Multiple Choice. Your child: A) confuses all sources of light with limelight, B) is woefully shy, but shocked everyone (not least of all, you) with his breakout performance at last year's Christmas pageant, or C) doesn't enjoy physical/mental activity of the sporting sort. If you chose A, B or C, drama lessons might be the plot twist your child's after-school routine needs! Actually, an expert in Parents magazine this month explains any kid can benefit from a little drama, saying "one landmark study found children involved in the arts for nine hours a week are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement." That's the sort of return on results you want before investing in another extracurricular activity. We've researched the group classes, but many of the studios in Fairfield County also offer private lessons for those super-dedicated to their craft! Check out our Classes and Activities Guide for even more after school fun!
All your thespian has to decide is whether they want to add music and dance to the mix, as most studios offer both straight up acting and musical theater courses.
Darien Arts Center—Darien
From preschoolers who get started with Creative Dramatics to middle schoolers who can hone their craft in a more advanced Scenework class, Darien Arts Center has something for every age and experience level.
2 Renshaw Road, 203-655-8683
New Canaan Performing Arts Conservatory—New Canaan
This one gets the prize for being all-inclusive when it comes to age. They have group classes for everyone in Musical Theater, Fairy Tale Theater, Voice, Dance, and More.
70 Pine Street, 203-966-6177
The Studio New Canaan—New Canaan
The studio is a one-stop performance workshop with classes in everything from musical theater to dance to voice. Private lessons are also available.
26 Forest Street, 203-966-7056
Sabrina's Encore Productions—Newtown
This little Newtown nugget offers musical theater workshops (featuring Broadway favs like The Jungle Book and even Hamilton) and private acting lessons.
153 South Main St., 203-304-1235
There are classes every day of the week for the school-aged set. Most culminate with a live performance (be sure to check mandatory dress rehearsal and performance dates when registering).
66 Bayview Avenue, 203-838-7150
Ridgefield Theatre Barn—Ridgefield
This gem of a community theater offers 8-week performance workshops in addition to a very limited tuition-free program for backstage crew.
37 Halpin Lane, 203-431-9850
Enchanted Garden Studios—Ridgefield
Pre-K and up
For tots, all-around courses touch on a bit of everything—storytelling, singing, improv, and dance. Older kids can break out into musical theater, or strictly acting ... even Shakespeare in the summer. There's an end-of-year performance for kids to show off their stuff in front of a (loving) audience.
165 Danbury Road (Route 35), 203-431-3350
Curtain Call Performing Arts Workshops—Stamford
Classes are once a week, either after school, in the evening or on the weekend. They offer many options including Intro to Acting, Improv for Kids, and (my own children's favorite) Let's Put on a Show, which gives kids a chance to write and perform their own show.
1349 Newfield Avenue, 203-329-8207
Performing Arts Center of Connecticut—Trumbull
There's a heavy focus on musical theater here, working toward developing "triple threats."
18 Lindeman Drive, 203-372-2787
The Wiremill offers classes in acting, musical theater, and improv. The session ends with a performance at the Wilton Playshop.
49 New Street, 203-544-9494
Originally published 9/18/2012. Photo courtesy of Heather Kahlert at the Darien Arts Center.