|Frequently Asked Questions:|
|QUESTION: What is Kidz Konnection doing to ensure the health and safety of students, families, and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Kidz Konnection went fully online mid way through March and has been following all guidelines and recommendations from the CDC and the Connecticut state government. We are pleased to announce that in-person instruction was able to resume in July, with all programs remaining outside, and we plan to continue to offer a variety of online, in-person, and hybrid classes and productions for Fall 2020. We require that all students, staff, and volunteers wear a face mask or face shield whenever participating in any kind of on-sight group activity. We provide all students with hand sanitizer and fully clean the facility regularly. For the remainder of the 2020 calendar year, only family members of the cast will be able to attend performances in person.
QUESTION: Where are you located?
61 E. Main Street, Clinton CT 06413. We run rehearsals, auditions, classes, and some performances out of our historic Academy Building right on Route 1 in Clinton across the street from the Clinton Town Hall, and between the Clinton First Church of Christ and the old Pierson School.
QUESTION: My child is/ I am new to theater. What can or should I get involved in?
This depends on a couple of things. For example, how old you are, what you are looking for, and what you are comfortable with. Very few of our programs require any prior experience with theater or performing, so you are welcome to sign up or audition for anything. We typically recommend starting off with one or more classes because those tend to be smaller, more intimate environments where our students can get more one-on-one attention and make friends quickly. However, many new students choose to jump right into one of our main-stage productions to get used to the fast-paced, large scale of a big production. Feel free to explore our classes and productions or contact us to see what might be a good fit for you!
QUESTION: My child does not want to perform. Can they help backstage instead?
Absolutely! However, please keep in mind that being tech crew for a large production can be a big commitment and requires a certain set of skills. For those who do not have any prior experience with tech crew, we offer a Backstage Basics class so that you can learn the necessary skills to be able to change set, use a lighting or sound board, and understand how a show is put on from our head tech-crew members. If you’re looking for something with less commitment, we are always looking for volunteers to help with everything from cueing actors to lending a truck to painting set to planning a cast party!
QUESTION: Can you connect us to a good agent or help us get auditions in New York?
Kidz Konnection is a family business with a mission of developing the leadership skills and confidence of our students. We will work to help your student learn vital skills such as public speaking, self-confidence, and how to work in a team. We offer a range of classes and productions that can strengthen your child’s acting, audition skills, singing, and dancing, however we do not provide recommendations or connections with agents or professional performance opportunities. Some of our students have gone on to act professionally or have studied acting in college, however we urge students and families who may be thinking about this path to understand the high-stress, highly competitive environment that they will be walking into.
QUESTION: How do you decide what classes to offer?
Typically our classes are designed by the staff teaching them. Our teachers have a lot of freedom and can design new classes as often as they want. Some classes such as our fight choreography class, backstage basics class, or acro dance class were created because our teachers have those specific skills and wanted to provide more options to students who might be interested in learning about those things. Other classes such as our Friday Night Live Improv classes have been around for over a decade and continue to be some of our most popular classes. We will also offer classes based on popular demand, so if there is something that we don’t have that you would like to see, let us know!
QUESTION: Why do I have to pay tuition for a class or production?
A lot goes into running a business, especially a theater company. For each major production we have a number of costs that we need to cover in order to provide the best experience possible for our students and quality productions. As a non-profit organization, 100% of all funds received through tuition, ticket sales, and donations go directly back into our company and our students. We want to be able to provide the best quality programs and productions for the lowest price possible. If you are surprised by our tuition, feel free to look at the rates of some of our competitors including Connecticut Family Theater, Hartford Stage, Madhatter’s Theater, and Oddfellows Playhouse. You will notice that our prices are significantly lower than all of our competitors’ similar programs. We are also committed to providing an inclusive experience where no student is turned away, so if cost is an issue for you or your family, please do not hesitate to communicate your concerns with us.
QUESTION: What do I do if I want to audition, but I am not sure if I can commit to the rehearsal schedule?
Coming to the audition does not require any commitment in most cases! Auditioning is always a great learning experience, even if you don’t think you are going to actually participate in the production. You will typically have the opportunity to refuse your part and choose to not participate after the cast list comes out. When you audition, you have nothing to lose, so why not?
QUESTION: Why is tech week mandatory?
Tech week is mandatory because it is extremely important. Tech week’s primary purpose is to allow the set crew, lighting crew, sound crew, and costume designers to practice. You might think that you already know your part and everything about the show, so it won’t matter if you don’t show up, but the tech crew needs to know which costumes still need to be finished or fixed, which microphones need to be on at what times, what props need to be ready when and where, and how crowded it will be back stage during scene changes.
In addition to that, tech week is usually the first time that actors get the chance to rehearse the entire show in order in the performance space, with props, set, costumes, microphones…etc. Those details can completely alter your ability to focus. Tech week isn’t just about reciting your lines, it is so that you can practice with all of these finalizing details. If you don’t come to tech week, the chance that you will forget a crucial prop, have trouble with a quick change, or miss a cue is much more likely. You may not think that you are very important during tech week, but one missing cast member can cause a whole number of problems for the cast and crew.
QUESTION: Why do some productions have age limits like 5-9, 9 and up, or 12 and up?
