Summer Performing Arts Conservatory at WaterTower Theatre

By on March 8, 2017

Kyle Igneczi

If you have a child who loves acting, singing and dancing (and is willing to do all three in public!) then sign him or her up for the Summer Performing Arts Conservatory at WaterTower Theatre, held at the Addison Theatre Centre, which will take place from June 19 through July 1. Although this conservatory has been held several years in a row, this year’s program will feature a completely new, restructured course that students will love.

In the past, the Summer Performing Arts Conservatory for children ages 8 to 16 was structured in a way that allowed students to present a fully-realized performance of a published play or musical at the end of the two-week program. This year, the Conservatory will allow students to cultivate their skills in three intensive courses, each led by a different professional theatre artist. The new format of the conservatory will offer a more well rounded experience and provide the students with a strong artistic foundation that can be used in the classroom and the professional stage. In addition, students will gain valuable interpersonal communication skills that will benefit their lives, even off the stage. At the end of the two weeks, there will be a performance showcase for friends and family focused on utilizing the skills and crafts learned over the course of the program.

All future stage or screen actors, musicians and professional dancers will love this conservatory. It is a wonderful chance for these students to immerse themselves in all aspects of theatre arts in a unique, non-competitive and nurturing way.

Kelly McCain

Classes are taught by highly skilled, local professionals including M. Shane Hurst, Kyle Igneczi, Kelly McCain and Jeff Swearingen. Concentrations include acting, dancing, voice and puppetry taught in an intimate classroom setting that allows each student to receive individual attention. In addition to theatre skills, students will also gain confidence, self-esteem and passion for creativity.

Hurst will be teaching the music lessons at the conservatory. His background includes earning four degrees in music from the Eastman School of Music, Southern Methodist University and the university of North Texas, and he currently serves on the music faculties of Dallas Baptist University and Cedar Valley College. For more than 20 years, Hurst has been active in local theatre as an actor, director and music director. Three of his projects from 2016 (Onstage Bedford’s Jekyll & Hyde, Theatre Frisco’s The Last Five Years, and Greater Lewisville Community Theatre’s Master Class) were represented with various nominations in the recent Column Awards. He has worked with many children throughout his career, including teaching voice for the Dallas JCC and director music at theatre camps such as NM Productions, Rover Dramawerks, Camp Broadway and WaterTower’s Conservatory.

Puppetry lessons will be taught by Igneczi. He gained an assortment of skills and unique experiences that help him as a successful artist by touring around the world with some of the biggest names in family entertainment, such as Sesame Street Live, The USO, and Curious George Live. In addition to his work onstage as an actor, Igneczi has puppetry and performance credits with the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center Puppetry Conference, John Tartaglia, Chuck E. Cheese and Sesame Street Live. His skills have been seen on local stages, including puppetry in The Spark (WaterTower Theatre, “Best of Loop 2015” – Out of the Loop Fringe Festival), Hershel and the Hannukah Goblins (Amphibian Stage Productions, “Best Puppets 2015” – TheaterJones), and as an actor at WaterTower Theatre, Stage West, Casa Mañana, Dallas Children’s Theater and Uptown Players.

Jeff Swearingen

The dance classes at the conservatory will be taught by McCain. Some of her favorite performances include Shirley in The Producers (Uptown Players); Tess in Crazy for You, The Drowsy Chaperone (Theatre Three); The Boy from Oz, Hair, Tommy, Victor/Victoria, Closer to Heaven (Uptown Players); Uncle Thomas in The King and I, Carousel (Lyric Stage); Carmen (Dallas Opera). Choreography credits include Enron, Pippin, The Hot Mikado, Memphis, The Wedding Singer (Theatre Three); Chicago, Curtains (MainStage Irving); Bonnie & Clyde, Putting it Together, Creep (WaterTower Theatre); Peter Pan, Singin’ in the Rain, 9 to 5, How to Succeed in Business… Nice Work If You Can Get It, Hello, Dolly (Garland Summer Musicals); Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (Wishing Star Productions); and The Nance and Breathe (Uptown Players).

Acting classes will be taught by Swearingen, who has almost twenty years of experience teaching theatre and improvisation to children. He is Creative Director and one of the founding partners of Fun House Theatre and film, a local arts and production company. Swearingen is also represented by the Mary Collins Agency, and has taught students who have worked professionally from regional and equity theatre to film and national sitcoms.

Classes are held Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The cost is $500 per students, with tuition assistance and scholarships available. Many spots are available now online.

WaterTower Theatre has an education mission “to nurture the academic and emotional education of young people through theatre; and to make the rich benefits reaped from the experience available to all socio-economic levels and all traditionally underserved populations in Addison and Dallas.” It’s goal is to further: audiences by inspiring current and future audiences to discover theater and its connection to their lives; artists by investing in training, support and development of young professionals; and arts education, by contributing to the community wide efforts to improve the quality of life and the scope of arts education in North Texas.

M. Shane Hurst

WaterTower Theatre is currently celebrating its 20th anniversary season. It is one of the leading regional theatre in North Dallas and Texas, with a subscription base of more than 2,000 subscribers and an audience of more than 28,000 patrons annually.

Encourage and help your child to fulfill his or her goal of becoming a professional actor, musician or dancer, by signing up for the Summer Performing Arts Conservatory.  This is a chance for your kids to learn a little more about theatre, while gaining life skills and having fun at the same time. There is really no good reason not to go! When he is a big star on Broadway or you hear her music on the radio, you will know you made the right choice.

Sydni Ellis grew up in the great state of Texas, where she learned to love chips and salsa and hot weather. She has a master's degree in Journalism from the University of North Texas, and she currently works in the College Communications, Marketing and Outreach office at Richland College. Some of her passions include writing, traveling and re-reading the Harry Potter Series every chance she gets. In the spirit of spontaneity, Sydni lives her life with a pen in one hand and her video camera in the other; ready to capture the next great story.

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