Young Actors Studio FAQs
Are there scholarships available?
Yes! We offer scholarships for our spring and fall semester-long classes and our summer day camps. Applicants are considered according to financial need, prior history with Saltworks, effort shown in filling out the application, and overall amount given to a family. Fifty percent of the class or camp fee is the maximum amount given. Scholarship applications are due two weeks prior to class along with a $25 registration deposit to hold the student’s place. Please click here for further information and for scholarship application forms, or feel free to contact us for more info or forms.
Where are you located?
Saltworks’ offices are located in Church of the Ascension, 569 N. Neville St. in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh, PA. We hold classes and camps in the rooms around our offices. We also hold classes in the North Hills at Christ Church at Grove Farm in Sewickley.
Is the Young Actors Studio a highly competitive environment?
No! Something unique about our program compared to many others in Pittsburgh is that every student gets a part and a chance to stand out at Saltworks. We are sure to highlight each child’s talents and challenge them to build new strengths. Though we do expect our students to work hard and earn the parts they receive, casting is always a low-stress process no matter if it’s for today’s scene study or this year’s big musical. Students in the Young Actors Studio learn to value a strong ensemble rather than over-emphasizing starring roles. Our teachers always take attitude, teamwork, and enthusiasm into account as much as talent.
My child has a physical/mental/social/emotional disability. Will the Young Actors Studio be a good place for them?
Only you and your child can know whether a certain type of activity or location will be appropriate for them. However, we have had a number of students with a range of different disabilities who have all thrived at Saltworks. We approach each student with the mindset that everyone can do everything and then make adjustments as necessary. All of our locations are handicap accessible. Saltworks can be a noisy, seemingly chaotic, joyously wild place at times and that is something that cannot be changed. The Young Actors Studio might not be the right place for everyone but everyone is welcome.
Is Saltworks a Christian theater company?
The most important thing to emphasize is that everyone is welcome at Saltworks! Kids of many faiths and creeds have happily been students at Saltworks and it is honestly a non-issue. Saltworks was founded in 1981 on the guiding principles behind many religions; things like caring for others, being positive about situations, and always giving your best self. These are the values that influence the foundation of our classes. Saltworks’ mission is to educate, challenge, and inspire students to make positive choices both on and off the stage and we endeavor to nourish children’s spirits through the magic of theater and the experience of performing. We do not pray with our students, talk about the Bible in classes or ever expect our students to make any pronouncements of faith.
What if I’ve never acted before?
Then Saltworks will be a great place for you! We pride ourselves on making sure that all of our classes are appropriate for students of all levels of experience and commitment to theater. Our teachers are all equipped to work with students who maybe need extra support or a greater challenge.
Who teaches at Saltworks?
Our teachers are all theater professionals who love to teach their craft! We look for a very special kind of enthusiastic, positive person to teach at Saltworks, so we frequently have teachers return year after year for our classes and camps. We are also lucky to have many alumni come back to teach or assist every year. All of our instructors have their necessary clearances.
Will I be in a class with people my own age?
In our Summer Studio day camps, definitely! During our semester-long classes in the spring and autumn, we always endeavor to put students with people near their age but, at the same time, the size of the class dictates whether or not we are able to split classes into age groups so sometimes a 9 year old will be with a 16 year old (or a 4 year old with an 8 year old). A mixed-age class is an excellent experience, though! We always encourage our students to learn from and support each other during class so it can be wonderful to have people of different ages contributing to one learning environment.
How many students are in a class?
At the Young Actors Studio, we always aim to have, at the most, a 1-10 teacher/student ratio. This is because we believe that having a lot of one-on-one time with our students leads to more successful experiences all around.
Do you offer performance opportunities?
Yes! We put on one or two full-length productions every year. To participate in our shows, you need to have taken at least a full semester of classes or a week of summer camp within the year. There is an audition involved but everyone who registers for the show gets a part! There is also a sharing presentation for parents and family on the last class of each semester and on Fridays during Summer Studio.
How long are classes?
During our spring and fall semester-long classes, students meet once a week for 8 weeks. For 4-8 year olds (or “Saltines”) class is an hour long, 9-16 year olds meet for an hour and a half, and our Young Actors Ensemble meets for two and a half hours. During our Summer Studio day camp, we meet Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. for 9-16 year olds and from 9:00 a.m. to 12 Noon for the Saltines.
What is the Young Actors Ensemble? How do I become a part of it?
The Young Actors Ensemble (or YAE) is a group of 14-18 year old Saltworks students who are ready to commit more time and energy to studying theater and are great examples of the principles of the Young Actors Studio. The projects the YAE works on are more involved than those in the regular 9-16 year old classes, such as devising their own piece of theater or working on a full-length production, and they end the semester by touring their work to local schools or theater festivals, such as the International Children’s Theater Festival. Students must have taken either a semester of class or a week of Summer Studio to be eligible and must audition for the group’s instructor before being accepted.
I see you’re a non-profit so where does my child’s class fee go?
First and foremost, it is used to pay our teachers and assistants! Teaching can be a great way for creative professionals to make a rewarding living in their field and we are so happy to support some of Pittsburgh’s theatrical set in this way. Whatever is left over from that goes towards class materials, then to support Saltworks Theatre Company’s school tour (which you can learn more about here) and then to help Saltworks with general upkeep as a business.