Village Theatre Institute is an auditioned, school-year musical theatre training program for grade 5–age 20, designed for disciplined students ready to study, train, and perform at an advanced level. This program will help develop the theatre and life skills necessary for a professional career in theatre or any other vocation.
Institute students enroll for three consecutive sessions (fall, winter, spring) of acting, singing, and dance. Every aspect of this program is taught by some of the region’s finest teaching artists, directors, choreographers, music directors, and musical theatre writers and composers. Institute students who meet casting requirements for certain Mainstage and/or Beta productions may occasionally receive special attention for performance intern opportunities.
Foundation classes meet September-May from approximately 4:00pm-9:00pm on Mondays or Tuesdays.
- “Institute is the highlight of my week!” Institute Student
- “I love it so much! Everyone values you and accepts you for your weird, quirky self.” Institute Student
- “Great staff and teachers… very engaged and responsive… extensive experience and professionalism.” Institute Parent
- “We love the connection to such an outstanding regional (and national!) theatre program.” Institute Parent
Village Theatre believes that experiential learning in theatre arts is a powerful tool for building essential life and career skills including critical thinking, concentration, collaboration, discipline, communication and creativity. We strive to ensure that all young people are able to participate in our programs. No one will be turned away for inability to pay.
Institute tuition for the 2020–2021 school year is is $2,300 in Issaquah and $1,700 in Everett. Tuition is required for the duration of the school year program, regardless of a student’s attendance. Payment plans are available.
Participation in KIDSTAGE school-year productions is encouraged but optional, and these programs have separate tuition. Institute students are often eligible for discounts on additional programs.
- Annually develop a rigorous curriculum to support individual student needs and learning goals, taught by expert instructors invested in the learning outcomes for each student
- Facilitate student-driven goal achievement, enlisting students as active agents in their own development as artists and citizens
- Provide instruction in specific life and theatre skills targeted toward fulfilling students’ goals after high school. This includes preparation for careers in a variety of fields including professional theatre and/or college acceptance
Pathway and Institute students will develop acting techniques through ensemble-based classes. Techniques include character development, ensemble building, improvisation, audition/callback technique, and monologue/scene-study. Classes may also incorporate voice and speech work, movement work, Alexander Technique, Commedia dell’arte, Viewpoints, Suzuki, and devised work.
Pathway and Institute students will develop skills in singing technique through a group class format that emphasizes theory, harmony, sight-reading, repertoire and musical theatre history. Students will also explore solo singing and artistry through song interpretation and specialized master classes; master teachers and various workshops are brought in throughout the year. Pathway and Institute singing classes should not take the place of private voice lessons which are highly encouraged.
Pathway and Institute students will develop musical theatre dance technique and performance skills that will prepare students for auditions, call backs, and any future musical theatre dance experience. Dance classes provide tools to increase flexibility and improve core strength. Students will also explore acting through dance, specificity of movement, dancing with strength, and selling a dance number. Master teachers of various dance styles are brought in throughout the year. Additional KIDSTAGE dance classes are highly encouraged.
Students are placed into the program at appropriate level classes, based on their audition and callback. Current Institute and Pathway students must audition every year for placement. Due to this, the number of spots available for new students varies from year to year. For Pathway, the majority of Pathway students matriculate into the Institute program, though placement is made on an individual basis. If there is a concern that a returning Institute or Pathway student may have difficulty being accepted into the program the following year, they will be given notice prior to placement.
Students receive an initial placement evaluation following May auditions. During this time, students will receive feedback on their audition and, if currently an Institute or Pathway student, also review their progress in the program that year. A second evaluation will be scheduled as a student conference during the Winter or Spring class session. In addition, there will be one written evaluation from each Foundation class instructor at the end of Spring session.
Example of Tuesday Foundation Classes (Grades 7–9)
4:00–4:30 pm Professional Artist Development
4:30–6:00 pm Acting
6:00–6:40 pm Dinner
6:40–7:40 pm Voice/Dance
7:45–8:45 pm Voice/Dance
Example of Monday Foundation Classes (Grades 10–12)
4:00–4:30 pm Professional Artist Development
4:35–5:45 pm Unit 1 (Dance)
5:45–6:30 pm Dinner
6:30–7:40 pm Unit 2 (Voice)
7:50–9:00 pm Unit 3 (Acting)
Actual times may vary.
At the end of the first semester, students will share their work and progress from their coursework via a demonstration or open-class format. Later progress in the year can be seen during our year-end Showcase. Other opportunities for families to observe an open class or mock audition may be added throughout the year.
There are four KIDSTAGE performance opportunities during the school year. Most are open to all KIDSTAGE students, including but not limited to students in Pathway and Institute.
- Sing It Forward is KIDSTAGE’s annual fundraiser. The majority of the cast is selected from Institute students past and present, but all KIDSTAGE students are eligible to participate. Some special guest alumni or instructors may also perform at this event.
- Auditions/casting offers: September
- Rehearsals: October (Issaquah) or October–November (Everett)
- Performance: One performance in mid-October (Issaquah) or mid-November (Everett).
- TeenSelect is open to all students Grade 8–Age 20. Institute/Pathway students are eligible for reduced TeenSelect tuition.
- Auditions: September
- Rehearsals: September–October (Everett) or October–December (Issaquah)
- Performances: Three weekends in October–November (Everett) or December (Issaquah)
- Ensemble is open to all students Grade 3–9. Institute/Pathway students are eligible for reduced Ensemble tuition.
- Auditions: September (Issaquah) or December/January (Everett)
- Rehearsals: Late February–early April (Everett) or early March–mid April (Issaquah)
- Performances: Three weekends in April
- KIDSTAGE Originals is open to all students Grade 9–Age 20 who have an interest in book writing, lyric writing, and/or composing. Students create their own musicals “for teens by teens” with professional mentorship.
- Applications due: October 12
- Interviews: October 15–16
- Writing workshops: October–March
- Staged readings: Late March
Institute students age 17 and older are encouraged to audition at Village Theatre General Auditions each spring for Mainstage and Beta production seasons.
Skills for Theatre… Skills for Life
To provide a personal development program for young people which uses theatre arts:
- To teach creativity and responsibility
- To encourage teamwork and personal integrity
- To foster self-esteem and appreciation for live theatre
Village Theatre KIDSTAGE believes that everyone benefits from an inclusive, multi-cultural environment of students, staff and programming. We welcome people of every ethnicity, race, faith, sexual orientation, gender identity, income and ability.