Spotlight On: Acting Up!

Six years ago, we began with one acting class and one dance class covering ages 5-18. It’s hard to believe that we now have over 50 classes in so many different areas of the arts. This post focuses on the acting options that we are offering this year. Our Acting Department classes are designed for students to learn the basics of acting, improvisation, and character study techniques. Without the pressure of a production, they are free to have fun and explore wonderful material, building confidence and gaining teamwork skills along the way. Beginners will feel welcomed and encouraged while more advanced students will be challenged and inspired. If students are looking for a full-scale production, we offer our annual MainStage production (this year’s production of “Newsies” is now closed due to over-enrollment!) and Junior Production. 


Here’s detailed info about our acting classes. Most of these are more than halfway full, so grab your spot today…!

Swinging Thru History

This class, an AWIP favorite, will take your child on a journey to the past through song, improv, rap, rhyme and even portraiture. We will study noteworthy figures in history and learn from their greatness or their mistakes. Students will gain confidence through being part of a collaboration while gaining knowledge that sticks about historical figures. This session will feature new historical figures for our returning students, including Pablo Picasso, Napoleon Bonaparte, Teddy Roosevelt, and William Shakespeare! This class brings history to life as we swing back in time and culminate with a showcase for family at end of session! Led by four times published children’s author, trained actor and mom, Nicole Cannella.

Swinging Thru Science

This class, co-taught by Melissa Wiese–brain surgery survivor, ultra sound technician and homeschool mom– alongside Nicole Cannella –children’s author and actor– will be the best of both worlds… or left and right brain, if you will! On one side, your child will learn from Miss Wiese about 8 pertinent parts of the brain and heart: their location and function through diagrams and drawings, while on the other, sing short songs about each part to ensure memorization in a fun and engaging way! We will get to the bottom of those parts of the brain and heart through music, art, and fun. Sure to be a “memorable” class! Click here to learn more about the instructors.

Back to the (Acting) Basics

In this exciting new class, students will learn the basics of creating a character, using stage directions and blocking, vocal projection, and developing stage presence. Material will be chosen from classic plays and literature, as well as modern screenplays. Students will also learn basic film, commercial, and auditioning skills, culminating in an overall knowledge of all areas of the acting craft. Taught by Nicole Cannella.

A Dramatic Presentation of “The Secret Garden”

Over the years, our Staged Readings have slowly become more than a staged reading.  This year, we are calling it a Dramatic Presentation as a nod to the fact that it is more than a staged reading, yet the concept of keeping the production simple will still be emphasized. A simple presentation offers students the chance to explore classic material without the pressure of a fully staged production. Without the distraction that extravagant sets, costumes, and choreography often brings, students can focus on diving into the complex characters presented in the text, work through scenes to gain a better understanding of the characters’ motivations, and try something new. It also gives beginning actors a chance to have a lead role, while experienced actors have the opportunity to tackle well-known works to add to their repertoire. In this class, we not only create and craft, we become like a family as we grow in confidence, theatre terminology knowledge, classic literature appreciation and stage presence. Taught by Nicole Cannella.

Meet the Instructors

Nicole Cannella

Nicole received her Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature and Theatre from Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts. She has worked as an actor and teacher and looked forward to becoming a writer of children’s books to combine her passion for the arts and education – which culminated in her first book being published, called “The RibbitExhibit.”She has taught acting and theatre at the YMCA, with Drama Kids International Academy, and her own “Hulabaloo and Hodgepodge Too,” which is an all-girls course combining theatre arts with history, poetry, and more. She has also taught master classes at John Robert Powers. She has acted in many professional productions, including “Steel Magnolias,” “Picasso at the Lapin Agile,” “Dancing at Lughnasa” and many more. Her film experience includes  “Me, Myself and Irene,” “Strikingly Single,” and “The Union,”as well as many commercials (Harley Davidson, Countrywide Bank, Dunkin Donuts, and Cinemax to name a few). She most recently co-wrote the acclaimed “Leaving a Mark” children’s book with Dorian Murray, also known as #DStrong. Her most valued role is that of mother of three children; Nicholas, Olivia and Noelle. Raising them with her husband Jay has been one of her life’s greatest accomplishments.


(we will have information on Melissa Wiese soon!)


For more information about these classes, and to register, click here for the department page, or these links, below, for the individual classes!


To see all of the other class options we are offering, click here!


As always, if you have any questions, feel free to contact us!



Jennifer Roca for all of us at AWIP

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