, our tasks as storytellers are always challenging. The greatest challenge of any project is the amount of time required – anywhere from 55 to 175 hours. Our process is transparent, nurturing, and rigorous. Our product is Theatre that is both compelling and magical.
Our projects happen throughout the year, with the liveliest time being Summer Stock. During the summer months more than 70 students participate in three plays, performed over 6 weekends. There have been 28 projects to date.
No previous stage experience is necessary for students to get involved in our projects. However, either an audition (for performance) or application (for stagecraft) is necessary to apply. Not all of our programs require tuition. For those that do, tuition assistance may be available.