Showtime at The English Theatre
Vienna Circle: Oct. 2012
What is a parent to do with their gifted and energetic child? Some kids just beg to be on stage and in Vienna they can get that opportunity… in English. Showtime is the youth performing arts school at Vienna’s English Theatre, coaching young people in the arts of acting, dancing and singing.
Founded in 2010 by Artistic and Executive Director Julia Schafranek, Showtime has quickly grown from 100 participants in its first year, to over 200 expected in the upcoming courses. The programme "encourages the children’s joy in performing and takes them on a journey into the world of fantasy and imagination." Students aged between 4 and 18 can join Showtime’s semester courses. For younger children, "Juniors" introduces basic techniques and encourages creativity, whilst the regular Showtime classes for older students build on these skills. Weekly classes are three hours long, with an hour devoted to each discipline. In the first semester, students explore their imaginations, discovering different styles of drama, dance and song, and in the second semester, all the classes join together to perform a musical. "We don’t aim to produce the next Broadway stars," said Schafranek, "It’s about the journey every child can make – we want children to discover themselves through theatre work."
All courses are taught in English but the children come from very different backgrounds. Around a third are native English speakers, a third are bilingual and the final third are native German speakers. This blend works well in class, with English speakers relishing tuition in their native tongue, and German speakers profiting from the extra language practice. All teachers are native speakers, and professionals in their art form.
Kids also have the option of joining Showtime’s glee club. Inspired by the popularity of the American TV show, the club was founded last year. "Glee Kids", for ages 8 to 11, is a choir, and "Vivid Voices" is a show choir, for 12 to 18-year-olds. Different to the semester courses, Vivid Voices is more demanding: "We’re looking for kids who are really interested in performing and who really want to achieve," explained Schafranek, "We need kids to be there for auditions and there’s a bigger commitment from the beginning." The emphasis of Glee Club is on developing one’s individual voice, whilst working together on choreography and an ensemble sound, ready to perform in front of an audience.
Auditions for Glee Kids will take place on Friday, 19 Oct., from 14:30 to 16:00, and for Vivid Voices on Monday, 22 Oct., between 17:00 and 19:00. Audition hopefuls should register beforehand - details can be found on Showtime’s website. Kids audition in two parts. First, they sing solo, a song of their choice, to display their skill as a performer. Second, auditionees perform a short dance routine in groups. There are no auditions for the semester courses. Kids can join until the end of October, but get in quick, as places are filling up fast.
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