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Davenport Junior Theatre Zooms Ahead

Posted on 05/01/2020
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the team at Davenport Parks and Recreation’s Junior Theatre has been developing ways to continue serving youth in the community. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the team at Davenport Parks and Recreation’s Junior Theatre has been developing ways to continue serving youth in the community. The two pronged approach includes free and fee based programs. 

Free programs are found on the ‘DJT Learning YouTube Channel’ that now boasts over 50 videos. Videos include lessons in theatre and dance, tours, full productions, and much more. The channel launched just over two weeks ago.

The next phase is fee based programming using the Zoom platform. A four week theatre and dance session will start on June 1 with registration opening May 1. With 50 online classes in theatre and dance for kids ages 3-18 years, there is plenty from which to choose. Click to view video from program director, Daniel Sheridan.

“Our first priority was developing robust, free programming that anyone can access,” said Daniel Sheridan, Performing Arts Supervisor who oversees Junior Theatre. “Regardless of circumstances in the pandemic, it was essential that all kids have access to arts instruction for free. While we rolled that out, we were simultaneously developing a fee based program that provides interactive instruction and fun learning environments with our teaching artists.”

For theatre and dance, the fee based classes include traditional Davenport Junior Theatre (DJT) line ups such as acting, ballet, improv, hip hop, musical theatre, poms, puppetry, and more. However, the new format has inspired fresh classes like voice over, creative movement, acting with accents, dance team skills, playwriting, tone it up fitness, character creation, among others.

Junior Theatre Inc, the program’s non-profit partner, is funding the costs associated with the digital Zoom platform. This avoids that expense being passed along into the registration fees.

Those who register for class will receive a special packet with Zoom setup instructions and how to prepare a space for your child to learn and have fun.

Some free ‘try it’ classes are being developed, as well as single day drop in classes. The goal is to keep the programs extremely affordable and of high quality.

“COVID-19 will not keep us from finding ways to serve kids,” said Sheridan. “Junior Theatre has been around for nearly 70 years. We are a scrappy, innovative, resourceful and proud program that is manned by some of the most compassionate and talented professionals. We have to be creative in these times and find flexible programming that allows us to serve.”

Once the June session begins, DJT will announce a four week July session. The goal is to be able to return to in person programming in July, but leaders are open to continued digital options. If in-person classes can resume but have to be cancelled suddenly due to an unforeseen circumstance, programs will be built to fall back on the digital option without interruption.

The June four week session opened for registration on May 1. Classes will begin on June 1. Space is limited, as class sizes are being kept small in order to serve students more effectively. To guarantee a spot, register soon.

Contact - Daniel.Sheridan@davenportiowa.com