Sharing the summer with students

Denver Center for the Performing Arts offers its annual summer classes


The Denver Center for the Performing Arts is looking forward to offering the entire community time with other students to share in the power of play this summer.

“We are so excited to share the summer with students,” said Allison Watrous, executive director of DCPA education and community engagement. “Theatre is all about connection, creativity and collaboration. It gives students of all ages the opportunity to explore the power of storytelling.”

This summer, the DCPA’s education department is again offering its annual Robert & Judi Newman Summer Series of classes with more than 150 class offerings making up the roster.

Classes for students who are age 5 through fifth grade will be virtual, and there will be a mix of both virtual and in-person classes for teens and adults to choose from.

The traditionally-popular classes — such as acting, improv and choreography for example — will again be offered this summer, but these will be complemented by newer classes that focus on voiceover for audio book narration and video games, for example. Attendees can choose between a mix of single-day and multi-week classes plus a full lineup of workshops. No experience is necessary, and scholarships are available.

“This variety allows us to invite newcomers to try a few classes to find the perfect fit,” Watrous said, “as well as welcome back the seasoned actor for advanced instruction as they prepare for the theatre season ahead.”

Rachel Taylor, a teaching artist and program manager for the DCPA, has been with the DCPA for about 20 years and will be teaching virtual classes this summer.

“The energy is different,” Taylor said of online theater classes, “but the value is parallel.”

In fact, she added, some people even feel “free-er” to express themselves when taking a theater class online.

Taylor finds teaching theater — whether virtual or in-person — rewarding because she gets to watch the youngest students become part of the story, see the middle schoolers come out of their shell and witness the teens and adults expand their creative thinking skills, she said.

“Theater arts is one of the coolest art forms because it involves all of the art forms combined into one,” Taylor said. “The skills you learn in theater are just as powerful for a 5-year-old as they are for an 85-year-old.”

People tend to love live theater for its togetherness, Watrous said. But, she added, something that the DCPA has learned from the COVID-19 pandemic is that “a virtual space is just as valuable for sharing time together.”

“This summer, as we are getting back out in the world, will be all about connecting,” Watrous said. “We are so excited for the arts community to rebuild and welcome students back into all of our spaces — both in-person and virtual.”


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