Chicago Street Theatre, Valparaiso’s award-winning theater company, opened its doors (figuratively and virtually) to local residents interested in taking part in the venerable theatre’s popular Theatre School. The long-running program offers opportunities for creative expression to children and adults.
“With limited opportunities this year for fun and entertainment, we wanted to let people know that we are happy to still be offering classes,” said Lisa Formosa-Parmigiano, Director of Education/Artistic Consultant. “We are offering both in-person classes and virtual acting classes for those who prefer to learn remotely during this time.”
Formosa-Parmigiano says that the Theatre School typically serves between 100-125 students a semester.
“We host this open house event every year, to welcome new and returning students, and to give parents the opportunity to come and meet us and see the facility before they sign their children up for classes.”
Additionally, Chicago Street Theatre has taken precautions to ensure the health and safety of all who visit in person, with a HEPA-filtered air purifier, and masks and hand sanitizer readily available.
Though typically held earlier in the year, the open house was delayed due to COVID-19. But, as the saying goes, “the show must go on,” and so too do the classes at the theatre. Those who participate in the classes benefit by enhancing their performance skills as well as increasing their confidence, discipline, problem-solving, and concentration.
Jason Kaplan, Second Vice Chair for the Chicago Street Theatre says that both of his children have participated in the program.
“My son, Jonah, has participated in the summer program for the last three years, and my daughter, Rosaleigh, has done it for the last two years,” said Kaplan.
“They love it! Especially my daughter. She made her stage debut when she was just two years old, playing the part of a doormouse in a main stage performance of Cinderella. She’s seven years old now and loves being on stage,” he continued.
“I feel that what we can provide, as far as a theatre education, is invaluable. It’s something that is becoming more difficult to find, and it’s something that we are very happy to be able to continue to provide,” Kaplan said.
Chicago Street Theatre offers year-round classes and workshops for both and children ages 5-18. Fall semester classes run from mid-September through mid-December, with 60-minute classes held weekly. All classes end with a “Showcase Performance,” to allow students a chance to display their new skills, as well as a Certificate Ceremony to acknowledge their achievements.
Spring Semester classes begin in mid-February and run through mid-May. Led by professional and experienced instructors, the program offers students a comprehensive and unique curriculum through which they can progress and advance in an ensemble-based community atmosphere.
For more information about the outstanding opportunities available through this program, visit the Chicago Street Theatre online at www.chicagostreet.org/education.