“The true purpose of Arts Education is…to create more complete human beings who are critical thinkers, who have curious minds, who can lead productive lives.” – Kelly Pollock, Arts Educator & Executive

At SteppingStone Theatre for Youth, we believe that

  • All young people are artists, makers and doers. 
  • They need to belong and to contribute to their world. 
  •  When young people make art together, they change themselves, and the world around them, for the better. 

So, we create art-making experiences with young people (and sometimes, their adults). 

Art-making experiences with SteppingStone are rich, sometimes messy, collaborative processes from the first “name game” through the final sharing for family and friends. Young people who experience high-quality Arts Learning opportunities strengthen their ability to hone crucial life-skills in critical thinking, social/emotional development, physical awareness, and a sense of belonging

Our classes, staffed by professional Teaching Artists, create space for youth to explore theatrical skill-sets while experiencing a strong sense of community. We welcome students of all skill and ability levels from Ages 3-18. 

Join us for some real art-making, real play, and real connection!

Our Core Values

Theatre Learning by Age

THEATRE EXPLORERS
This model is specifically designed with our youngest Theatre Artists in mind. Our Teaching Artists encourage discovery and real-world connections through storytelling and creative play while fostering social, physical, emotional, and cognitive development. With minds, bodies, and voices engaged, Young Artists express themselves through music, creative movement, dramatic play, art-making, and interactive storytelling to enhance skills in language, collaboration, active listening, and community building. During the last 10 minutes of each class, caregivers are invited to join us for a sharing of the activities we investigated that day.

Theatre Learning Looks Like:

  • Developing self-expression through play, creative movement, and drama exploration
  • Engaging in parallel and/or cooperative play with peers
  • Exploring a mixture of structured and open-ended art-based activities

PAGE-TO-STAGE
This class model is specifically designed for preschool & kindergarten Theatre Artists. Our Teaching Artists encourage learning through storytelling and creative play while fostering social, physical, emotional, and cognitive development. With minds, bodies, and voices engaged, Young Artists express themselves through story creation, music, creative movement, dramatic play, and art-making to enhance skills in theatre fundamentals, early literacy, communication, creative thinking, cooperation, active listening, and community building. On the last day of class, family & friends are invited to a sharing of creative drama exercises, original scenes, favorite songs, and artwork.

Theatre Learning Looks Like:

  • Developing self-expression through play, creative movement, and drama exploration
  • Engaging in guided group drama experiences
  • Exploring stories with creative drama strategies like pantomime, narration, and frozen image

CREATE-A-PLAY
Create and perform an original play based on the class theme! Work collaboratively with your peers to develop the story, setting, characters, dialogue, and staging. Throughout the creative class process, engage in games and activities to hone your fundamental theatre skills. Perform your play for family & friends on the final day of class.

Theatre Learning Looks Like:

  • Expressing individual ideas that contribute to a larger group concept
  • Learning theatre foundations like vocabulary, actor tools, and how to structure a story
  • Making physical & vocal choices to develop & practice performance technique

EXPLORE PERFORMANCE
Immerse yourself in a Devised Theatre rehearsal process as you create, stage, and perform an original short play or musical! Inspired by the class theme, and under the guidance of your Director, work with your class to develop the show’s setting, characters, dialogue, and staging. While you’re creating the show, study theatrical skill-sets and apply the skills you’ve learned to the final performance. Throughout this process-driven class, engage in rehearsal practices, and theatre games/activities to sharpen your foundational performance skills. On the final day of class, perform your original work for family & friends!

Theatre Learning Looks Like:

  • Integrating multiple performance styles & theatre concepts
  • Rich collaboration – discussing & contributing ideas to enhance performance
  • Director’s notes – observation, suggestion, support, and feedback to introduce and refine performance concepts
  • Providing opportunity for intentional group reflection on artistic work

Skill-Based Learning Looks Like:

  • Learning skill-specific vocabulary & concepts at an age-appropriate level
  • Understanding concepts though warm-ups, games, exercises, projects, and exploration
  • Scaffolding & building-upon concepts to achieve mastery

TEEN WORKSHOPS
Do you crave connection with creative and artistic people, like yourself? Are you interested in the Performing Arts and eager to learn all you can about the craft? Whether you’ve got experience or not – we’ve got a class for you! SteppingStone’s Teen Workshops feature process-driven learning, in a specific theatrical skill-set, with classes structured to create strong ensembles and promote a supportive and fun classroom community. Join your peers in an inclusive, safe, and creative learning environment where you will feel comfortable expressing yourself and growing as an Artist. Our Teaching Artists structure classes to minimize competition or comparison. Instead, we challenge everyone to put in the work, stretch outside their comfort zones, and be open-minded in learning new techniques. With this approach, we create strong theatre foundations, a hunger & drive for artistic development, and a network of peers & mentors to help support you in your theatre journey.

