Mudlark Theater, an Evanston-based youth theater company that offers a wide array of productions and education programs, is launching the Mudlark Media Series, a collection of Mudlark’s most-loved theater classes for kids adapted for the internet in an interactive capacity.
These new virtual classes, geared for students in Kindergarten through 12th grade, will be held three times a week for each two-week session. Students will log into the online classes, which will cover a variety of topics including playwriting, stand-up, puppetry, makeup, and more.
Classes are offered Monday through Saturday at numerous times throughout the day. All classes are held over the Zoom platform and require students to have access to the internet and a device with audio and video capabilities. Prices for the classes range from $60 to $155. Scholarships are available for all programming.
“This new virtual programming allows kids to connect with their instructors and peers in an online environment that maintains the joy of doing theater despite being physically separated by our screens—the joy that comes from each other,” says Mudlark Theater’s Executive Director Maureen Powers. “Our online classes are highly personable and are structured to adapt to the wants and needs of both the group and the individual. Mudlark’s instructors are trained theater professionals and teaching artists in the areas of acting, directing, playwriting, design, movement, and clown and have worked locally, nationally, and internationally.”
Powers says many parents who have already enrolled their children in the new virtual theater classes like the fact that the classes allow their children to connect with their peers, as well as foster their creativity, during this time of social distancing. “Many kids feel bored and frustrated at home, and these classes are a way of providing connection,” Powers says. “As one parent told me, ‘These online classes are a ray of sunshine in their day.’”
Class descriptions and registration for K-8 students can be found at www.mudlarktheater.org/mudlark-media-series-k8 and for high school students at www.mudlarktheater.org/mudlark-media-series-high-school. The next session of classes starts Monday, April 6, and more sessions will be added at a later date.
ABOUT THE SERIES
ADVENTURE TIME: Ages 6-7
April 7 - April 18 on Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday at 9:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m. or 11:30 a.m.
A physical adventure to be had in your own home! Join us for a Story Drama quest that includes elements of dance, tumbling, and yoga to accomplish physical storytelling and get bodies and minds moving.
COSTUMES & CHARACTERS, DIY: Ages 8-9
April 6 - April 17 on Monday/Wednesday/Friday, 9:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m. or 11:30 a.m.
Bring your own original characters to life using imagination and the things around your house! Kids will develop and draw our characters, then break out to have kids collect clothing and household items to create their costumes. Once we’ve perfected our costumes, we’ll take our characters on a once in a lifetime adventure!
MUDLARKIANS, PUPPET PALS: Ages 8-9
April 4th, 11th, and 18th (Saturdays), 1:00-3:00 p.m.
Mudlark’s cherished summer experience for 8- and 9-year-olds gets the Zoom treatment. Children starving for peer interaction will get lots of it in this class, where we explore the world of theater through improv games, puppet making, and acting exercises that get us moving. Since we can’t be on a stage together, we’ll make each screen a stage, with students devising and performing a short play using their newly crafted puppet pals.
RADIO PLAY: Ages 10-14
APRIL 6 - APRIL 17 on Monday/Wednesday/Friday, 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
It’s tough putting on a play when the actors can’t share the same space—unless it’s a good old-fashioned radio play, that is! In this class, students will experience the fun, suspense, and unlimited possibilities of audio theater as they write and perform a one-act radio play. Not only that, they get to sound design and score it live using foley effects. The play will be performed and recorded on the last day of class.
MUDLARK NEWS NETWORK: Ages 10-14
APRIL 6 - APRIL 17 on Monday/Wednesday/Friday, 1:00-2:30 p.m.
Mudlark News Network comes to the small screen, where it has always belonged! In this class we will form our own parody TV news crew and perform a 20-minute news broadcast. For the early sessions, we will brainstorm and plan what kind of show we want to do, what characters and situations we want to play and report on. Using the material you generate, the instructors will create a script for us to memorize and rehearse. On the production side, we will have fun scouting locations around our houses, raiding closets for news anchor blazers and “person on the street” costumes, and rigging up DIY studios to report from. The class will end with a “live broadcast” which will record and upload online.
FANTASY MAKEUP: Ages 10-14
APRIL 6 - APRIL 17 on Monday/Wednesday/Friday, 3:00-4:30 p.m.
or Tuesday/Thursday, 4:00-5:30 p.m.
Sure, the detailed makeup transformations you see in movies are often achieved using hours of professional products and CGI. But guess what? There are tons of convincing illusions you can create using just a tube of lipstick or a bit of eyeliner! In this online class, we’ll learn how to make creative and exciting looks using the bare minimum—whatever you have in a makeup bag at home!
Cost: $150 or $100
THE LEAGUE OF ADVENTURE: Ages 11-14 & 15-18
APRIL 7 - APRIL 16 on Tuesday/Thursday, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Mudlark’s beloved tabletop role-playing game is entering the virtual realm! Part D&D-style campaign and part improv class, the League invites a group of young adventurers to choose their way through a richly imagined world of quests and side-quests while channeling the attitudes and voices of their characters. Our new Zoom format allows the instructor to screen-share detailed maps and illustrations, too!
PLAYWRITING WORKSHOP: AGES 10-14 & 15-18
10-14; APRIL 6 - APRIL 17 on Monday/Wednesday/Friday, 5:00 - 6:30 p.m.
15-18; APRIL 7 - APRIL 16 on Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday, 4:00-5:00 p.m.
Theater will return someday, and when it does, we’ll need playwrights! In this class, you will craft your own short play while learning how to build dramatic tension and compelling characters. We’ll get inspired by excerpts from plays, writing exercises, and each other’s ideas! The class will culminate in a video staged reading of the students’ work.
Cost: $150 (ages 10-14) or $117 (ages 15-18)
STAND UP: AGES 15-18
APRIL 6 - APRIL 17 on Monday/Wednesday/Friday, 5:00 - 6:30 p.m.
It takes guts to tell your jokes to a room full of people. Many of us dream of doing it, but wonder, “Where do I start?” Start here! With a small circle of other beginner comics and a supportive instructor, you’ll learn how to turn your original ideas and real-life stories into comedic bits. Techniques like heightening, physicalizing, multiple character portrayal, and rule of three will help you develop those bits into a fun, 5-minute set. Class ends with a small performance over Zoom; it’s the best we can do until the clubs reopen.
Mudlark is a theater where kids are taken seriously as artists and learn theater by making it. We defy expectations and refuse to recognize the distinction between youth and professional theater. Our innovative programs teach life skills as well as theater arts, and our productions tell stories that surprise and delight all audiences.
About the Mudlark Team:
Andrew Biliter (Artistic Director) has been Mudlark’s Artistic Director since 2009. With every plays he writes, directs, edits, or produces, he aims to change the way people view and experience youth theater. Under Andrew’s leadership, Mudlark has focused on telling old stories in new ways, and new stories that only a youth company can tell.
Maureen Powers (Executive Director) joined Mudlark in January 2020. Maureen is a visionary and leader with extensive experience directing local and international organizations focused on theater, women and youth. She leads Mudlark in pursuing its mission through leadership development, capacity building, program development, financial management and strategic vision of the organization.
For more information about Mudlark Theater, visit www.mudlarktheater.org.
If you have any further questions, please contact Maureen Powers at [email protected] or call 773-329-3232.