Austin Children's Theater's executive director, Talena Martinez, knows how to inspire kids: not only do her national credits include youth productions of Jekyll & Hyde and Les Misérables, she has also staged Shakespearean and musical pieces at the Scotland Fringe Festival. Together, Talena and her talented staff of artists nurture the natural talents of kids of all abilities who are eager to explore musical, dramatic, and European theater.
Programs—which range from the intensive Conservatory of Theater to a full roster of summer camps—can help impart a variety of skills, including increased self-esteem, a healthier body image, and stronger performance abilities of future Tony Award winners while ensuring inspirational fodder for acceptance speeches.
Dubbed a “powerhouse of comedy” by the Austin Chronicle, The New Movement unleashes a dizzying number of comedy shows that belie the institution’s young age. Founded in 2009 by improvisers Chris Trew and Tami Nelson, the theater and conservatory has already established itself in two cities, training fledgling performers in the art of the extemporaneous by inspiring them to take comedic risks on stage, whether it’s connecting emotionally with a character or performing actual surgery. Whether or not the performers are costumed or bearing props, they aim to create a fully realized world on stage through grounded situations and elegant but always creative transitions between scenes.
With full-scale plays and musical productions, kidsActing turns the spotlight on young thespians. Founder Dede Clark and her troupe of budding actors reprise kidsActing’s popular 1991 musical comedy, in which a young monster from the under-the-bed dimension stumbles into the human world. Original songs by Willie Nelson, the Austin Lounge Lizards, and other Texas performers punctuate the coming-of-age action that, unlike United Nations peace talks between Scotland and Loch Ness, ends in a reconciliation between monsters and humans.