Columbia Center for Theatrical Arts, Inc. (Columbia, MD)

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Large ensemble cast, some seated, some standing, with a roseate sky in the background. singing

Columbia Center for Theatrical Arts's Teen Professional Theatre production of Aida. Photo by Kirstine M. Christiansen

The Columbia Center for Theatrical Arts (CCTA), founded in 1969, provides educational and entertaining theatrical experiences for students in the Maryland, Delaware, and Washington, DC region.  With more than 100 teachers, directors, writers, actors, musicians, technicians, and consultants, CCTA provides two main facets of programming: classes and productions.  CCTA's Conservatory consists of performance arts-based programming: The Young Columbians, a professional student performing troupe; Kids on Broadway musical theater classes; the CCTA Summer Arts Camps; and the Teen Professional Theatre.  CCTA's Theatrical Arts Productions produce and present five professional productions each school year, which relate to the school curriculum, reflect current social issues, and reinforce good values.

In FY 2005, CCTA received an NEA Summer Schools in the Arts grant of $35,000 for its Teen Professional Theatre, a partnership with Reservoir High School.  CCTA began auditioning students in the spring in anticipation of the summer's three-week intensive program.  In order to ensure diversity in ethnicity and talent, numerous auditions took place within a 50-mile radius of CCTA, and full and partial scholarships were provided to students in need. 

For 2005, 56 students (53 cast members and 3 stage crew members) participated in intensive workshops, one-on-one coaching sessions, ensemble rehearsals, and specialized instruction, culminating in five public performances of a student version of Aida. Surrounded by their talented peers, with professional artists teaching and mentoring them, participants were challenged and inspired to work as a team, to improve their theatrical knowledge and skills, and to develop self-confidence, discipline, determination, and poise -- skills which serve them well both on and off the stage.

(From the NEA 2005 Annual Report)