Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Compass Creative Dramatics (CCD) Theater Residency?

A CCD residency is a week-long theater program that involves daily rehearsals and workshops taught by a team of two professional actors/educators. By the end of the week, participants will be ready to perform a musical adaptation of a classic children’s story.

What are some benefits of a Compass Creative Dramatics residency for my child?

The CCD residency is a great opportunity to make new friends and be part of a collaborative artistic process. Participants will learn first-hand the value of teamwork while being inspired to take ownership and pride in their own ideas and capabilities.
CCD programming encourages imagination and critical thinking, providing a safe environment in which kids can take healthy risks and explore their strengths and weaknesses. Participants will learn how to turn limitations into assets.
Participants have an opportunity to grow as actors and learn more about the dramatic process through engagement in a series of theater enrichment workshops (see FAQ on Workshops).

Who are the CCD teaching artists?

CCD teaching artists are Chicago-based actors, directors, stage combatants, playwrights, and other theatre professionals. They also have years of experience in education as teachers, camp counselors, tutors, etc. CCD is dedicated to assembling teams of teaching artists who are just as passionate about children and education as they are about the work they do onstage – artists who are not only able to provide children and families with a nurturing and engaging educational environment, but who teach by example so that participating children can, in turn, learn to lead by example.

How does the play get cast?

CCD artists will meet the participants on the first day of the residency. There will be introductions, followed by a “warm-up” acting workshop. A simple no-pressure group audition will follow, and by lunch time, all participants will be cast in their roles! CCD artists are pros at quickly assessing strengths and assets in auditions and casting participants accordingly. Each child will have an important role in the show and an opportunity to shine and grow during the week!

Should participants prepare anything for auditions?

Nope! CCD artists will direct an easy step-by-step group audition that is ideal for observing participants’ comfort with basic lines, movement, and singing, as well as attitude and behavior. Participants are encouraged to be loud when it is their turn, and quiet and actively listening when it is not, AND to have fun with all the activities!

My child is shy. How will the theater residency help my child? Will he/she feel comfortable?

One of the strengths of the CCD team lies in assessing each child’s comfort levels and building from there. The program has been developed to give each participant a support network onstage and off. They work in groups and are supported onstage by the other members of the cast, as well as by the two adult actor/educators who will perform alongside them. This level of teamwork usually helps alleviate most participants’ initial fears and concerns. It encourages participants both to feel safe and to grow throughout the week. While they don’t promise to erase all stage fright from participants, CCD has a great track record of helping shy kids find their voice and become more comfortable in their skin.

My child has never been in a play, is that okay?

Absolutely! This program is designed to be customized and flexible to suit a wide variety of ages, experience levels, and talents. This is a great way for your child to have a fantastic week-long immersion in theater. CCD adjusts the teaching and guidance as well as the level of difficulty for each participant, which means your child won’t feel left out or look out of place, even if this is their first time!

My child is a veteran of the stage. Is this program still right for him/her?

Since this program is designed to be customized and flexible to a wide variety of ages, experience, and talents, the educators are able to adjust the teaching and guidance as well as the level of difficulty for each participant, which means even if you have a budding star on your hands, they’ll be glad to help nurture your child, challenge them to further growth, and give them another wonderful theatrical experience.

What workshops are included during the CCD Residency?

CCD will conduct theater enrichment workshops (outside of show rehearsals) that will allow participants to explore a wide range of theater topics such as Improv, Stage Combat, Musical Theater, and Shakespeare! These workshops run 45-50 minutes and are built into the daily camp schedule.

If my child is not available for the entire week or would need to miss the performance, can he/she still enroll in the residency?

Because of the very collaborative nature of the CCD program, full participation is required. If your child will have other commitments during residency week that will conflict with the daily schedule, it is recommended that you not enroll your child.

What does my family need to provide for the week?

For the whole week (including Saturday):

  • Pack a healthy snack and lunch for your child to bring each day to camp. Please do not plan to make food deliveries during the day. Snack should be something that can easily be consumed in a 10-15 minute break, and lunch during a 20 minute break.
  • A water bottle. It is important that participants are able to stay well-hydrated during rehearsal. The Paramount has several water fountains.
  • Comfortable clothes. Participants will be up dancing and moving a lot and it is important that participants dress accordingly. For safety reasons, CCD requests that participants only wear shoes with closed toes and heel. No flip-flops or sandals, please.

On Friday: 

  • Paper grocery bag. CCD requests that everyone bring a large brown paper grocery bag with their name and character name written on them. This will be their storage bag for when they are not in costume on Friday. (There will be a dress rehearsal on Friday.)
  • Neutral colored t-shirt/tank top and shorts and closed toe/heel shoes. Though CCD provides the costumes, they request that participants have a specific outfit to wear under their costume that is solid & neutral-colored (i.e. no pictures, writing, polk-a-dots etc). This should be a separate outfit that is brought with them in their grocery bag. These clothes will stay overnight in their bag with their costume for Saturday’s performances.

What about Parking for Drop Off/Pick Up?

Parking options include:

  • Water Street Parking Garage: The first level is off limits for long-term parkers, and at least for drop off, there should be plenty of open spots on this level. The Paramount does not stamp parking stubs.
  • Metered lot on Water Street (just down from Main Street Arena): There are usually plenty of open spots during morning hours.
  • Street parking (free): This is easier to find in the morning for camp drop off, but more challenging for camp pick up.

With all scenarios, please allow plenty of time to arrive at The Paramount 10-15 minutes before the start of camp day. For children 12 and older, parents/guardians may sign a permission slip on the first day of camp for their child to be dropped off / picked up on a side street (ideal side street is 2nd & Market or 3rd & Water).