Theatre Learning Looks Like:

  • Exploring a variety of theatre games and exercises intended to target and refine theatrical skill-sets
  • Rich collaboration – contributing, discussing, and integrating ideas into an ensemble-driven Showcase of Work
  • Using research, critical analysis, and cultural context to develop and enhance the Showcase of Work 
  • Director’s notes – observation, suggestion, support, and feedback to introduce and refine performance concepts
  • Sharing in leadership responsibilities throughout the class
  • Intentional time dedicated to group-reflection and self-reflection on artistic work

Classes & Camps

What should my child bring to class?

Students should dress for movement and wear sneakers. Layers are recommended. Students must wear a face mask. For classes under 4 hours, students should pack a water bottle and snack. For full-day classes, students should pack a lunch, 2 snacks, and a water bottle (no fridge or microwave available for student use). We find a backpack works best for keeping track of all personal belongings.

What should my student wear to class?

Please send your student in comfortable clothing that allows for movement (nothing too restrictive or too baggy) and closed toe shoes. Flip-flops, dress shoes, or shoes without backs are discouraged for safety reasons. Students will be participating in rigorous physical activity, and working on messy art projects. Clothing may get dirty, stained, or torn. All art products we use are washable. SteppingStone is not responsible for damaged attire. 

Will masks be required in class?

All students and staff, regardless of vaccination or recovery status, are required to wear masks with the exception of eating, drinking, and designated “mask break” times. Face shields can be worn in addition to a mask, but cannot replace a mask. Disposable masks will be provided to any student for any reason. We require masks that follow CDC guidelines. The CDC’s guide to mask-wearing can be found here. 

Will SteppingStone conduct health screenings for students & staff?

Yes, before entering class each day all staff & students will have their temperature taken and be quickly assessed for common COVID symptoms such as cough and lethargy. Anyone with a temp. of 100+ or who is exhibiting common symptoms of COVID will not be allowed to enter the classroom. Students must be fever-free for 72 hours without medication before returning to camp. Providing a negative COVID test is highly encouraged, but not required. Staff who have a fever must provide one negative COVID test before returning to camp.

What is the hand washing/sanitizing policy?

Students will use hand sanitizer and wash their hands frequently. Handwashing will be conducted before & after all breaks. Hand sanitizing will be conducted at drop-off, pick-up, and after each class activity. SteppingStone will provide hand sanitizer in the classroom and at entrances/exits. 

What is the maximum number of students in a class?

During COVID class maximums have been reduced and take into consideration the group’s ability to distance by 6ft in all directions for high-intensity activities. Depending on the size of the classroom, maximums can range from 9-14 students per classroom.

What is the maximum number of classes running concurrently in the building?

No more than 4 class sections will run concurrently in the building, to limit the number of students & staff on-site.

Will students always remain distanced in class?

Students will distance for high-intensity activities like dancing or singing. Students may work more closely together during collaborative portions of class like brainstorming, prop-making, or story time.

Will classrooms interact or mix with each other?

Each class will operate as its own pod and will not interact with other classes throughout the day, with the exception of student drop-off & pick-up times. Each class will have a designated schedule to ensure bathrooms, snacks, lunch, recess, and transition times will not overlap with other classes.

How will snack & lunch work?

Students will eat snack & lunch with their classmates & teacher, sitting distanced from each other in a large circle, so the group can safely socialize while eating.  

How will final sharings work?

Our top priority is keeping our students and their families safe, while also being responsible members of the St. Paul community. If COVID transmission rates are low, final sharings will be conducted in-person, masked, with limited audience capacity. If COVID transmission rates are high, final sharings will be recorded, and a video link will be provided which can be shared with all family & friends. We will keep an eye on COVID trends and make a final determination about class sharings 2 weeks before the final day of class.

Can we observe/sit-in on class?

For student & staff wellbeing, caregivers, family members (including siblings), and friends are not able to observe/sit-in on class.

Are you offering Virtual Classes?

As of right now, we are not offering virtual classes for the school year 2021-’22. However, our in-person classes may transfer to a virtual format if there are updated safety circumstances where we must do so.  

Will you provide before or after care?

To limit the amount of crossover between classes, we are unable to offer Before/Aftercare this school year.

Can I register my student for a class they are too young/old for?

We understand that some students thrive in an environment including students either younger or older than their peer group. However our age ranges are firm and we cannot make exceptions.

How can my student perform in a SteppingStone Mainstage show?

