Whether your child is a natural ham or a kid with a great imagination who feels a little shy, a theater class on Long Island is a fun way for children to build confidence. Experience in the performing arts improves verbal skills, which are especially valuable when kids present oral reports in school. Those with theater backgrounds find themselves drawing on skills they developed in all kinds of ways. When it's time for college entrance and job interviews later in life, kids with performing arts experience can have an edge.
We are lucky to have many theaters and programs that host acting classes for children here on Long Island. Read on for our picks for budding thespians.
For additional class suggestions, see our Classes and Activities Guide for Long Island Kids.
Acting Classes For Long Island Kids in Nassau County
Little actors and actresses love the class offerings at Sid Jacobson JCC. Programs for kids are available from kindergarten through sixth grade. A one-week Broadway Boot Camp for ages 7-16 teaches on-camera acting techniques, musical theater skills, and audition strategies.
Founded in 1995, the Cultural Arts Playhouse offers musical theater and acting classes for children, teens, and young adults. Its approach is centered around encouraging and praising students for who they are, fostering kids' confidence in acting and life.
Classes are structured as Broadway musicals, from the first audition-style class to a fully staged theater performance. Students learn stagecraft, theater etiquette, dialogue, songs, staging, choreography, and characterization.
Classes are divided by abilities, with each offering two performances per year that incorporate group numbers, solos, and duets. Students learn how to sing, dance, and act as they work on their strengths and weaknesses.
This Nassau County acting studio offers classes for ages 4 to 23. Students learn how to understand script copy, develop believable characters, hone audition skills, and the steps needed to obtain an agent or manager. The Acting Garage also offers specialized classes in improv and Youtube.
Acting Classes For Long Island Kids in Suffolk County
Classes start for kids young as 4 and go up to eighth grade and are divided by age. CM Little Kids focuses on theatrical play, CM Kids introduces musical theater, and CM Juniors offers in-depth acting, dance, and music training.
This 14-year-old studio offers classes for kids 7 years of age and up taught by theater professionals. Programs include dance and acting for television and film. Several alumni have gone on to star in on and off-broadway shows.
John W. Engeman Theater, a Northport institution, offers musical theater classes.
This popular theater in the heart of Northport village offers musical theater classes for all levels of study, each culminating in stage performances. Classes taught by theater professionals seek to educate as well as entertain.
Act Two is a teen theater troupe in which teens perform short plays about issues they confront daily. Group performances are designed to teach audiences about social awareness, mental and physical health, positive relationships, and how to deal with difficult situations. The program fosters self-esteem in the actors and the audience by encouraging everyone to troubleshoot problems. Act Two teaches respect and understanding and heightens children's awareness of local theater. This program is for children in grades seven through 12.
Be a part of a part of a production at Smithtown Center for the Performing Arts.
Smithtown Center for the Performing Arts offers classes in acting and voice, and a musical theater workshop combines both voice and acting. Classes are offered for children ages 7-18, and an intensive summer camp gives kids a real taste of theater life.
Studio Theatre — Lindenhurst and East Islip
Kids are grouped by age in classes in which they rehearse for a show and then put on a performance. Little ones as young as 5 get involved in productions, and those with little or no background in acting are encouraged to join.
Available for eighth-graders through high school-age students, Gateway School for the Performing Arts' classes offer budding actors the opportunity to concentrate on select audition pieces. Solo work focuses on expression and lyric interpretation. Kids from all over Long Island come to study here, and many have gone on to successful theater careers.
A version of this article was published in 2013. It was updated in September 2021.