Kids unlock their creativity with Imagine Works Youth Theatre

“We have small classes, opportunities for all experience levels, and a friendly, welcoming environment. While we strive for professional excellence, we highly value personal growth. We are a great program for both experienced performers by bringing in industry professionals to view our shows, and newcomers by offering a lot of one-on-one attention and exploration.” says Jill Moody, Founder of Imagine Works Youth Theatre.

If your child is a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to the performing arts, Imagine Works might be an amazing place for them. Even if your child has almost no experience in any of these areas, Imagine Works may still be the perfect place for them to flourish! Founder Jill Moody created the company in order to make theatre arts more affordable and accessible to any child that expressed interest in pursuing them.

Who is Jill Moody, exactly? Prior to creating Imagine Works, she was a performer herself. At the age of five, she began studying dance, singing, and acting. She eventually landed roles in the Opera Company of Philadelphia’s “Wherther” and a production of “Mass of the Children” at Carnegie Hall in NYC, among other productions. She became an entrepreneur at a young age, creating a not-for-profit children’s musical group called Kids 4 Kids at just thirteen. She went on to study theatre and film at NYU Tisch and Stonestreet Studios, and worked as an assistant agent for a talent agency upon college graduation. Clearly, she is passionate about what she does, and has a lot of knowledge and experience to pass along to her students. What sets her apart from many, is how much she really seems to love and care about the business she has created for herself and the community.

She says, “I am currently receiving my Masters degree in Childhood Education. I also serve as the Children’s Director at the Off-Broadway Players Theatre, where we have partnered to make Imagine Works the resident youth theatre company. I founded Imagine Works to offer a low cost theatre arts program so all kids could pursue their passion for performing!”

Performers in fun costumes grace the stage with Imagine Works Youth Theatre.

“The arts are about exploration and accessing your creativity. Even if a student doesn’t want to be a professional performer, they can still gain valuable skills in collaboration, problem-solving and communication. Start out small with your own exploring and keep building on your skills over time.” says Moody.

There is plenty to explore at Imagine Works. Specifically created for children ages five to eighteen, the curriculum is quite varied, and can accommodate students at any level. Classes are offered year-round in voice, music theory, audition technique, on-camera commercial, tv, and film acting, improv acting, monologues, scene studies, Shakespeare, Broadway dance, jazz dance, tap dance, hip-hop dance, and even stage combat.

Private lessons are available as well, for seasoned performers looking to polish up on an audition song, or for newbies looking for a more individualized and accelerated learning opportunity. These lessons typically run about $30 per half hour and $50 per hour at Imagine Works. You can even try out a free trial lesson to see if this option will work for you before signing up.

“I believe everyone has the ability to be a performer. There is no perfect formula for an actor- every student brings a special talent to the table.” says Moody.

Not everyone has been dancing since the day they could walk, and not everyone wants to go to college to become a professional opera singer. And that is absolutely okay. The important thing to remember about performing arts, especially at Imagine Works, is that anyone can have fun and gain important life skills by partaking. And who knows, maybe your child (who could barely complete a jazz square prior to exploring in an environment that really fostered their growth and inspired their confidence in themselves), could become the next Billy Elliot on Broadway.

“The arts are about exploration and accessing your creativity. Even if a student doesn’t want to be a professional performer, they can still gain valuable skills in collaboration, problem-solving and communication. Start out small with your own exploring and keep building on your skills over time.” says Moody.

Students learn everything from acting to singing, dance, and stage combat with Imagine Works Youth Theatre.

Arguably, the most exciting offering provided by Imagine Works is the Camp Imagine Summer Theatre Camp & Mainstage Production. This year, camp takes place July 10th to the 28th, from 9:00am to 3:30pm each day. Parents and loved ones will get to see all of the students’ hard work pay off in the Mainstage Production at the conclusion of camp at The Players Theater in the West Village. This theatre gives students a real sense of what it is like to be a professional performer, as it is a professional Off-Broadway theatre that can accommodate up to 200 audience members! The camp will even be bringing in guest artists to teach, including Tony Award winners and talent agents. This all adds up to one amazing time for these lucky kids.

What does a day at camp look like? The schedule looks something like this: Voice class first thing in the morning, followed by acting class, dance class, a break for lunch, and then the rest of the day spent rehearsing for the end-of-camp production. Students get a lot of individual attention, with groups of about eight students to each instructor. Even during rehearsals, at least three instructors will be appointed to each group of twenty five students. The full camp experience costs $850.

Imagine Works Youth Theatre has many success stories to substantiate how much they truly strive to help their students to become the best and most successful that they can be. Many previous students have gone on to be accepted into prestigious New York City performing arts middle and high schools, been cast in commercials, pilots, web-series, and as voice-over actors, and gotten regional theatre contracts, been cast in Off-Broadway productions, and even cast in Broadway’s production of Mathilda.

The company clearly works very hard to address the needs of their students as hopeful professionals. The world of performing arts, especially in a Mecca like New York City, can be intimidating to many of even the most talented performers. What makes the difference, is having connections. Imagine Works maintains a partnership with the Off-Broadway Player’s Theatre, which provides a great connection for many students who are scouted from Imagine Works productions, and cast in their professional productions. The company also prides itself on guiding students to appropriate casting calls from directors, producers, and agents. Professionals in the industry are also brought in for discussion panels and to view all productions.

“Our students come back year after year. They are still learning and having fun, and we keep challenging them with new material and opportunities.” says Moody.