The Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute in New York City and Los Angeles both have a program called Young Actors at Strasberg (or YAS) that offers kids acting classes for children of all abilities ages K-12. Parents, kids, and teens can have a lot of questions about acting classes for kids. Kristi Fok, Program Director for YAS New York and Liza Monjauze, Program Director for YAS Los Angeles answer some questions parents and new actors might have about the performing arts classes for kids at LSTFI.
What Are Classes Like for YAS?
During the school year, YAS classes happen during the day on Saturdays. During the summer, YAS offers week-long classes and camps for students.
Just like adult classes, YAS curriculum includes Method Acting classes, voice, dance, singing, musical theatre, and more! Lee Strasberg’s Method includes sensory exercises like ‘breakfast drink,’ where students spend time feeling, smelling, and tasting a breakfast drink like tea, juice or coffee. In classes “the material and work is definitely age appropriate,” said Kristi, “they learn the in’s and out’s of what goes into acting training.”
The instructors for adult classes are the same as the YAS instructors, so students are working with some of the best acting and theatre instructors in the industry. “Our teachers are so passionate,” said Liza. They view sharing their passion with students as “an honor and a gift.”
Young Actors at Strasberg splits kids into different classes based on grade.
|YAS 1: K-2nd Grade||YAS 2: 3rd-5th Grade|
|YAS 3: Middle School||YAS 4: High School|
The classes get more advanced and challenging based on the grade level. Acting classes for teenagers at LSTFI focus on career preparation such as auditions and getting ready for theatre in college.
The New York YAS Program and Los Angeles YAS Program for 2020 are both available online.
What Are the Benefits of Acting Classes for Kids and Teens?
“I think the important thing is that we get to provide a space for them to let loose and be creative… What they love, we love… We get to encourage their emotions”Liza Monjauze on the benefits of youth acting classes
For kids of all ages, acting classes give them a chance to express emotions and explore their own creativity. There is so much pressure in schools, especially high school to be very academically focused. “For kids who are artists, they need the art,” said Liza, “they get to come here and they get to write what they want to… their thoughts are so valid.” Even for kids who have done a lot of acting before, taking classes at LSTFI gives kids the chance to continue shaping themselves- “there is no end to the growth and creativity, ever,” remarked Liza.
The techniques taught at LSTFI can help students in areas other than acting. Relaxation, one of the core pillars of The Method, can benefit kids before taking a test or to center their minds if they get anxious.
“[Students] are being trained to connect with each other… and they love it!” said Liza. YAS gives students the chance to be “surrounded by other kids who love acting” (Kristi) and are like-minded people. The program means a lot to the kids who are a part of it. “They connect over speeches and monologues that they love. They connect over the women’s march… things that are important to them” (Liza).
Are Classes Only for Experienced Students?
No! Classes are for children and teens of all abilities and experiences. When discussing this topic, Kristi said, “[classes] have a good mixture of kids who have not been in acting and those who have.” Instructors work with kids of all levels and are fantastic at getting kids to engage and work with The Method regardless of experience.
Our program specifically pushes and challenges the students in a different wayKristi Fok on LSTFI’s YAS Program
How Can My Family Learn More About YAS?
Both LA and NYC have occasional open houses for families interested in LSTFI.