St. Johns Stage summer programs foster passion for performing arts


St. Johns Stage is preparing for the second weekend of its spring showcase, “The Secret Garden The Musical,” which will be held April 15 and 16 with performances at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. both days.

Seats can be reserved for the shows by going to

The production is just the latest example of the many ways St. Johns Stage goes about educating and developing a passion for theater in students from kindergarten to seniors in high school.

As a result, all the performances done by the arts studio have casts made up entirely of children within its program, which also leads to the scripts used being children’s classic tales.

“For the performances, we turn half of the studio into a black box theater,” owner and director Mindy Dushane said.

There are a couple of plays being offered this summer for middle school and high school students in the area, with the unique twist of the students only getting one week to work on the play and perform it, but they will have the chance to then perform what they worked on at the Florida Theatre Conference where they will compete in a regional event.

Ages 10 to 14 (middle school) will be performing “The Taming of the Shoe,” while those in high school ages 14 to 18 will perform “Red Herring.”

The final audition will be held at the studio beginning April 8 beginning at 10 a.m. The cost for a student per week is $175 with a $15 registration fee.

“We try to have a variety of plays and musicals because we know that different kids prefer different things,” Dushane said.

Although the casts for the performances or to be part of the studio’s Thespian competition group is based off of auditions, there are plenty of other ways that children of any age or talent level are welcome to enjoy all that theater has to offer.

Summer classes are broken down into three levels, and are not so much determined by age as much as it is experience and where a child is in the learning process.

Classes will begin May 29 and go through July 28 with various classes being held each day of the week with start times no earlier than 4 p.m.

The range of styles taught include the likes of ballet, lyrical, contemporary, vocal and acting techniques, jazz, hip hop and tap.

A “Broadway basics” class will also be offered for those ages 3 to 5 years old just being introduced to theater and “skills for the independent actor,” for those looking to advance and build upon their acting skills.

There is a $15 registration fee per family required to take part in the classes, and families can register their children online by going to and clicking on the “summer programs & classes” tab.

“Here at St. Johns Stage, we’re all about making sure that every child who wants to, gets the opportunity to be included and express their creativity through the performing arts,” Dushane said. “We hope to kindle their passion for theater and the arts with our approach.”

St. Johns Stage