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It will be a great summer this year with KidsAct!

This six-day learning experience for students entering grades 1-8 offers instruction in Shakespeare, stage combat, dance, and comedic improvisation from highly qualified, professional teaching artists. Students then perform in an hour-long showcase to be presented for friends and family in Starr Jaycee Park.

KidsAct! returns for the 2019 season July 29-August 3, 2019 with the showcase performance on August 3 at 11am.

Register Online

Download KidsAct Registration Form 2019.

Healthy snacks and water are provided daily; however KidsAct! will not provide lunch. Be advised that this summer’s KidsAct! Program will again be nut free. It is suggested that each student bring a lunch packed with a beverage, insect repellent, and sun block. Loose, comfortable clothing appropriate to the weather, including a hat, is also recommended. For the comfort and safety of your student, we ask that NO Crocs, clogs or flip-flops be worn. Sturdy shoes that buckle or tie are required.

For the final performance, the students will be asked to wear black or navy blue pants, shorts, or skirts (no jeans, please!) Also, each student should wear a bright, solid-colored shirt free of logos or designs, along with dark colored, laced or buckled soft-soled shoes.

KidsAct! will take place July 29-August 3, 2019 with the showcase performance on August 3 at 11am (students must arrive at the park by 10:00 a.m.). Drop off during the week begins at 8:30 a.m.; classes begin promptly at 9:00 a.m. and pick up time is 3:00 p.m.

Register Online

Download KidsAct Registration Form 2019.

We are so thrilled to work with your young performers this summer! Please feel free to email Education Director Patrick Nelson Hanley, at with any and all questions.

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Patrick Nelson Hanley, Director of Education, is back for another exciting summer with Water Works Theatre Company. You have surely seen him around the park both directing and choreographing fights for the Teen Ensemble‘s Romeo and Juliet, The Tempest, Hamlet, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, as well as working with the KidsAct! program. Patrick has also taken on the role of Production Manager for Detroit Public Theatre’s fourth season and continues to teach Shakespeare performance and stage combat with DPT’s “Shakespeare in Prison” program. He holds a BFA in Acting from Wayne State University; selective performance and stage management credits include Matrix Theatre Company, Shakespeare in Detroit, the Elizabeth Theatre at the Park Bar, and numerous productions with Planet Ant Theatre.

Andrew Morton is an award-winning playwright and theatre-artist based in Detroit. Originally from the UK, Andrew has an MA in Cross-sectoral and Community Arts from Goldsmiths College-The University of London. He currently teaches theatre at the University of Michigan-Flint and is a project manager for TimeSlips, an award-winning international non-profit that promotes creative engagement techniques for people living with Dementia and memory loss. Andrew also serves as the Region III Chair of the National Playwriting Program for the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival and works as a teaching artist and facilitator with a variety of social service and arts organizations throughout South East Michigan, including The Ruth Ellis Center, The Ennis Center for Children, UMS (University Musical Society), and Water Works Theatre Company. His play Bloom has been produced across the US and internationally, and is available through Dramatic Publishing, Inc.

Alexis Barrera is excited to join the Waterworks leadership team for her second summer. She is currently studying at Aloft Circus Arts in Chicago. With her background in theatre she aspires to combine the two disciplines in the hopes of producing dynamic, interesting and forward-thinking physical theatre performances. Some of her past roles as a performer include Cassandra in Open Book Theatre’s production of Vanya, and Sonya, and Masha, and Spike, as well as Jenny June in the Planet Ant’s production of Failure: A Love Story. She would like to thank her family for the constant love and support in all her crazy dreams, and Patrick for taking another chance on this converted circus freak and inviting her again to join the Waterworks youth program team. This is going to be a great summer!!!!

Frequently Asked Questions

General Program Questions:

Where exactly are the programs held?
Starr Jaycee Park is located on 13 Mile Road between Main and Crooks. Student drop-off and pick-up will occur in the central parking area by the main sign.

