General Information About our STAGES Program

STAGES ensembles are designed for young performers in grades 3-8 who are serious about theatre as an art form and who want to make a deep commitment to artistic growth. They yearn for the challenge to reach a high level of theatrical proficiency. Entry is by audition only.


We have high expectations for our STAGES ensemble members. In addition to having a passion for the performing arts, they must also demonstrate enthusiasm for working with a group. They must make theatre a priority in their lives by attending classes and workshops regularly, by memorizing lines and blocking promptly, and by participating in rehearsals with an inquisitive spirit. They must be able to focus, collaborate, listen, and share ideas. Of course, we seek students who love to play, use their imaginations, and challenge themselves physically and vocally.


There are six STAGES ensembles this winter. Placement in an ensemble is based not only on the experience and ability of a student, but also on the cohesion of an entire ensemble. Theatre at its best is a collaborative art and the STAGES directors take extra care in creating ensembles that value team work and celebrate the skills of all performers. Curriculum for each group is determined by the individuals involved with that ensemble at that time.


New students who would like to audition to join STAGES in fall 2014 should email Auditions will be held at a time TBA.



Lights Up! vs. STAGES

At PVTC, we believe that theatre does remarkable things for each individual child. We are committed to helping every student realize their full creative potential. To that end, we have two after-school training programs that serve children of all abilities and levels of interests. These programs are called LIGHTS UP! and STAGES.


What are the main differences between LIGHTS UP! and STAGES?


In LIGHTS UP! students are always part of an ensemble working on a play or performance piece. The classes use theatre games to build acting skills. Theatre games are an essential vehicle for unlocking creativity and working on character and story development in an engaging way. As part of an ensemble, we expect students to be team players, to bring their creativity to class, and to have fun.


In STAGES, students are also part of an ensemble but we expect students to take responsibility for themselves. Actors and actresses must possess listening skills, the ability to share ideas, a desire to collaborate, a passion for/love of the performing arts, enthusiasm for working with the group, and the ability to focus. They must attend rehearsals regularly and memorize lines, blocking, and choreography by a deadline. We will, of course, help young artists further develop these skills. But students need drive and a sense of commitment to thrive in this group. 


By design, STAGES is for students in 3rd grade or older, as the dedication required is more age-appropriate for older children. 


Which program is right for my child?


Good question! Some students love theatre because it gives them a chance to play. They are allowed to imagine and explore in an open and safe environment. In addition to the creative outlet, students also want the challenge of being in a play as part of an ensemble. These students will thrive in LIGHTS UP!


Other students feel called to be artists. They want to make the arts a central part of their lives or they are looking for a program that is going to challenge them and help them grow as performers. They want to learn about new genres of theatre and take risks onstage. These students should consider auditioning for STAGES, our more intensive performance track.


Are the performance opportunities different in the two programs?


Students in LIGHTS UP! perform a play or performance piece at the end of their session. When students return for the next session of classes, they will work on a new play or new material, building upon the skills they learned in the previous session.


STAGES performers are given a variety of performance opportunities depending on the year and session. Depending on the quarter they might create a cabaret-style show, participate in full-length production, perform at a location other than PVTC, or create a site-specific piece somewhere on the PVTC campus.


Is there a difference in curriculum between LIGHTS UP! and STAGES?


Curriculum for both programs is a combination of games and rehearsal time. During a Lights Up! class, your child can expect to build ensemble and individual acting skills through a variety of games. During rehearsal time, students will be encouraged to work on their individual character while also creating a quality play. Material for stories explored in class comes from popular books, movies, fairy tales, children’s books, and plays. 


STAGES students will study acting, movement, and singing every session. Depending on the performance piece for the quarter, students will also learn about masks, melodrama, Shakespeare, theatre history, improvisation, story telling, and creating original plays. Additionally, students will be invited to participate in special workshops and field trips throughout the year.


What are the classes offered in each track?


More informaion about fall 2014 classes coming soon!

Portola Valley Theatre Conservatory

945 Portola Road

Portola Valley, CA 94028

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Tel: (650) 530-2428

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