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Parallel 45 Theatre in Traverse City is expanding its youth educational programming with after-school classes for grades K-8 and private coaching for all ages beginning Monday, Oct. 12.

Building on the success of this summer’s sold-out Theatre Adventure Camp, Parallel 45 will offer exciting, weekly theatre classes for grades K-8. Classes will be held outdoors, weather permitting, and in a 2,500-square foot classroom at the Grand Traverse Regional Art Campus.

Parallel 45 will also offer year-round private coaching sessions designed for youth, teen and adult performers interested in taking their performance skills to the next level. Private and duet coaching sessions will take place at the P45 Studios in Civic Center Park.

“Over the past six months, we’ve seen the toll pandemic-related isolation has had on everyone—especially the children in our community,” says P45 Executive Director Erin Anderson Whiting. “By offering an opportunity for kids to safely connect and have fun together again, they will have a chance to express their emotions, while gaining confidence, theatre training, and a platform to tell their own stories. By expanding our education director’s role to full time, we are able to fulfill our mission and continue to teach essential life skills through the art of play.”

Stacia Sexton, a renowned teaching artist from Atlanta and part-time director of education at Parallel 45 for two years, will move to a full-time position leading both year-round initiatives.

“Taking a drama class is one of the most engaging and exciting ways for kids to practice social-emotional learning, a skill that has become increasingly difficult to develop in these disconnected times,” Stacia says. “I’m extremely excited about the addition of our private acting coaching program. With live productions postponed and auditions moving toward the digital format, it’s the perfect time for students to hone their performance skills through one-on-one training.”

To learn more, visit Parallel45.org/education/ or email [email protected]. Fall registration is limited.

STACIA SEXTON: Stacia Sexton is a recent Traverse City transplant, having relocated from Atlanta, Georgia, in 2017. Stacia has 12 years of experience teaching creative drama in K-12 settings throughout the US, as well as a degree in Theatre Performance with a minor in Theatre Education. Ms. Sexton has served as the Education Director with Parallel 45 Theatre in a part-time capacity since 2018 and has been at the helm of developing programming such as Addy’s Adventure workshops and this past summer’s socially-distanced Outdoor Theatre Adventure camps and High School Audition Intensive. Stacia could not be more ecstatic to offer even more engaging and adventurous educational fare to the northern Michigan community.

KEEPING KIDS SAFE: “P45 is proud to have a full COVD-19 protocol in place including social distancing, daily sanitizing of the space, no object sharing, mask-wearing indoors, and guidelines that abide by the CDC, MDHHS and Grand Traverse County,” explains Parallel 45 Theatre Artistic Director Kit McKay. “All teaching artist assistants are experienced theatre practitioners and educators who have undergone training in both creative drama techniques and COVID
safety. Safe spaces are a vital part of P45’s core values. Our dedication to theatre education keeps safety for our students, teachers and families at the top of our minds and hearts.”

Photo(s) by HarpeStar