Theatrically inclined youngsters may have a new outlet soon when three former teachers of the now defunct (KTTS) launch a new children’s theatre company called Looking Glass Youth Rep.
It is a project of the Alameda Children’s Musical Theatre (ACMT) and will focus on teaching acting skills as much as performing, although they hope to stage a junior version of Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory this winter.
Tyler Null, Amy Marie Haven and Jordan Best are in the process of securing class and rehearsal space at various public schools and at a local dance studio. They are in discussions with , and Elementary schools as well as , , and the . They are also seeking a larger venue to accommodate performances.
Null said it is not lost on the trio that they are attempting to start a children’s theatre company in the midst of what is still a bad economy and in the wake of another similar company going under.
That is why, he says, they will not open registration for classes until they are certain they have locked-in sites and secured a performance space.
“Parents and children in this community have been through a lot this summer with the and don’t deserve to have their hopes dashed again," Null said.
On the other hand, he said, the trio of teachers is excited about their prospects and are close to getting their website launched and signing agreements with at least two rehearsal sites. If all goes as they hope, he said, classes will begin around Oct. 1.
They plan to provide classes for students in grades first through eighth with age groups varying by location. Classes will be held after school for two hours twice weekly for 10 to 12 weeks, culminating in a performance at the end. Planned cost, per child for each session, will likely be $275, Tyler said. Students will not need to attend the school where classes are held in order to enroll.
He said the Alameda Children’s Musical Theatre is an outstanding company, but it sometimes has more children try out for its plays than can be cast. Looking Glass Youth Rep, he hopes, will provide an opportunity for children to sample acting and see if they like it before they progress to parts requiring auditions.
Haven and Best already teach for ACMT. Tyler, 27, performed in children’s theatre as a child, as well as in college, and works in theatrical lighting design and film editing. While employed at The Marsh Theatre in San Francisco he began working with the Marsh Youth Theatre, helping design their shows. “I tried it and loved it,” he said. “I totally enjoyed the energy.”
Tyler said it has yet to be decided whether registration for Looking Glass Youth Rep classes will be handled through ACMA or via a separate new website that will soon be established.
Publicity will be issued to the community once more is finalized, he said. Tyler said they will need 12 to 20 students enrolled at each site to make it feasible. They are starting to informally reach out to public, private and home school parents to gauge their interest.
“The reality is that this may only be a one semester company,” said Tyler. “I hope it will go well and continue beyond that, but we can’t be sure. The last thing I want to do is give Alameda families false expectations. We will take this one step at a time.”
“Assuming we get enough students,” he said, “the moment we are truly open and start accepting registrations is the moment I will guarantee it will happen. Even if I have to sell my belongings, it will happen.”