A program of the Mosesian Center for the Arts, Watertown Children's Theatre engages individuals and groups in the process of making theater. Through classes, workshops, private lessons, and vacation week and summer experiences, as well as after school programming, participants are given the opportunity to explore topics ranging from the creation of an idea to onstage performance and backstage work.
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 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 theater 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 MCA in 2005, WCT has expanded its programming, now featuring eight productions in each season of musicals and plays in the Main Stage and Black Box Theaters, 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, theater 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. 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 Mosesian Center for the Arts 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 Main Stage Musical Series, Junior Players, and the Black Box Series.
Main Stage Musical Series
The Main Stage 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. Please note that this is a registration, not audition, based program.
Junior Players is a companion program to our musicals. There is also 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 Main Stage Musical production, and participants perform in one evening and one matinee performance. Please note that this is a registration, not audition, based program.
Black Box Series
The Black Box Series provides student performers the opportunity to gain advanced theater 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.
Foundations of Acting and Intermediate Acting
Foundations of Acting (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 theater. WCT’s Intermediate Acting program (grades 5-8) focuses on one key area of theater to build and refine technique for experienced performers or participants who have already completed a Foundations of Acting course.
PlayMakers and Playwriting
PlayMakers (grades 3-7) get the exciting opportunity to write and act in their own short works of theater! 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, our 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 theater 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
In Private Voice weekly lessons, participants 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 may include acting, music, visual arts, scenic and costume design, theater games, and more. Each Vacation Program has its own theme, runs one to three weeks, and culminates in an informal showcase.
Students explore theater and visual arts in the comfort of their own school or homeschool setting. MCA partners with Parent-Teacher Associations and school administrators to develop school-day programming to integrate theater arts strategies in teaching subject material as well as offer creative dramatics and theater 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!
Tanya Fisher, Secretary
Louise Harrison Lepera
Dinah Lane, Founding Artistic Director