At Kidz Konnection, we try to give students of all ages a chance to perform and excel in their ability to be confident on stage. While our big productions that include all ages from 5 to 18 are a lot of fun, they can also be quite stressful for everyone involved. We split up our age groups for certain productions in order to keep the cast small and ensure that students have the ability to make friends. Additionally, we believe that theater should be an educational experience and we value the ability to study classic literature, but unfortunately some material is not suited for certain age levels.
QUESTION: Why does Kidz Konnection only offer Shakespeare during the summer?
Reading and performing classic literature is a year-round activity! However, at Kidz Konnection, our Summer Shakespeare is specifically for the summer for a few reasons. First of all, we have found that Shakespeare is best when performed outside. The Historical Society’s Old Brick Garden, is the perfect stage for everything from As You Like It to Macbeth because it is intimate so the audience can be right in front of the actors and feel like they are apart of the action (and Shakespeare is ALL about action!) Being outside also allows the audience to bring a picnic blanket or lawn chair and feel like they are at a picnic!
The other major reason we perform Shakespeare exclusively in the summer is because our Shakespeare program is made for older actors, specifically middle schoolers, high schoolers, and young adults. This age group is often busy with school, college, sports, homework, tests, and everything else that happens during the school year. The summer is the perfect time for these young actors to be able to relax, hang out with their friends, and actually commit to the rehearsal schedule.
The last reason we only perform Shakespeare in the summer is that there are a limited amount of Shakespearian plays (actually 37), but not every single one is worth performing with this age group. If we did more than one Shakespearian play a year, we would go through the most popular ones in no time.
QUESTION: Why do you have a starting age of 5 years old? Why can’t my 4-year old join the classes or productions? He/ she loves to act and I want to get them going as early as possible!
At Kidz Konnection, we love hearing that your young children are already showing enthusiasm for theater! Wanting to act, play pretend, make up stories, and use their imagination is a great thing for children at that age to be doing, and you should definitely encourage them to explore their creativity! Our classes and productions generally have a minimum age requirement of 5 years because that is the age when most children will be getting used to a structured environment. Prior to starting kindergarten, many young children have trouble sitting still and taking directions. This is completely normal! They are young and want to run around and explore the world. Unfortunately, we have limited time and space to hold our classes and rehearsals.
Many of our productions will have a cast of over 80 students and there is a lot of down time, especially for the younger children who are only in a few scenes. This can be difficult for 3 and 4 year olds to handle. Tech week rehearsals are long, tedious, and run late. The weekend of the show is strenuous for children of every age, but close to impossible for most children under 5 because our evening shows will often end at 10:00pm and then by the time the child is out of their costume and ready to go home it is probably around 10:45 or 11:00 at night! That’s really late for a child who’s bedtime is probably 7 or 8pm. If you want to sign your child up for a class, those are less intense, but we still suggest children to be 5 or over.
QUESTION: Why can’t we do every show on the Town Hall Stage?
Of course, a larger venue always seems like a better place to perform, but this isn’t always the case. The Town Hall can be very expensive to perform at and when we are doing a smaller show, we might not have enough money from that show to cover the cost. However, money isn’t the only reason. With shows that feature a smaller cast, with younger actors, or shows that won’t have a huge audience, performing at places like our Academy Building allow us to have a more intimate setting. Young actors can often be intimidated by the enormous Town Hall Auditorium. The big stage will make them look even smaller than they are. The auditorium is huge so it requires a lot of projecting to fill the space and get every audience member to hear you. The lights can be hot and blinding. These are many of the reasons that we use the church for smaller shows. For our Summer Shakespeare we perform at the Historic Society’s Garden behind the Old Brick. This is because many Shakespearian plays are meant to be performed outside and this creates a “Shakespeare in the Park” type feeling, similar to going to New York City to see a Shakespearian production performed in Central Park. So, while many of our larger shows will be performed at the Town Hall, we have lots of different performance spaces available to us that will all offer a different experience.
QUESTION: Why does the rehearsal schedule often change from week to week?
It is always hard to explain to new families to the theater the difference between a sport and theater. A sport is often contained in weekly practice sessions where the same strategies and skills are developed each and every week. A play is ambiguous. Scenes move and shift, different actors are required for different scenes and a director can never predict which scenes will require more work than others based on the actors strengths and or the blocking required for the scene. Most Directors will require a complete commitment to the entire production process, even if that means the actor is just sitting in the theater for hours without ever getting any stage time. I have always tried to accommodate the busy lives of the average family and work tirelessly to build schedules that will allow children the most stage time, least “sitting” time when in the studio. Thus, the best way to do this is provide a flexible week by week schedule. It may be difficult for families at first to grasp the concept but once everyone sees that it is in the best interest of each individual child’s needs, most families warm up to the flexible week to week schedule.
QUESTION: Why do some students always seem to get the leads every time they audition for something?
At Kidz Konnection, we work very hard to allow opportunities for all of our students to shine and be able to explore their creativity and acting abilities. We offer a large number of productions throughout the year geared towards different ages and skill sets. Often, if it looks or seems like some students are constantly getting the best roles, it is because they have put in years of hard work in the ensemble before even being considered for leads. Many of our high school-aged actors have been with us since they were in elementary school. If you feel like you are constantly being overlooked by your director, it doesn’t hurt to ask them where your areas of improvement are or what programs might be a better fit for you. Some students find their niche in specific areas that highlight their strengths. For example, some students are drawn towards Shakespeare while others showcase their dance and singing skills in musicals. Students who seem to have great success in auditions are also often the students that come to the audition prepared.