SteppingStone typically casts students ages 14-18 in our Mainstage productions. Occasionally, we will cast students as young as 12. Casting is conducted through an audition process where not all students will be cast. We typically see between 50-100 auditionees and have space to cast approximately 20 students. We highly encourage students to continue auditioning if they are not immediately cast. Our auditions are designed to be non-intimidating and beginner-friendly. We welcome all skill & ability levels to try-out. To learn more about our auditions please see our Auditions page or check Minnesota Playlist.

Too young to audition? Register for our classes and build the skills you need to be successful when your time comes!

Are you audition-aged but not quite ready for the audition competition? Check-out our LEAP program!

Registrations

Register for the grade in which your student is currently enrolled. Exceptions cannot be made for older or younger students to join a class outside of their age-group.

Payments, Discounts, & Scholarships

  • All of our programs are Pay As You’re Able. Please pay what your family can afford. That may mean covering your fees and someone else’s. It also may mean paying most or some of the fee. We want every young artist to be able to attend and we will work with you to make attendance possible. SteppingStone Theatre is able to provide programming and continue supporting families, teaching artists, and other theatre artists through class registration fees and the generosity of donors. Please give to support access for all young people.
  • All classes require a $50 non-refundable/non-transferable deposit
  • Deposit is required to hold a place in the class
  • Direct questions to education@steppingstonetheatre.org

Cancellations

SteppingStone Theatre retains a $50 non-refundable/non-transferable deposit with all class registrations. If SteppingStone cancels a class, you may join a different class, or receive a full refund including your deposit amount. If you cancel a registration, for any reason including illness or emergency, SteppingStone will retain the $50 deposit and other fees as outlined:

  • Cancellations up to 2 weeks prior to the start date: Full refund less the $50 deposit
  • Cancellation between 1 & 2 weeks prior to the start date: A class credit for the registration amount less the $50 deposit, to be used on a future SteppingStone class within one year of cancellation.
  • Cancellation within 1 week prior to the start date or after the start date: No refund. No exceptions.
    • Exceptions will be considered for students with COVID-19 symptoms.

No Food Sharing Policy

In order to keep our students safe & healthy, SteppingStone implements a No Food Sharing Policy. This means students are only allowed to consume food/beverages that were provided to them by their caregiver. SteppingStone does not allow students to swap or share food items. Teaching Artists & SteppingStone Staff will not provide students with treats or snacks. Students who wish to bring treats or snacks for their class on special occasion are asked to, instead, provide their class with a small trinket or toy.

Allergy Management

Education Office Staff and many of our Teaching Artists are trained to administer Epi Pens and call 911 in the event of medical emergency. For students with allergies that require Epi-pens (or other injectors) we request to be made aware of the severity of the allergy & location of the life-saving medication up-front. Epi-pens should be stored in the student’s backpack or (ideally) with the Teaching Artist at all times.

We see many students with severe allergies in our programs and work with the caregiver to ensure the student is able to participate fully while staying safe & healthy.

Medical Action Plan

SteppingStone does not have a nurse or medical professional on staff. All Office Staff & many of SteppingStone’s Teaching Artists are trained in CPR, First Aid & the administering of Epi-Pens. All staff receive annual training on protocol for responding to medical emergencies. In the event of a medical emergency, SteppingStone will call 911 and notify caregivers.

Education staff cannot administer medication without an authorized note. If a student is feeling unwell, a caregiver will be notified and the student will be sent home. SteppingStone will not administer over-the-counter pain relievers or other medications if a student begins to feel unwell, even at the request of the caregiver. Caregivers are welcome to stop-by our theatre and administer any medications to their student in-person.

Young Person-Centered Behavior Policy

SteppingStone values each young person’s unique skills and ideas. We strive to meet young people where they are and empower them to problem solve and find solutions to their problems. Young people are at the center of our behavior policies and we believe they are individually and collectively responsible for their actions, words, and treatment of others. Please download our behavior policy.

Behavior Policy

Illness Policy

Please download our comprehensive Illness Policy

Illness Policy

Pronouns

At SteppingStone, we respect each student’s gender identity and refer to each student by their specified pronouns and name.

Restrooms

SteppingStone has gendered, non-gendered, accessible, and single-stall restrooms. Students are allowed to use the restroom that best suits their gender identity or use the single-stall restroom for additional privacy or comfort. Classes take several group restroom breaks during the day. During group restroom breaks, teachers monitor for hand washing and disruptive/inappropriate behavior. Students are allowed to use the restroom, as needed, throughout the day.

