Watertown Children's Theatre offers a variety of programming for individuals or groups to engage in the process of making theater. Through on-site classes, workshops, private lessons, vacation week experiences as well as after school programming, participants have the opportunity to explore topics ranging from the creation of an idea to performance and backstage work. Brief descriptions are provided below or further details can be found on the Programs page.
WCT, our wonderful performing arts program, which has always been a home to so many youth and families is an integral part of the Mosesian Center for the Arts. It welcomes not only new but past participants to drop in anytime for a show, a class, or just to say hello!
In 1983, Founding Artistic Director Dinah Lane launched the Watertown Children’s Theatre with its inaugural production, Once Upon a Mattress, performed on the stage of Watertown High School. More musicals, productions of classical, contemporary and original plays as well as numerous educational workshops quickly followed, drawing thousands of participants from Watertown and its surrounding towns.
Over the years, hundreds of plays, musicals, classes, workshops and anniversary celebrations have brought together children, whole families and communities to celebrate youth, performance and the arts under WCT’s original mission:
- To be a cultural and educational resource for the community by providing opportunities for all children to appreciate and participate in the performing arts.
- To provide a range of theatre experiences for children of diverse cultures and different ages.
- To foster self-discovery, creativity, confidence, group responsibility, and pride in accomplishment, as well as the development of skills in an enjoyable, non-competitive atmosphere.
Since moving to the MCA in 2005, WCT has expanded its programming, now featuring eight productions in each season of musicals and plays in the MainStage and Black Box Theatres, as well as classes, vacation programs, master classes, and private voice lessons. Staff includes teachers with experience in a variety of specializations including playwriting, vocal performance, multiple styles of dance, theatre design and technology. These diverse styles and methods allow program opportunities for students of all interests, skill-levels and abilities. WCT has also been home to groundbreaking work in integrating ASL with performance. For many years, ASL interpretation and shadow-signing were a part of WCT’s productions. Recently, with the help of its original ASL drama specialist, Arlene Velleman and her students, WCT was able to bring back this element for the winter musicals in 2019 and 2020. Recent performances have included additional accessible and sensory-friendly production elements to help serve an even wider audience.
In 2013 WCT formally merged with the Center and a fully blended approach to performing and visual arts began, leading to more multidisciplinary offerings and integrated vacation arts programs. The WCT Council, a body of current and former WCT parents, was formed at that time in order to provide ongoing support and ensure the health of the WCT programs going forward.
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WCT’s season features eight productions that offer participants of all ages the opportunity to work as part of an ensemble, gain confidence, and take pride in their accomplishments as they hone advanced skills in singing, acting, and movement/dance. Parents/Guardians join the fun as they work together on offstage committees to help bring the production to life. Each production program culminates in fully staged performances for the public. This includes the MainStage Musical Series, Junior Players, and the Black Box Series.
MainStage Musical Series
WCT’s MainStage Musical Series provides student performers the opportunity to gain advanced theater skills in singing, acting and dancing. Performers will benefit from the opportunity to work with a director, choreographer and music director in order to develop a fully-staged production for the public in the Charles Mosesian Theater. Please note that this is a registration, not audition, based program.
Junior Players is a companion program to our musicals. Classes are held on Monday afternoons; during the final week there are additional rehearsals. There is a parent orientation and parent volunteer component as a part of this program. In the fall, Junior Players rehearse and perform their own one-of-a-kind musical revue. In winter and spring the Junior Players perform in their own ensemble as part of our MainStage Musical production, and participants perform in one evening and one matinee performance. Performances take place in the Charles Mosesian Theater. Please note that this is a registration, not audition, based program.
Black Box Series
WCT’s Black Box Series provides student performers the opportunity to gain advanced theatre skills. Performers will benefit from collaborating within a small cast to develop a fully-staged production for the public in the Black Box Theater. The Fall Black Box Play (grades 3-5) and the Winter Black Box Play (grades 6-9) are registration based programs, while the Teen Winter Black Box Play and Black Box Musical (grades 9-12) are audition based programs.
Page to Stage (grades K-2)
Inspired by a current WCT season production or related story, participants in Page to Stage collaborate in creating original theatre pieces while finding their voice and building basic performance skills.
Movement and Dance
Foundations of Acting and Intermediate Acting
WCT’s Foundations of Acting program (grades 3-5) is designed to be an exciting introduction to the skills all actors need to shine on stage, with a focus on a key area of theatre. WCT’s Intermediate Acting program (grades 5-8) focuses on one key area of theatre to build and refine technique for experienced performers or participants who have already completed a Foundations of Acting course.
The A Cappella Experience (grades 6-12)
Join WCT’s a cappella group! This highly popular style of music both delights and challenges participants as they work towards developing a diverse repertoire of songs for performances on-site and potentially out in the community! Song selection and style are driven by members’ ideas and preferences to create a one-of-a-kind group truly unique to WCT. Returning members are encouraged to continue in order to further their skills and repertoire, and new participants are invited to join each term! Previous singing experience recommended.
PlayMakers and Playwriting
WCT’s PlayMakers (grades 3-7) get the exciting opportunity to write and act in their own short works of theatre! Young playwright/performers experience the journey of a play from idea to performance as they draft scripts, create characters, design sets, and more in this fast-paced class. In our Playwriting program (grades 8-12), participants explore real-life scenarios, humor, drama, and more, as they each craft and direct original short works.
CYC (grades 5-12)
Like a Cyclorama (or Cyc) curtain enclosing the stage to create a background, WCT's CYC program serves as a basis for all technical/production work at WCT. CYC Participants receive priority consideration for serving as crew members for season productions, work alongside professional designers, and receive opportunities (based on skill level) to design showcases and student productions throughout the year.
These special programs are led by local and visiting theatre artists, and will help you keep your skills sharp or try something new! Audition workshops are held every term, while the rest of the one-time programs vary in subject.
Private Voice Program
With WCT’s Private Voice Program, participants will learn techniques to strengthen their voices through weekly individual lessons. Participants will acquire the skills for healthy singing with special attention paid to proper vocal technique, performance ability, and stage deportment as well as general music appreciation and awareness. The Voice Program also acts as a compliment to the Massachusetts Arts Curriculum Framework - Music, directly supporting the curriculum learning standards for both Singing and Reading and Notation.
School vacation and Summer Stage programs are a chance for participants to immerse themselves in the arts. Programs generally run from 9:00 – 4:00 PM on weekdays, and may include acting, music, visual arts, scenic and costume design, theatre games, and more. Each Vacation Program has its own theme, runs one to three weeks, and culminates in an informal showcase.
Students explore theatre and visual arts in the comfort of their own school or homeschool setting. WCT partners with Parent-Teacher Associations and school administrators to develop school-day programming to integrate theatre arts strategies in teaching subject material as well as offer creative dramatics and theatre workshops as part of after-school clubs and enrichment programs.
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The WCT Council is comprised of a dedicated group of parents and community members who donate their time and efforts to make our program a success. Our most sincere gratitude for all that they do!
Louise Harrison Lepera