Education

EDUCATION PROGRAMS AT LE PETIT THEATRE

Le Petit Theatre has a long tradition of welcoming children through its doors dating back through most of its 102-year history. Whether it was through plays at the Children’s Corner or student matinees during the mainstage season, kids have always been a part of the DNA of this organization. 

There is no greater joy than watching a child have their first theatrical experience. By introducing children to theatre at an early age, we help them to develop critical thinking skills, increase their overall school performance and help them develop into sentient and empathetic adults.

In our 18/19 season, we are re-affirming our commitment to education. Not only will we grow our student matinee program to bring more students without access to theatre through our doors, but we will commit to having young people onstage, backstage and fully integrated into the artistic process. 

If you are interested in learning more about any of these programs, please contact education@lepetittheatre.com


THEATRICAL WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM

JOB TRAINING IN TECHNICAL THEATRE

Louisiana is home to one of the largest entertainment industries in the nation. In 2016, certified spending in Louisiana on film, sound recording, and live entertainment was at $918,000,000.

The Louisiana Department of Economic Development reported in their economic impact study of 2017 that the additional impact of this spending resulted in 14,541 jobs and $919MM in new household earnings.

Despite these figures, there is a dearth of technical talent industry-wide to support the entertainment industry. Technical positions, artisans, and crafts people are in high demand as comprehensive training in these areas is in decline. Jobs in technical theatre often go unfilled for months due to a lack of qualified candidates. The Production Managers Forum, a group of leaders in theatrical production management across the nation, has reported that a sharp decline in technical theatre training has created a scarcity of technical theatre talent in the industry that is having a negative impact on producing at many regional theatres.

Le Petit Theatre is undertaking an initiative aimed at training young people for work in these critical areas of technical theatre through the launch of the Theatrical Workforce Development Program. TWDP will work with education and community leaders in New Orleans to identify students who have an interest and passion for these highly skilled jobs and who would benefit from training and apprenticeships as they seek professional jobs in the field. 

The Theatrical Workforce Development Program is a hands-on training program where participants will receive training in multiple areas of technical theatre including carpentry, lighting, props, audio, wardrobe, and wig making. The program is open to high school students and recent graduates with a preference given to students in New Orleans who have a demonstrated interest in theatre and the performing arts. The program will match students with a Master Teacher in each respective discipline who will teach them basic skills and best practices demonstrated in the field.

In the fall, we will host two introductory sessions, where students will have the opportunity to meet with theatre professionals and learn about what goes into creating theatre. They will get to pick up a hammer, a paintbrush, a needle and thread and create some small pieces of art that they can take with them. We will provide lunch and answer questions they have about the different disciplines.

Students will have the ability to apply for a Fellowship in the spring semester in one of the following areas: sets/carpentry, lighting/electrics, sound, costume construction, wigs making, or prop design. 

The students will spend 5-10 hours a week over the course of a semester learning through lecture style preparation and then through hands on experience. Each student will be matched with a mentor who will guide them through their chosen area of focus and help them successfully complete the program. Students will be paid a stipend for the time they spend in the program. 

After successfully completing a Fellowship, students who have completed high school will be able to enter a second-year apprentice program where they will be employed on a seasonal basis to put their skills to work on professional theatre productions under the guidance of the Production Manager and the professional theatre crew. These students will attend rehearsals, tech, and performances where they will shadow theatre professionals backstage. They will also work to put their skills into action of a special Youth Production in the spring.

At the end of the apprenticeship, LPT will assist graduates of the program in obtaining full time professional work or continuing to develop their skills at the college level.

Not only will the program be free to the selected students, but they will receive a weekly stipend for their participation. Our goal is to train technical theatre professionals in skilled positions so that they are able to earn a living working in the entertainment industry here in New Orleans and beyond.


THE YOUNG CONSERVATORY

ACTOR TRAINING FOR YOUNG PEOPLE

The Young Conservatory program at Le Petit will provide students from ages 8 to 18 the ability to develop their talents, perform in professional productions, and gain the confidence to succeed—all in a comfortable, creative, and fun environment.

Young Conservatory students will take classes in Voice and Diction, Clowning and Movement, Stagecraft, Stage Presence, and Ensemble Building. Classes will be led by theatre professionals who have a passion for working with young people.

Young Conservatory students will gain confidence, learn teambuilding, and grow their performing skills.

Students will have priority access to auditions for the production of A Christmas Carol, our new annual holiday tradition which will feature a Youth Company of 20 kids performing with professional actors on Le Petit’s stage.

The Young Conservatory program will be fee based, but Le petit is committed to providing scholarship to ensure that all qualifying students have access to this important program.

Learn

Young Conservatory (YC) classes are exciting, engaging, and challenging. Courses such as acting, musical theater, clowning, and physical comedy offer something for every student's taste and schedule. YC teachers and directors are active theater professionals who understand and enjoy working with young people.

Develop

The YC teaches more than just acting. Students learn to incorporate the craft of theater into their everyday lives, developing concentration, imagination, professionalism, character, and self-confidence along the way.

Perform

The YC students perform on Le Petit’s stage in a spring show designed especially for them. 

YC actors are also given first priority for casting when Le Petit’s professional productions need to fill young roles.

Succeed

By training at the YC, students gain the creative and communication skills to succeed in just about anything. Many students from conservatory programs go on to study art in college, yet the skills they learn give them the confidence, presence, and knowledge to succeed in any career.  


STUDENT MATINEES

Student matinees provide a unique, up close and personal experience of the productions at Le Petit for hundreds of students each season. Each student matinee is followed by a performance is followed by a talk-back during which the cast interacts with students during a brief Q&A session.

Through sponsorship of student matinees, Le Petit will offer free tickets to students without access to live performance. Sponsorship packages will allow corporations and individuals to give the gift of live theatre to the next generation of theatre lovers. The performing arts are a valuable part of a student’s education. Access to live theatre and storytelling helps students to develop critical thinking skills and engenders empathy and understanding of the larger world.

Sponsoring a student matinee provides free tickets for up to 200 students to have their own matinee, including transportation stipends for bussing and an exclusive study guide created to help students engage with the work they are seeing on stage. Sponsorship also provides funding for teaching artists to visit schools before the performance to prepare them for the visit, and a talkback after the show to allow students to connect with theatre makers. Levels and benefits for student matinee sponsorship are:
 
$25,000 – Student Matinee Underwriter
Sponsor one student matinee for each of Le Petit’s five 2018-2019 mainstage productions, impacting at least 1,000 New Orleans area students who would not be able to visit the theatre otherwise. Receive recognition in playbills all season long as a Student Matinee Sponsor, recognition on Le Petit’s website, and recognition on classroom materials developed for participating students.
 
$5,000 – Student Matinee Supporter
Sponsor one student matinee for any of Le Petit’s 2018-2019 mainstage productions, providing the special experience of live theatre for at least 200 students from an underserved school in the New Orleans community. Receive recognition in the selected show’s playbill as a Student Matinee Sponsor, recognition on Le Petit’s website, and recognition on classroom materials developed for participating students.
 
Interested in supporting student matinees at Le Petit Theatre? Contact Amelia Whittington, Director of Development, at 504.558.9328 or awhittington@lepetittheatre.com.

Dates, Fridays at 10:00 am: