As live theater continues its return in the Roanoke Valley, Mill Mountain Theatre Conservatory is gearing up for spring semester classes. The in-person sessions will meet once a week, beginning the week of Jan. 31 and running through March.
The MMT Conservatory program started in 2008 and gears many classes to youth, with some offerings for adults. Topics include elementary acting, middle and high school music theater, beginner/intermediate tap, jazz and ballet, props and paint, and playwriting. All were still open for enrollment with no experience required, other than an interest in developing theater chops.
“Our goal is to provide pre-professional theater training for students ages pre-K through adult, and to engage and inspire the next generation of theater artists, educators and audience members,” Victoria Buck, the theater’s education director, said via email. The classes can also help students develop life skills and improve confidence, she added.
Youth class times start after the school day, while the props and playwriting classes for adults start after the workday. Prices vary, but most are about $200. (Three audition-only conservatory classes for advanced students are closed to new applicants.)
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“When in class, students can expect to [participate in] some theater warm-ups, fun games and exercises, and then do some activities to build their skills in the class discipline, like technique and scene work, learning songs and dances, practicing writing exercises, or designing and practicing their [props and paint] skills,” Buck emailed. “The more advanced the class, the more challenging the material and the more of it there is.”
Many class participants go on to perform at MMT or with other area theaters, or study theater in college, or work in professional theater behind the scenes, she said, citing former student Isaac Bouldin, who worked his way through several levels of classes, eventually auditioning for and being cast in MMT productions. He became an MMT intern and teaching assistant and won the organization’s 2021 Jack Avis Leadership Scholarship Award. These days, Bouldin is majoring in Musical Theatre at Belmont University in Nashville.
“Our goal is to provide training for every student in the discipline they want to study and at the level they want to study so that by the time they leave our classes they are a step ahead of everyone else in their field and ready to continue their training elsewhere and/or work professionally,” Buck said.
Interested? You can sign up at millmountain.org/class.