The Gateway Playhouse is Offering a New Acting Workshop for Children with Learning Disabilities

The Gateway Playhouse is Offering a New Acting Workshop for Children with Learning Disabilities

All the World's a Stage serves as a stepping stone to placement in mainstream acting classes at the school and an opportunity to strengthen self-esteem, communication, and social skills.

 The Gateway Playhouse, a performing arts center located in Bellport, in consultation with East End Disability Associates, Inc., is offering a new acting workshop at its School for the Performing Arts for students on the autism spectrum or children with learning disabilities. The East End Disability Associates, Inc. is a local nonprofit that provides support services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The workshop called All the World's a Stage launched September 18 last year. It offers sessions throughout the year, including a summer intensive class running August 18 to 28. An introduction to acting, All the World's a Stage serves as a stepping stone to placement in mainstream acting classes at the school and an opportunity to strengthen self-esteem, communication, and social skills.

The workshop is open to children 10 and older, but special consideration can be given to younger children on an individual basis. Students learn a variety of exercises and skills such as communication on stage, expressing feelings, and scene work with others. The skills learned in the workshop are valuable both on and off stage, according to Michael Baker, education director for the school.

“It does a lot of things, it's not just about performing on stage,” Baker said. “It's about connecting with another person, about communicating how one feels, or one's opinion in certain situations. That's important anywhere in life, not just when we perform.”

Some former All the World's a Stage students have matriculated into mainstream acting classes. Others have discovered they have a passion for non-performance roles in theater. Baker credits these achievements to the attention children receive in these specialized workshops.

“We've had some students find out they love making things, they love making props for their scenes,” Baker said. “They might not get this same attention if they were matriculated into other classes in the community, so I think it's been a great program on different levels of arts education, not just the performance aspect, and life abilities and tasks.”

All the World's a Stage workshops run as 10-week sessions and meet once a week. Each class is taught by an acting instructor and a certified aid from East End Disability Associates.. On the final day of class, students have the opportunity to present their skills learned to family and friends.

The Gateway's School for the Performing arts offers a variety of theater education programs for both children and adults.

Registration is open for upcoming All the World's a Stage workshops. Scholarship and financial aid opportunities are available based on need. More information is available on the website.

 

Image: All the World's a Stage students perform on the Gateway School's Performing Arts Center stage.
Courtesy: The Gateway School