The professional instructors at Actors Training Center at the Wilmette Theatre empower all types of dramatis personae with targeted acting training. Boasting more than 20 years of stage and screen experience, instructor Ryan Kitley leads aspiring actors on a six-week introduction to lifting the spirits of audiences more effectively than Mary Tyler Moore tossing a puppy into the air. Students dissect individual scenes for both the stage and taped on-camera scene work, working together while they forge the communication skills and confidence needed to thrive as performers. The session concludes with a film screening during class, following by a performance of onstage scenes for a live auditorium full of supportive friends, family, and ionic columns.
For Urban Beat Dance founder Shannon Murray, dancing is much more than a passionate pastime. She earned a BA in Dance Administration and Teaching, and illuminated the path towards fleet-footendess for 15 years in both Chicago and Los Angeles. Having performed at concerts and in music videos, Shannon’s diverse dance experiences help her lead a staff of experience dancers. Instructors guide students toward their individual dance goals, whether they want to join an international ballet company or simply learn sashays and pirouettes to perform during jury deliberations.
Kids rev up their imaginations inside Exploritorium, transforming into little inventors, climbers, or stars of the stage. Tykes caper through a slew of different interactive spaces, including a two-and-half story play structure chock full of tunnels and slides. A waterfall provides kids with a space to play with water toys, and includes a space for toddlers to sit and play in. Visual creations illuminate a giant light brite, and an engineering station crinkles new folds into little scientifically-minded brains. Nearby, a dress-up area wardrobes kids for stints as princesses and heros, readying them to act out adventures on the nearby stage.
More formal performances occur the third Tuesday of every month. On those days, a storyteller takes over the stage and spins exciting, family-friendly tales. Holidays usher in even more events, such as a Halloween party and an Itty Bitty New Year for families.
Terra Sounds doesn’t just look for book smarts when procuring its staff of expert instructors. The school of art and music places equal importance on backgrounds in stage performance, organizing art shows, and studying a foreign language. Here, instructors with a well-rounded approach to their subjects connect more easily with their students, introducing them to the Italian alphabet in a language class, helping them learn guitar chords during a music class, or instilling the proper way to make an origami swan out of a speeding ticket in an art class.