Electronic Device & Toy Policy

Students under Grade 7 are not allowed to use their electronic devices or toys during class time, snack, lunch, or recess unless prescribed by a medical professional. Students in Grades 7-12 are permitted to use electronic devices only during class breaks (snack, lunch, recess) provided the use is appropriate. SteppingStone is not liable for the exchange of contact information via devices or for lost, stolen, damaged, or destroyed devices and toys. SteppingStone reserves the right to confiscate devices or toys that have become distracting or inappropriate and return them at the end of the day. If devices or toys are confiscated, we request the item(s) not return to class.

For all enrolled, if you would like to reach your student during class hours, please call our main line (provided in your class email). Students wishing to speak with their caregiver during class hours will be instructed to call from our office phone.

Media Release & Information Sharing Policy

SteppingStone will never share your information with outside parties. Our website & database are securely encrypted and credit card information is not kept on file.

SteppingStone Theatre regularly photographs and records its programs and participants to document its programs for its funders and to promote programs in the community. When such photographs or videos are used in brochures, advertisements, or other promotions, children are not identified by name. When completing paperwork for class, you have the ability to opt-out of this policy.

School Year Classes

During the 2021-’22 school year, SteppingStone intends to offer in-person classes during Fall, Winter, and Spring. Programs are offered for all skill & ability levels from ages 18 months to 18 years.

Summer Camps

In-person summer camps are in the works for 2022. Details and registration will be available in early 2022.

COVID-19 Policies (School Year 2021-'22)

What are SteppingStone Theatre's COVID-19 policies?

SteppingStone school year 2021-’22 classes and programs require young artists ages 5-12 to wear masks at all times and practice social distancing in the class spaces. Young artists 13-18 may be asked their vaccine status before the start of class and may be asked to comply with Park Square Theatre’s Safety Policies.

What happens if a student experiences symptoms or tests positive for COVID?

If a student experiences COVID-19 symptoms while in class, the student will be immediately quarantined and caregivers will be notified to pick up the student. If a student tests positive during the course of a class, the class will transition to a virtual format until all students are COVID-negative. Jump to Refund Policy

What happens if a staff member or teaching artist experiences symptoms or tests positive for COVID-19?

If a staff member or teaching artist experiences COVID symptoms while in class, they will be immediately sent home. If a staff/teacher tests positive, any classes the individual had contact with will transition to a virtual format until all class members are COVID-negative. Jump to Refund Policy

What happens if a student or staff member is identified as a close contact of someone with COVID-19?

If a student or staff member is identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, that individual must isolate and will not be able to rejoin the class until they return a COVID-negative test. The class will only transition to a virtual format if the individual tests positive for COVID or starts showing symptoms. Jump to Refund Policy

Will the entire student population be notified of any positive COVID cases within the program?

Yes, SteppingStone Theatre staff will alert all families of any positive COVID-19 cases on campus.  

  • First communication: All students and staff members within the positive case’s class will be notified, encouraged to isolate and get tested, and will transition to a virtual class format. 
  • Second communication: All students and staff members on campus will be alerted of the positive case and potential exposure. 

Cancelation and Transfer Policies

There is a $50 non-refundable and non-transferable class deposit.

  • Cancelation more than 2 weeks before a class begins will result in a full refund, less the $50 deposit.
  • Cancelation within 1-2 weeks of a class beginning will result in a class credit, less the $50 deposit.
  • Cancelation 1 week or less before a class begins will result in no refund or credit.

Exceptions will be considered for students with COVID-19 symptoms.

In the event of a positive COVID case within a class, the program will not be canceled but instead transition to a virtual format. Refunds will be considered for students with COVID-19 symptoms.

If SteppingStone cancels a class, for any reason, you will be issued

  • a full refund including the $50 deposit for classes that have not yet started.
  • a prorated refund (including the $50 deposit) for classes that have started.

Contact

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are available via email M-F, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the following:

CREATIVE LEARNING
education@steppingstonetheatre.org

TICKETS & REGISTRATION
boxoffice@steppingstonetheatre.org

DEVELOPMENT
development@steppingstonetheatre.org

MARKETING
marketing@steppingstonetheatre.org

GENERAL INQUIRIES
info@steppingstonetheatre.org

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Statement

At SteppingStone, we are committed to access and inclusion for all people. Our programs stand firmly in opposition to racism and we challenge our young artists, staff, and Board of Directors to foster inclusion and to seek equity for all, including Black, Indigenous, people of color, LGBTQAI+, economically disadvantaged, all religions, veterans, active military, and those with accessibility needs. We work with families to meet students’ needs be it social, academic, developmental, or physical. SteppingStone respects students’ gender expression and provides access to gender-neutral facilities.

We Believe

Young people are artists, makers, and doers. They need to belong and to contribute to their world. When young people make art together, they change themselves and the world around them for the better.

We Do

SteppingStone ignites belonging, generosity, mastery, self-advocacy, and inspiration by creating art with young people to share with the world.