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Create, Perform and Explore

ACT offers 7 pathways from which students can choose: Acting, Creative Writing, Dance, Interdisciplinary Arts & Management, Media Arts, Music and Technical Theater (sets, lighting, costuming). Each pathway has its own required program courses in addition to graduation requirements. These pathways give students a chance to focus on an area of interest with purpose and intent.

Our students come to ACT because they share an interest in the performing arts. Creating, performing, and responding to works of art gives students a greater understanding of the relationships among their learning experiences; they gain an aesthetic appreciation of the arts and world cultures, even as they explore real-world applications of their learning.


Students study voice and diction to develop International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) diction and 
articulation for performance. Basic acting theory and technique are introduced, as well as researching and performing scenes from a variety of periods and theatrical styles. Movement for stage, character analysis, and stage make-up are other areas students explore. Musical Instruction is provided through A Capella, Musical Theater classes, Beginning Singing and Performance Singing.

Creative Writing

Students practice writing across a wide range of literary genres including poetry, fiction, drama, creative nonfiction, and SLAM.
  Students develop the critical skills to analyze and evaluate literature as writers, and workshop with their peers. Writers support theater, dance, and video performances for writing for stage and screen.Students present their work through Coffee House performances, poetry readings, writing contests, and publications.

Over the years, dozens of ACT students have garnered awards and recognition for their creative writing, for both prose and poetry, in prestigious contests like the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards; “Fresh Voices” (part of the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival); New England Young Writers’ Conference (“Bread Loaf” program) at Middlebury College; the Connecticut Student Writers magazine; and the Connecticut Young Writers Trust competition.


Students study multiple styles of dance including Ballet, Jazz, Modern, Hip Hop, Tap, Latin and Contemporary. Emphasis is placed on choreographic principles throughout several classes that allow students to create and perform their own choreography. Dance students work collaboratively with other departments to become aware of how lighting, sets, and costumes enhance dance. 
Multiple performance opportunities are available, including community functions like Third Thursday, Student Dance Company Showcase, and DanceFest.

Integrated Arts & Management

The purpose of the Integrated Arts & Management track is to provide students with an opportunity to create and explore art that exists outside of a single genre and learn how to integrate creativity with real-world management skills. This track engages students in this work by exploring the creative process in general, engaging in critical analysis, working with a cross-cultural lens, and collaborating on community projects. Integrated Arts & Management helps students develop skills in generative follow through, creative problem solving, critical thinking, global understanding, and inter and intrapersonal communication. These skills can be applied to future careers such as Art Direction, Production Management, and Curation, along with careers in Community Organizing, Outreach Programs, and Small Business/Non-Profit Management.

Media Arts

Students utilize state-of-the-art cameras and editing software to produce, film, and edit their own videos. Media Arts students have the opportunity to create commercials, PSA’s and documentaries for local businesses and community members and present all of their hard work at least twice a year during VideoFest (open to the public). In addition, Media Arts students study audio production, Photoshop, animation, video game design, and music editing/creation through GarageBand.


Students gain a deep understanding of music theory, sight-singing, and composition 
by exploring music from a variety of time periods and genres. Confidence in performance skills is gained through continuous feedback from peers and faculty. Performance opportunities include the annual Prism Concert, salons and competitions.

Technical Theater

Students study the ‘behind-the-scenes’ work necessary for successful, effective theater in classes that include Set Design and Construction, Lighting Design, Science Painting, Stage Management, Costume Design, Costume Construction, Costume Art and History of Costume. Professional technology is used in our fully equipped scene shop, costume shop, and theater. Technical Theater students are directly involved with every production at ACT, whether it’s running lights, building sets, stage managing, design and construction costumes or making props. Students are able to collaborate with all other arts areas to enhance the quality of performances.

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