Portland Metro Arts
Theatre Department Frequently Asked Questions
Welcome! By enrolling in a dance class, you have become part of an exciting arts program. To help you get started, here are the answers to the most commonly asked questions. If you need any further assistance, please call us at 503-408-0604 or email Dance@PDXMetroArts.org. We will be happy to help.
What do theatre students bring to class?
All theatre students need to bring to most classes is their imaginations but as we prepare for performances, they will have lines to learn. We ask that if they take their scripts home to practice, they bring them back to class. As we approach rehearsals for performances, they are encouraged to make any personal props or costumes out of things they have at home and bring them to rehearsal.
Are there any performances?
Performance is an essential part of any theatre experience. Every student should avail themselves of as many of the following performance options as possible.
- Friends and family are invited to observe class during Visitors’ Week which is held three times a year.
- In January we hold our annual Winter Musical in which all theatre students are encouraged to participate. It is a complete performance that gives young actors a marvelous training opportunity.
• In in June is our Spring Theatre Showcase, in which all students are invited to perform. It is the high point of the year for our students.
How can parents help ensure a successful experience?
Start at the Right Age
Enrolling in an age-appropriate class is the key element. The last thing anyone wants is to turn a child off to theatre just because they had a frustrating experience.
PMA age recommendations
School Grades K-1—Theatre Kids
Young children use make-believe, fantasy and storytelling to interpret the world around them. Creative drama guides the children through activities and games in a way that stimulates their imaginations. A natural sense of playfulness eases the children into working with their peers and forming social bonds. They will experience theatre in a setting that will build confidence in their own abilities.
School Grades 2-4—Kids Play
By second grade a child has developed skills as a reader and is ready to move on to scripted theatre experiences. Our classes also encourage hands-on exploration of all aspects of theatre, whether onstage, offstage or backstage.
School Grades 4-Middle School—Actor’s Workshop
An exploration of all aspects of the theatre experience through improvisation, playwriting, character development and movement that culminates in creation of performance pieces. Elements of technical theatre, production management and public relations are integrated with sound basic theatre skills.
Attend Classes Regularly
Help your child arrive on time and remind your student to visit the bathroom prior to class, so class won’t be disrupted. Put your child’s name on their scripts and help your student run lines so they will be confident onstage. There is only a short time each week for class, so we need to make it count. It is a time where all attention needs to be on the instructor and the information being presented. Bringing toys or friends to class diverts the attention of every student in the class. Each year we have special times set aside for visitors.
Attend Visitor’s Week
We encourage you to attend your child’s class during our Visitor’s Week. Parental praise is the most coveted award. There is no substitute for a pat on the back for a job well done. Hard as it may be, we ask that you respect that during the other weeks, your child in engaged in serious learning and deserves to be focused on their classwork If a parent is in the classroom on a weekly basis, the child has two authority figures in the room. As parents we cannot help but respond with smiles of approval when our child does something wonderful and register disapproval for inappropriate behavior. A parent’s very presence divides a child’s attention and creates a distracting situation. Class time should be a special moment for each child. Independence means that they have something very special that only they can share with you and Visitor’s week is the time to do it. You will be amazed at the degree of improvement that takes place from month to month.
Remember Theatre is a Performing Art
Performances are an essential part of dramatic training but should not substitute for weekly class work. It is important that students learn basic theatrical essentials, to maximize their performance experience. PMA has appropriate performance options for all levels of students that are integrated into all theatre classes. The Theatre Showcases, held each year in January and June, are informal presentations that provide all PMA students with a positive un-pressured performance experience.
Experience live theatre as well as on screen
It is also helpful to take your child to live performances or watch them together on TV as often as possible. Seeing professional theatre onstage provides encouragement for students to continue their own training. All PMA students also receive free or discount tickets to a variety of performances throughout the year.
PMA Center has a fully equipped theatre with 165 seats. Even our youngest students have the opportunity to perform in a real theatre setting. Our extensive costume department is available to supplement all production needs. Along with our teaching staff we have professional stage technicians to assist when needed. In short, we have everything any budding actor would need right here at PMA Center.
Theatre should be something that you enjoy for a lifetime. Relax! Your child will not benefit from being pushed into situations that are not age appropriate or beyond their level. Try not to put unrealistic expectations on yourself or your children to progress too quickly. Everyone learns at a different pace and the key is to be able to enjoy the journey.