Palace Theatre debuts newest youth program: The Palace Academy

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Palace Youth Academy students took the stage Nov. 28.  Jeff Shaw Photography

MANCHESTER, NH – Palace Youth Theatre students took to the stage on Sunday to showcase the newest branch of PYT – The Palace Academy. This expansion of the Palace Youth Theatre offers comprehensive weekly dance, voice, and acting training for students ages 3 to adult. The showcase, held at the Rex Theatre, was a culmination of the 12-week Academy dance classes.

Students of all ages performed their carefully practiced dance routines for over 200 enthusiastic audience members. The 3-to-5-year-old “Intro to Dance” class bopped in brightly colored tutus and matching hair bows. Palace teenagers threw confident jazz hands and smiled big under their masks. Adult tappers donned sequin tops and executed the “Shim Sham” alongside their new dance community. After each number, the performers were congratulated with enthusiastic applause from family, hoots from friends, and standing ovations from their Academy classmates watching from the balcony.

A star is born at Palace Theatre Academy’s fall showcase performance.  Jeff Shaw Photography

Among the spirited performers was Allison Callaghan, a high school senior who has recently found a home in PYT. This past semester, Allison enrolled in five dance classes at the Academy. She discussed her recent involvement in Palace Youth Theatre saying, “I first became involved with PYT when I heard about James and the Giant Peach Jr. auditions. I had heard about the great work of the Palace and wanted to audition before I graduated. I fell in love with the Palace and knew that this was the place for me to stay.”

For Allison, involvement in PYT is a training ground for her future and a community to lean on.

“I want to pursue theatre and performing in my life once I graduate. I keep coming back to the Palace for the teachers, directors, and especially my peers who have become my family,” she said.

Young actors and singers getting their stage legs during the fall Palace Youth Academy showcase.  Jeff Shaw Photography

“One way I have seen myself change during my time here has been in my sense of professionalism… being at the Palace has revealed new ways for me to show my directors and peers that I am a reliable performer and to show myself that I am a strong asset heading into the professional world,” Allison said.

This renewed sense of confidence and self-worth is a common product of involvement in PYT programs.

Sebastian Goldberg, the Director of the Palace Dance Academy deemed this showcase a great success.

“This was our very first dance showcase for the Palace Academy, and was already such a great event, so I can’t wait to keep the momentum going! It’s been exciting to witness the growth of these students in their dance technique in just 12 weeks.”

Fall showcase featuring performers participating in the Palace Youth Academy.  Jeff Shaw Photography

About the Palace Academy

For years, the Palace Youth Theatre has offered top-notch theatre training for students in Southern New Hampshire and beyond. PYT serves upwards of 750 students each year. After announcing plans for expansion last June, PYT launched the Palace Academy at the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year. A wide range of Dance, Acting, and Vocal classes now fill the rooms at Forever Emma Studios, home of the Palace Youth Theatre. 

The PYT team has been excited and encouraged by the early success of the Academy. Director of Youth Theatre, Megan Quinn noted that “the Academy can offer even more opportunities for new and experienced youth performers. Our students who plan to pursue a career in the Performing Arts will be set up for success. Not only can our students receive top-notch training and experience through their participation in a mainstage show, they can also now get all of their training in one place. For students looking for a taste of the Performing Arts, these classes provide low commitment opportunities to try something new. We have a number of new students enrolled and we have been so excited to see new faces in dance and acting classes.”


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The Palace Theatre

The Palace Theatres is a non-profit performing arts center that hosts its own professional company, youth, and teen programs as well as presenting acts and includes The Rex Theatre, The Spotlight Room and Forever Emma Studios, home of Palace Youth Theatre educational programming. The Palace is also a Manchester Ink Link Community Advertising Partner which helps strengthen community and sustain local independent news.