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CharacterWorks (CWorks) is a non-profit 501(c)3 after-school youth theater program offering classes, camps and productions for students age 4-19 years old. CharacterWorks started in Richmond in 2001 as an affiliate of Christian Youth Theater (CYT, Inc in San Diego, CA), and became an independent youth theater company in July 2013.
The main mission of CharacterWorks is to build Christian character on and off the stage through dynamic classes, camps, and shows. CWorks is committed to providing excellent training in theater arts, as well as producing professional, Broadway-style musicals that are appropriate for Richmond families. We believe in pursuing the highest standards of quality in all that we do because we believe that best reflects the God we serve. We are also committed to encouraging kids to grow in their faith and honor God with the talents that He gave them. Through we are a Christian organization, we are not affiliated with a church body, and people of all faiths are welcome.
Because CharacterWorks does not own facilities for classes and productions, the organization rents classrooms and stages from local churches, schools and theaters in the Richmond community. CWorks currently has classes at Gayton Baptist Church and KingsWay Community Church, and the shows rotate between the stunning theaters at The Steward School, Collegiate School, Tomahawk Creek Middle School, and The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen. CharacterWorks also rents a 16,000 square foot warehouse in Richmond now known as the "Factory" (plus an additional 11,000 square foot space) for set, prop and costume construction and storage. After 13 years and almost 60 shows, there are a lot of amazing sets, props, and costumes available for the community and other theater groups to rent.
CharacterWorks currently has classes and shows on both the West End and Southside of Richmond. Every school year, CWorks offers three 9-week sessions (fall, winter, spring) of after-school theater arts classes for kids 4-19. There are always a variety of classes in drama, music, dance, production and specialty theater arts to choose from. Those students ages 8-19 who are enrolled in class are eligible to audition for one of the main stage musical productions that we produce the session that they are enrolled. Currently 2 musicals are produced each session, totaling 6 or 7 per year (including our every-other-year Masters Camp show). Parents of the students in each production sign-up to work on a production committee team that works to construct sets, costumes, props and souvenirs, as well as run the backstage and the lobby areas. Students can also volunteer to work on a production crew or intern on the Artistic Team. Each production is the result of an amazing collaboration of directors, designers, students, parents, and teachers!
Financial assistance or partial scholarships are available for those in need, and sibling discounts are available to families for class tuition. Email Donna@CWorksTheater.org with questions regarding the availability of a scholarship.
Three 9-week sessions are offered during the school year (fall, winter and spring.) Children ages 4-19 may select one theater class per session. The cost for a session is currently $215 per student. A $25 sibling discount is offered (second child $190, third child $165, etc.) The tuition will include a class t-shirt and weekly snacks each session.
A wide variety of classes are offered (core classes in drama, voice, and dance, plus specialty classes which vary from session to session). Small class environments (usually 12-14 students) with adequate supervision are utilized both inside the classroom (teacher) and outside the classroom (class coordinator). Each class lasts for two-hours and runs for 9 weeks. During the last class week, a high-energy "SHOWCASE" is presented by each class for the other students as well as family and friends. Every student participates in the showcase.
Classes currently meet 3 different nights in the Richmond area: Mondays at KingsWay Community Church (Midlothian), Tuesdays at Gayton Baptist Church (West End) and Thursdays at Gayton Baptist Church (West End).
Six or seven Broadway-style musical are produced for the community each season. Musicals for the 2014 - 2015 Richmond season include TOM SAWYER (Oct), SHREK (Nov), Disney's ALADDIN (Feb), FIDDLER ON THE ROOF (March), A LITTLE PRINCESS (May), AND CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG (June).
Enrollment in class provides students (ages 8-19) the opportunity to audition for one of the current productions that session. Approximately 70-85 students are cast in each musical production. A $225 per child production fee covers miscellaneous production-related expenses including a show t-shirt. Optional expenses include a makeup kit.
Students not cast in the show are encouraged to participate in the production in other ways. Depending on age and ability, students (and siblings) can participate on the backstage crew, technical team, or the costume and make-up committees. Students may also choose to work at the concession stands or help usher.
CharacterWorks is a family oriented organization dedicated to providing entertaining activities which can involve the entire family. As such, at least one parent of each student cast in the production must serve on both a pre-show and a show-week Production Committee. Without the support of parents, we could not produce high-quality community shows. Parents are the backbone of our organization!
SUMMER DAY CAMPS
Week-long musical theater summer day camps are offered in several locations around the Richmond area. The cost for summer day camp is $230 per child and includes a camp t-shirt plus daily snacks. Staff includes professionals from our production teams and alumni students. Camps are offered for ages 6-13. Team competitions, rotations through daily drama, dance, music, and craft workshops, a daily theme-related devotional, and an impressive concluding SHOWCASE for family and friends are what our Summer Day Camps are all about!
MASTERS CAMP FOR TEENS
(Offered every other year - next time will be summer 2016)
Masters Camp is a 2 1/2 week summer performing arts camp for ages 14-19. Students enrolled in our Teen Masters Camp will be exposed to all aspects of theater (sets, props, costumes, makeup, & tech) in addition to performing a full-length musical production. Camp will be held in the summer with 6 main stage performances for the community the final weekend. The cost for the camp and production (which includes an overnight at Camp Hanover) is $500. Past Masters Camps have been LES MISERABLES School Edition (summer 2008), HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL 2 On Stage! (summer 2010), JOSEPH & THE AMAZING TECHINICOLOR DREAMCOAT (summer 2012), and FOOTLOOSE (summer 2014). There is no experience like Teen Masters Camp!
TEEN OVERNIGHT CAMP
(Offered every other year)
In summer 2013, we took a large group of students( ages 14-19) back to CrossRoads Camp & Conference Center in the mountains between Charlottesville and Lynchburg (Lowesville, VA) for our overnight performance, workshop, and spiritual emphasis camp! Don't miss out on this every-other-year-event (rotates with in-town Masters Camp.) Students must provide their own transportation to CrossRoads. Total cost for the 5 day - 4 night camp in August 2015 will be $425.