The Theatre Arts Center will hold auditions on Saturday, April 11 to find students to take part in their summer program, which offers participants a chance improve their skills while working with industry professionals.
The center was founded by Kristine Lewis in Bucks County, PA in 1985. In 2000, the programs started in Queens. Center co-director Robert Laconi said he had ties within the Jackson Heights community and saw that there weren’t many theatre programs in the area, which is why he and Lewis started it up in the borough.
“We thought, ‘why not give it a shot?’” Laconi said.
Theatre Arts Center offers three programs – musical theatre, teen acting and teen cabaret. About 75 children between the ages of seven and 19 participate in the musical theatre workshop each summer.
The teen acting workshop and teen cabaret workshop are open to children 13 and up. Typically there are about 20 students who participate in each of these programs.
The majority of the children who participate are from the New York City and Long Island area. However, Laconi said that program does draw participants from out of town and even out of the country.
During the audition process, Laconi said he is looking at the student’s willingness to audition, commitment to participate, talent and ability.
“We’re a training program so I’m not looking for finished products,” he said, adding that he is seeking those with the potential to learn.
Through the workshops, children of all age levels learn from industry professionals. In the past, they have learned from dance captains of “Hair Spray” and “Legally Blonde,” among many others. He said that all students, regardless of their age, receive the same level of training and all of them are able to work with the guest artists.
“Our goal is to give as many windows into the professional world as possible,” Laconi said.
Laconi said that the training the students receive at Theatre Arts Center benefits them as they look to continue their studies within the performing arts area. He said that many of their participants have been accepted in to performing arts high schools and colleges.
For Laconi, the satisfaction comes in giving the children the opportunity to experience the joy of performing. He said that the energy they have is “explosive” as the curtain goes up and down.
The next auditions for Theatre Arts Center in Queens will be on Saturday, April 11 at the Professional Perform Arts Center Theatre at Queensborough Community College, which is located at 222-05 56th Avenue in Bayside and is where the program has a summer residence. They will be at noon for children ages seven to 10, 1 p.m. for children ages 11 to 13 and at 2 p.m. for 14- to 19-year-olds. Those auditioning only for the Teen Acting Ensemble will audition at 2 p.m.
For more information on the Theatre Arts Center, visit www.TheatreArtsCenter.com or call 718-595-2905.