Junior Company Fall Play (ages 9-12)
Whether you are new to NEYT, or an experienced company member, the Junior Company Fall Play teaches young actors skills that will prove foundational for all future programs and productions. Through improv, games, and exercises, participants learn the art of listening, reacting, and adapting to their fellow actors. Actors are encouraged to bring their ideas to the material and physicalize their choices in pursuit of clear and fun storytelling. Plays chosen for this show are often based in literature or a popular/iconic story, with strong ensemble casts and all the ingredients for a fun theatrical experience.
Clown Town (ages 9-12)
The purpose of the Clown Town program is to give young actors the tools they need to become fearless, electric, and alive while up on stage. Tailored to the unique talents, skills, and interests of the students, this program develops original clowning ‘bits,’ which are worked up into performable scenes. Learning from masters in clowning technique, students play with sound, pantomime, and movement to physicalize the telling of a story. A great preparation for our Traveling Commedia program, Clown Town provides an opportunity to expand comedic skills – and have a ton of fun in the process.
Travelling Commedia Troupe (ages 11-19)
A tradition that dates back to 16th century Italian street theatre, Commedia has influenced everything from Shakespeare to sit-coms. In addition to learning the elements that make for great comedy (starts and stops, internal motor, physicality, improvisation), students develop the adaptability and resiliency necessary for bringing any performance to life. Beginning with only the rough outline of a script, participants work together to write, block, and develop a show that is then performed at various area schools. Acting as their own crew, participants design their own costumes, props, and cardboard sets, taking responsibility for them while on tour. The Travelling Commedia program cultivates artistic self-sufficiency and independent thinking, empowering participants to feel that they can create theatre anywhere with anything.
All Company Holiday Play (ages 9-19)
Our largest production of the year, the All Company Holiday Play provides students the opportunity to work in a large ensemble of mixed ages with a live pit band. The play is selected for its potential to engage students in dance, song, and uplifting themes of hope and redemption. Following the notion that “It takes the whole cast to tell the story,” emphasis is placed on creating an ensemble made up of highly specific, individualized characters. Through training in viewpoints, movement, voice, and physicalization, each actor is given the tools to create a memorable character that allows the ensemble to come alive. Whether a veteran actor or a first timer at NEYT, all will learn, grow, and enjoy the process of putting this grand show up on its feet.
Spring Junior Musical (ages 11-15)
This program offers young actors a great intro to the fundamentals of musical theater. Students learn by doing. Working alongside student mentors and professionals to stage a fully produced show, the program culminates in performances on NEYT’s mainstage. Rehearsals include instruction on movement, voice, character development, and performance skills, setting kids up for success while also giving them a fun, meaningful experience. Above all, actors build relationships with peers, mentors, and directors, learning how team-work and trust are the cornerstones to success both on, and off, the stage.
Senior Company Spring Play (ages 13-19)
With a focus on modern or contemporary drama, the Senior Spring Play offers students the opportunity to work in a smaller cast production that focuses on text analysis, viewpoints, and character development. Rehearsals “go deep” into an understanding of craft, teaching tools actors can use to create specificity that is grounded in genuine human behavior and the actor’s natural voice. Emphasis is placed on creating a supportive community environment in order to help students embrace this more emotionally vulnerable work.
Melodrama (ages 9-15)
NEYT’s most popular summer program, the Melodrama Festival provides a fun and playful introduction to the fundamentals of theater arts. In playing archetypal characters (heroes, villains, fools), participants learn character development by making big, bold, loud, silly choices. Colorful costumes, shaving cream fights, and slapstick comedy are melodrama’s stock and trade. Through theater games, improv exercises, and clowning, students develop the vocal and physical skills to pull off the over-the-top action and comedic timing of melodrama. Student-driven ideas are encouraged, and directors strive to incorporate them into the production. Students are also introduced to various aspects of technical theater, including lighting, set design, costumes and props. Above all, students learn how to build trust in themselves and their fellow actors in order to take risks and try new things. At the end of two weeks, students perform before packed houses of enthusiastic audience members, who cheer on the actors in the boisterous, interactive tradition of melodrama.
Get Thee to the Funnery! (ages 11-19)
Funnery is a two-week collaborative learning experience that not only trains kids in Shakespeare and acting techniques but works to create an intentional community of artists in the process. Through physical work and group activities, participants build performance skills, relationships, and their understanding of material - much focus is put on building ensemble and supporting one another. Whether learning swordplay, tackling a famous soliloquy, or clowning with fools and fairies, students experience the joy of Shakespeare that has captivated actors and audiences alike for over 400 years. This project is performed outdoors or in open space.
Senior Summer Musical (ages 13-19)
This program offers a more intensive and rigorous musical theatre experience for our senior company students. A fully produced musical is mounted in three weeks and performed with a live student band. Participants are given the support they need to develop the vocal, dance, and acting skills required for high level musical storytelling. The added focus on building ensemble results in strong bonds between cast, crew, and faculty. Actors learn to take ownership of their storytelling and build awareness of what they are delivering and communicating to an audience. While there is room for all abilities in this production, some prior experience in musical theatre is recommended.
Brave Young Vaudevillians (age 7-9)
A great first experience of theatre arts, BYV creates a welcoming and supportive environment in which kids can learn basic theatre skills, all in the spirit of joyful play. With an emphasis on theatre games, physical movement, and zany costumes, BYV sets students up to take the stage with confidence, zeal, and panache. Students are also given behind-the-scenes access to the other summer programs, with glimpses into what the “big kids” are doing. Mini Vaudeville shows and demos are performed bi-weekly in the classroom, before an audience of parents and friends.
Town Schools Theatre (4th-6th grades)
Town Schools Theatre (TST) is an after-school program open to 4th- 6th graders from participating WSESU elementary schools. Thanks to the Vermont Children’s Trust Foundation and WSESU schools, this program is tuition free and includes transportation from area schools to NEYT. A great introduction to theater arts, students get the chance to experience all aspects of theater, from acting in performance to building sets to seeing how the lights are controlled from the ‘tech booth.’ The program culminates in a fully costumed performance of an original play at the students’ school, as well as a performance on NEYT’s mainstage. Every participant is guaranteed a role; no prior experience is required. Along with teaching basic acting and performance skills, the goal of TST is to foster self-confidence, bodily awareness, communication, and collaboration.
Theatre Adventure has been engaging youth and adult actors with developmental challenges since 2004. Widely known as the area’s only inclusive theatre arts program, Theatre Adventure empowers participants to boldly claim the stage with imagination, distinction, and a breadth of talent. Following a specially designed curriculum, students work with a team of teachers and directors to develops skills in voice, movement, improvisation, communication, and team-work, for success on the theatrical stage, and off. Using costumes, music, and storytelling, participants learn to take an empty stage, express themselves, and create dynamic theater that is inspiring to all.
Theatre Adventure meets at its own off-campus site, at the wheelchair accessible West Village Meeting House in West Brattleboro. All performances are ASL interpreted. School groups are more than welcome to attend performances! For more information, please contact the Theatre Adventure Directors:
For more about Theatre Adventure follow this link.