Perform and Explore
ACT offers 5 majors from which students can choose: Acting/Performance, Audio/Video, Creative Writing, Dance, or Theater Production. Each major has its own required program courses in addition to graduation requirements. These majors give students a chance to focus on an area of interest with purpose and intent.
Our students come to ACT because they share an interest in the performing arts. Creating, performing, and responding to works of art gives students a greater understanding of the relationships among their learning experiences; they gain an aesthetic appreciation of the arts and world cultures, even as they explore real-world applications of their learning.
Students study voice and diction to develop International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) diction and articulation for performance. Basic acting theory and technique are introduced, as well as researching and performing scenes from a variety of periods and theatrical styles. Movement for stage, character analysis, and stage make-up are other areas students explore. Musical Instruction is provided through A Capella, Musical Theater classes, Beginning Singing and Performance Singing. Performance opportunities include a musical, a play and music night for advanced students as well as various other opportunities for students to perform short scenes, monologues and musical selections throughout the year.
Students utilize state of the art cameras and editing software to film, produce and edit their own videos. Videos produced at ACT have placed in the top 10 for the statewide “Teen Safe Driving” DMV contest 7 years in a row. Audio/Video students have the opportunity to create commercials, PSA’s and documentaries for local businesses and community members and present all of their hard work at least twice per year during VideoFest (open to the public). In addition, Audio/Video students study audio production, Photoshop, animation, and music editing/creation through Garage Band.
Students practice writing across a wide range of literary genres, including poetry, fiction, drama, creative nonfiction, SLAM and mythology. Students develop the critical skills to analyze and evaluate literature as writers, and workshop with their peers. Writers support theater, dance and video performances by writing for stage and screen. Students present their work through Coffee House performances, poetry readings, writing contests and publications.
Over the years, dozens of ACT students have garnered awards and recognition for their creative writing, for both prose and poetry, in prestigious contests like the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards; “Fresh Voices” (part of the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival); New England Young Writers’ Conference (“Bread Loaf” program) at Middlebury College; the Connecticut Student Writers magazine; and the Connecticut Young Writers Trust competition.
Students study multiple styles of dance including: Ballet, Jazz, Modern, Hip-Hop, Tap, Latin and Contemporary. Emphasis is placed on choreographic principles throughout several classes that allow students to create and perform their own choreography. Dance students collaborate with other departments to become aware of how lighting, sets, and costumes enhance dance. Multiple performance opportunities are available, including community events such as Third Thursday, Student Dance Company Showcase and DanceFest.
Students study the “behind-the-scenes” work necessary for successful, effective theater in classes that include Set Design and Construction, Lighting Design, Scenic Painting, Stage Management, Costume Design, Costume Construction, Costume Art and History of Costume. Professional technology is used in our fully equipped scene shop, costume shop and theater. Theater Production students are directly involved with every production that takes place at ACT, whether it’s running lights, building sets, stage managing, designing and constructing costumes, or making props. Students are able to collaborate with all other arts areas to enhance the quality of performances.