Drama/Acting for 13 year old boy

Hi there,

My son has developed a very strong interest in acting.  Not so much the musical/singing/dancing part, but if that is all we can find, we will look into that.  He has no prior experience.   I see some old recommendations from 2006-2011, but several of them are no longer in existence.   We are located in Oakland, but willing to go to many bay area locations.


Oakland Mom

Parent Replies

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CCCT (Contra Costa Civic Theatre) in El Cerrito has a great program, including, last time I checked, improv on the weekends, and a summer drama camp. My daughter attended several times and loved it. I think it also helped her get comfortable with public speaking.

ACT in San Francisco (near BART) and Berkeley Rep in downtown Berkeley both offer acting classes, not just musical theater classes.  I think both are good.  I’ve found that studying acting separately, without the singing and dancing, has helped my daughter in the long run.  A lot of kids only do performance-based musical theater classes and the acting often gets short shrift, because they are racing to pull the songs and choreography together.  Consequently, some of kids don’t learn much about acting, so having done so can be an advantage.   Plus, it’s fun, and there are never enough boys.  

My daughter has been very pleased with Berkeley Playhouse and with ACT San Francisco's Teen Conservatory. She's experienced good camaraderie and training in both. Both have classes as well as performance opportunities. We like how Berkeley Playhouse double-casts their productions so that more kids get experience with leading roles as well as ensemble work. ACT has a more diverse group of participants, but not by much. ACT also has more intellectually interesting material, if your son is interested in non-musical theater. Both are easy to reach via public transit. I've heard good things about (but don't have first-hand experience with) Youth Musical Theater Company in Berkeley, by Aquatic Park. It is for youth from 7th grade through university who are serious about theater. I recommend your son attend performances produced the various organizations, to give him an idea of the caliber and material of the productions as well as caliber of fellow actors. That's what solidified my daughter's choices. Lastly, Berkeley Rep has youth education programs. My daughter hasn't taken classes there since 1st grade, but the teen options look great for youth in high school. Have fun on this journey!