High school students recently completed The Summer Theatre of New Canaan’s High School Theatre Intensive Program. This educational program is designed to give a new understanding of ensemble building and personal discovery, as well as the tools necessary to be both strong actors and informed theater artists.

For the past nine years, the Summer Theatre of New Canaan has offered a Pre-College Summer Theatre Acting Intensive for high school students entering 10th-, 11th- or 12th grades. The students receive a theatrical immersion of classes, workshops and training for 30-plus hours per week in a variety of performing arts. Professional theater artists including working actors, designers, directors, music directors, technical directors, choreographers, stage managers and puppeteers teach classes, offer master classes and workshops.

This year’s professional teaching artists included, Emmy Award winning actress Anna Holbrook (acting), Harvard’s American Repertory theater’s resident director Allegra Libonati (directing), Professional clown Kevin McGuire (clowning), Musical theater dance artist Rachel Myers (Broadway’s “Mamma Mia” dance workshop), Chicago actress Ella Raymont (Shakespeare), Broadway show fight director Dan Renkin (stage combat), music director Simon Riker (music), Broadway actor Arbender Robinson (musical theater performance), Comedia and Le Coq mime artist Omen Sade (Le Coq physical acting/mime technique), New York Choreographer Doug Shankman (dance styles) and Broadway Actress and cabaret artist Jodi Stevens (voice). The students also took a trip to New York City to see Arbender Robinson in “Les Miserables” on Broadway and were given a backstage tour.

At the end of the session, the students created a performance of what they learned, which they performed for family and friends. The performance included monologues, scenes, fights and songs.

The theater intensive students were also invited to attend all of STONC’s summer productions, main stage musical “Legally Blonde” and their theater for a young audience shows and encouraged (on weekends) to take on apprenticeships assisting our house staff in box office, concessions and house management as well as our technical/creative staff in back stage, costumes and stage management.

“High school and college theater programs can be very competitive” explained Melody Meitrott Libonati, artistic director of the Summer Theatre of New Canaan, who created the high school acting program. “We strive to make this program one that celebrates each student’s successes and gives them the opportunity to learn, experiment, explore and discover their creative selves in an atmosphere that is collaborative, supportive and nurturing.”

Next year’s High School Theater Intensive will begin registration in January. The three-week session will be from June 27 to July 15. For more information contact the education program at Summer theater of New Canaan, 203-966-4634, http://stonc.org

Chicago actress Ella Raymont (Education Coordinator), theater Director Allegra Libonati, High School theater intensive students Sarah Russo, Will Dooley and Caroline Castle.