As students explore the worlds of acting and musical theatre, they grow from the world of play to applying more advanced, specialized training. All classes, regardless of age, foster personal growth, teamwork, and creativity. Please note: The “register” button will directly link you to our course catalog, and you will be able to register from there.
Students use storytelling, books, and songs as springboards to explore characters through structured, creative, and fun activities culminating in short scenes or skits created by the students. Through various drama, music, movement, and visual art activities, these classes also promote confidence, self-esteem, and creative expression, while working on skills such as active listening and sharing.
Students transition to Acting Technique: the actors’ process of creating three-dimensional characters and truthful actions for the stage. Classes utilize theater games, guided improvisation activities, and scene work to develop characterization and script analysis skills.
Classes continue to hone the core concepts of acting: from script analysis to performance skill building. As the students’ performance skills mature, they are encouraged to delve more analytically, and more emotionally into each of those concepts. Students learn to apply interplay and spontaneity, as well as work on transitions and moments of decision.
The Musical Theatre program at Imagination Stage is passionate about teaching singing technique that will promote vocal health and longevity, as well as instilling the importance of acting technique. Many musical theatre programs focus only on performer charisma and vocal volume, neither of which will sustain the performer in high school or college (or beyond). Students begin their voice training by developing proper breathing habits and posture, gradually building their technique with proper sound placement, mouth shapes and vocal dynamics working to produce clear, full singing voices. They also learn to create sustainable characters and to make motivated character choices on stage.
Students choose classes that combine two of the three musical theatre disciplines (acting, singing, and dance).
Classes begin to incorporate all three disciplines. Although these classes will incorporate dance, Imagination Stage encourages the addition of dance specific courses as ways to better study and improve dance technique and become a true musical theatre triple threat.
As students mature and gain greater facility in their craft, Imagination Stage takes them from technique to production. Conservatories offer advanced training for upper middle and high school students that culminates in a final production. Ensembles provide high-quality performance opportunities in our Reeve or Lerner theatre spaces. Visit our Student Performances page for more information about these programs.
ACTING & MUSICAL THEATRE
Conservatories & Ensembles Liaison
Nikki Kaplan, Associate Director of Education at Imagination Stage, began her career as a performer with accomplishments as an actress, singer, and dancer. She has helped to shape Imagination Stage’s framework for curriculum and has led several best practices professional development workshops for teaching artists. Nikki oversees Imagination Stage’s acclaimed Conservatory and Ensemble program and has directed over 15 shows. Favorites include Mulan, Footloose, The Addams Family, and The Manhattan Project’s Alice in Wonderland. Nikki holds a BA in Theatre/Acting from Arizona State University and an MA in Educational Theater from New York University, as well as having studied at American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco.
Grades K-3 Creative Drama & Musical Theatre Liaison
Alison Gee, Senior Faculty Elementary Grades K-3 at Imagination Stage, earned her MFA degree in drama from Syracuse University and studied with Shakespeare and Company. For over twenty years, Alison has worked with children in theatres, schools, day camps, and residential Summer camps. She was the Director for Kid’s Kingdom at both the Virginia Renaissance Faire and the Bristol Renaissance Faire, where she wrote and performed in numerous shows. At Imagination Stage, she most recently assistant directed the ISPE productions, Footloose and The Manhattan Project’s Alice in Wonderland, and directed the SOOS Company’s 2015 production of Fanatics. She also is a professional storyteller and her local performances include events at the White House, the National Cathedral, and Imagination Stage. As an approved MCPS Cultural Artist she has been an Artist in Residence at numerous Maryland preschools and elementary schools. In addition to performing, directing, and teaching drama for children, Alison has lectured at regional camp conferences and other workshops on the topics of theatre games and creative play.
Grades 4-12 Acting & Musical Theatre Liaison
Emily Veno is the Education Associate at Imagination Stage. She began with Imagination Stage first as an Education Apprentice in the Fall of 2015 and came to the company with a background in arts administration, arts integration, teaching artistry, theatrical performance, and directing. She has planned and executed arts education programs and youth performances for students of all ages both during and outside of the school day for companies such as Emerald City Theatre and American Theater Company in Chicago, Springville Center for the Arts in New York, and Young Actors Theater in her hometown of Indianapolis. Emily is a proud graduate of the theatre program at Loyola University Chicago.