Dramatic play and theatre classes not only prepare your child to step into the spotlight but they can also help your child’s development of life skills which will set them on a path for a successful life in which ever career they choose. Below are just 7 of the important life skills children can gain by participating.

  1. Self-Confidence- by preparing for a performance and playing theatre games on a regular basis kids get used to be in front and speaking in front of others. By observing others students learn it is ok to make creative choices on stage and by having a safe and nurturing environment to rehearse scenes kids gain confidence and diminish feelings of stage fright.
  2. Flexibility & Problem Solving-  Just as in life, things on-stage don’t always go as planned. By playing improvisational games that get young actors to think quick on their feet and by working through unplanned mistakes during performances and rehearsals kids learn to how to be flexible by going with the flow and also improve problem solving skills as they find ways to hide mistakes from the audience.
  3. Creativity & Imagination- Drama classes and performances give kids the opportunity to let loose and make creative choices. When creating characters and situations kids are developing their ability to view things in a new way and from different perspectives. The ability to put themselves in other roles and situations can transfer into the ability to come up with solutions to real problems.
  4. Teamwork- Though it is not often viewed as a team sport- acting in a scene or play is a very collaborative act. Everyone in a scene is important, if someone forgets to come on stage, misses a line, forgets to move somewhere, looses concentration or etc. the others onstage have to work together in the moment to try and adapt with out the audience knowing that something went awry.
  5. Physical Development- Most acting classes and pre-performance routines include a physical warm-up comprised of stretching, movement and concentration activities to help prepare actors for the physicality and mentally of any role they might play which could include emulating the way a gymnast, football player, a senior citizen or a preschooler might move and hold their body. Musical Theatre requires kids to sing, dance and act simultaneously.
  6. Language and Communication– By playing new games, learning songs, reading from scripts and through pretend play kids develop their vocabulary, ability to project (speak loudly),and their articulation & diction (speaking clearly). When in class or onstage they are encouraged to express themselves verbally, through facial expressions and body language which are key in making them better and more effective communicators for a life time.
  7. Concentration– When kids are encouraged to listen to each other’s thoughts and ideas, take turns and to focus in the moment on the activities at hand they are developing their concentration skills. Not to mention it takes a lot of concentration to remember lines or even just to remember stay focused and in character.

Many of these skills can be gained at home through dramatic play by kids at home with friends or family. Encourage unplugged play with costumes, puppets, and scriptwriting. If you have kids that are more motivated by technology, they can be encouraged to make and share their own films, audio books or live broadcast.

Want a little help encouraging dramatic play or are your kids ready for a bigger challenge? If you want your child to develop and hone these important life skills, the Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts of Winona offers a wide variety of theatre classes, camps and performance opportunities that are perfect for the children in your life.  Below are the Theatre offering during Winter 2020 at MCA. Visit our Theatre Division page to find out more.

Peanut Butter & Jelly Players

Children's imaginations will soar as they recreate storybook tales through dramatizations, music and dance. Each week your child will have fun using theatrical exercises. sing-a-longs and movement games as they prepare for a small performance on the last day of class where they will show off their newly-honed skills.

Day/Dates:  Saturdays, Jan. 11- March 21 (No class Feb. 8)

Times: :45-10-15 am

Ages: 4-6 years

Instructor(s): C. Deysach

Cost: $80

Join us on Saturday, Jan. 4th for our 5th Annual Free-4-All to try this class out for free!


NEW! Create Your Own Comedy Show!

Designed for people who like to laugh and want to make others laugh with them, this class will take students through the process of creating a comedy show. Half of the class will be spent learning improv games and doing scene work. The other half will be spent working together to create an original short comedy play. The class will conclude with a performance of the class’s favorite improv games and their 100%-original play, complete with costumes and props! Whether your child is a seasoned improviser, an undiscovered comedy genius, or this is his or her first time dabbling in anything comedic, this class has a place for them to shine. This project is led by Saint Mary’s University theatre student Ahnika Lexvold and guided by MCA staff.

Days/Dates:  Mondays and Fridays, Jan. 20–March 27

Time: 4–5 p.m.

Ages: 10–14

Capacity: 15

Cost: $60

Instructor: A. Lexvold


Prairie Fire Children’s Theatre is back! Students ages 7-18 will be cast in the original musical production of “Cinderella,” a rock and roll version of the classic tale set in the 1950’s. Any student registered will be cast in this week-long production. All cast members are required to participate in the audition process on April 20 to determine their role. Cast members MUST be available for rehearsals Monday- Friday, 4-8:15 p.m. and performances on Friday, April 24, at 7 p.m. and Saturday, April 25, at 2 p.m. Performances are in MCA’s Academy Theatre at the Valéncia Arts Center.

Day/Dates: Monday-Saturday, April 20- 25

Times: TBA (depends on role assigned, see time frames above)

Instructor(s): Professional Actors/Directors from Prairie Fire Children’s Theatre

Cast Member Price: $69

Ticket cost: $6 Adults & $5 Students (Tickets-on sale during MCA business hours April 20-25 and 1 hour prior to performances at the door. Cash or check only.)