What if I need to get a message to my child during camp? How can I reach someone in the park?
Program Director Patrick Nelson Hanley will ALWAYS have his cell phone on during program hours. Go ahead and program (248) 571-1751 into your phone; he will always be available to you for any questions or problems.

What do we do if it looks like rain?
We have a rain location for heavy forecasts. It is Starr Presbyterian Church, located at the corner of 13 Mile Road and Crooks Road. If rain is likely, a teacher or member of the Water Works staff will contact you either the night before or the morning of classes to notify you of any location change.

What if it starts to rain in the middle of the day?
There IS a sheltered area at Starr Jaycee Park, so don’t worry. If the rain fails to pass over, we may contact parents by phone to pick their students up early. If Patrick doesn’t already have your contact numbers, make sure you give them to him the first day of the program. Make sure you have an emergency contact listed so that we can reach someone at all times.

KidsAct! Questions:

When do the students have their show?
The last day of camp, Saturday, August 4, at 11:00 a.m. The students will perform in Starr Jaycee Park on the same stage as the professional actors!

Do we need to reserve seats for the students’ performance?
No, there’s room for all your family and friends! Bring blankets, cameras, cushions, or short backed chairs for seating. Bug spray is recommended. Bleacher seating is also available.

What does my child need to wear for the performance?
Solid colored shirts (NO logos, please) with black or dark blue pants or shorts. Shoes should be sturdy and have either laces or buckles to close. KidsAct! Is a very active program; for your child’s safety we DO NOT allow bare feet, Crocs, flip flops, clogs, or other “slip-on” shoes. This rule applies for the entirety of the program.

Water Works Teen Ensemble Questions:

How can my family and friends see the show?
Each participating student will be given 8 complimentary tickets to distribute as they choose. Tickets will be sold to performances on a pay-what-you-can basis, with $5 being the suggested donation. Parents volunteering for hospitality and box office before each performance need not pay for a ticket or use one of the provided comps.

What will rehearsals be like?
In the first week, we’ll spend some time getting to know each other the script, and we’ll begin staging, likely on the second day of rehearsal. The rest of the first week will be focused on blocking, character work, and dance and fight choreography. In the second week, our days will be structured so that we neither burn out nor get bored • we’ll do advanced scene work as we put our show together, taking it scene by scene and building it into a full production. There will be plenty of time to review both movement and lines. By Friday (if not sooner), we’ll be able to run our show all the way through at least twice with all technical elements so that students are prepared for their performances. In an ensemble approach, even students who are not in a particular scene will have ample input into its staging, and there are virtually limitless possibilities in terms of casting and stage time for everyone.

What will non-actors be doing during this program?
Students interested in directing, stage managing, and design (costumes, props, sound) will have opportunities not only to shadow professionals as they work but will be asked to take initiative in their area of interest to actively contribute to the process and production.

What do we need to bring to rehearsals?
Healthy snacks and water are provided daily in the second week; however, Water Works Youth Ensemble will not provide lunch. Be advised that this summer’s program will be nut free. It is suggested that each student bring a lunch packed with a beverage, insect repellent, and sun block. Loose, comfortable clothing appropriate to the weather, including a hat, is also recommended. For the comfort and safety of your student, we ask that NO Crocs, clogs or flip-flops be worn; sturdy shoes that buckle or tie are required.

What are the requirements for auditions?
Students are asked to memorize one Shakespearean monologue (1-2 minutes long) for their auditions. There will also be a free audition workshop on June 9th that students are welcome to attend. No headshots or resumes are required!

If you are planning to attend the workshop or to schedule an audition time, email:

Please note: Students who are interested in design and wish to attend auditions as part of their process need not perform a monologue. Please contact me for more information!

Will there be costumes? What will they be like?
The ensemble will determine what costumes are necessary for our telling of this story, and parents/guardians should rest assured that they will not need to buy anything that cannot be pulled from closets!

Do you still have questions? Feel free to call Patrick or email him at See you in the park!