Home Best of Guides Dramatic Arts Programs for Students + Adults in the Montclair Area

Dramatic Arts Programs for Students + Adults in the Montclair Area

by Christina Mastroeni
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Hobbies can come and go, but finding one that drives passion can be so rewarding. Some dream of participating in the dramatic arts like acting, improv, music, or theater. If looking for a place to start has been challenging, this list has it covered. Montclair has dramatic arts options of all varieties for all ages. Read on for more information about Montclair’s dramatic arts programs.

dramatic arts programs montclair

Church Street Guitar Studio | 50 Church Street Suite L-5, Montclair

If the orchestra section or a band is the goal, then start with guitar lessons. Church Street Guitar Studio has been in business since 2003. Ivan Max, guitar instructor and Montclair State alumnus has been teaching lessons for over 30 years. Whether it’s Rock, Pop, Blues, Jazz, or Classical, guitarists can learn and broaden their playing here.

Read More: North Jersey Classes for Adults

Essex Youth Theater | 14 Alvin Place, Upper Montclair

Located right off Valley Road, this place offers opportunities for children. The theater offers musical and non-musical classes and programs. Each one is packed with opportunities for kids to learn through acting games and improvisational lessons. Essex Youth Theater offers a unique experience by using custom-written scripts, and small class sizes.

Gisele Reneé Dance Studio | 258 Park Street, Upper Montclair

Dance can bring a performance to the next level. Gisele Reneé Dance Studio offers over 30 years of experience in dance. Its class sizes range from young children (as early as 2 ½) to adults. Its class offerings include Ballet and Tap for young children (aged 2 ½ – 6), and Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Contemporary, and Pointe ages 7+. Each class is grouped by age level.

Madlom | (St. John’s Episcopal Church) 55 Montclair Avenue, Montclair

Montclair Academy of Dance + Laboratory Music + Drama (Madlom) is located near the corner of Montclair Avenue + Chestnut Avenue. The program has a varied selection of classes compared to others on this list such as Modern Dance, Ballet Barre, Playwriting, and African Drumming. Students between the ages of 3 + 18 will fit right into these classes.

Montclair Film | 505 Bloomfield Avenue, Montclair


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Montclair Film is a quintessential part of the community for those lucky to be a part of Essex County. Known for its annual film festival, this institution offers a variety of classes to the Montclair Area. Adult classes (16 +) have options like Storytelling, Podcasting, and Screenwriting. For preteens, there is a middle school filmmaking program. There are competitions held through Montclair Film for screenwriting (grades 8-12) and filmmaking (grades 6-12). Learning doesn’t stop at its doors. Montclair Film also offers options for educators like field trips + screenings for students, and professional development for educators.

Montclair Music Studio | 104 Watchung Avenue, Upper Montclair

This studio is located near the three-way intersection of Watchung Avenue + Midland Avenue. Montclair Music Studio has been providing its services for 45 years, making it the most experienced location on this list. Instructors work with a variety of instruments including piano, guitar, drums, bass, trumpet, saxophone, clarinet, and violin to name a few. Instructors also offer singing lessons. Montclair Music Studio holds recitals so students can meet a goal and demonstrate their newly discovered skills.

New Jersey School of Dramatic Arts (NJSDA) | (St. John’s Episcopal Church) 55 Montclair Avenue, Montclair

A relatively new addition to Montclair, this school opened its doors in Bloomfield and moved to Montclair post-pandemic. NJSDA has been in business since 2004, providing the Essex County area with classes for youths + adults, and a special program for improvisation. Classes include Intro to Acting, Acting for TV, Intro to Improv, and Musical Theatre for youths. Adults have the option to participate in a 5-part acting program or a 3-part improvisation program. After completion of the improvisation program, youths can audition for its professional youth improv troupe (Sparks of Insanity). Adults have the opportunity to audition for its semi-pro troupe (On the Spot), or its professional touring troupe (Nutty By Nature) upon completion of the improv program.

Sharon Miller’s Academy for the Performing Arts | 14 South Park Street 2nd Floor, Montclair


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Sharon Miller’s Academy for the Performing Arts (SMAPA) sits in Montclair Center next to Urban Outfitters. SMAPA specializes in different types of dance and has 25 different instructors. Classes are available for all ages (ages 2 +). Whether it’s learning the basics in ballet, tap, and jazz, exploring classes like hip hop and contemporary, or participating in the Senior Exercise Program, this institution has everyone moving + grooving.

Studio Air | 180 Bloomfield Avenue Suite 3A, Montclair


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Studio Air is located near the corner of Bloomfield Avenue and Hartley Street. This studio is different from others mentioned on this list, as it specializes in pole, silks, and hoops. Classes are available for all ages and include all levels of dance + flexibility. Options include Splits Splits Splits, Areal Silks, Areal Strength + Flow, Pole, Hoop, and BackBendy. It also offers a semi-private 6-week introduction to pole.

Studio Players | 14 Alvin Place, Upper Montclair

If something a little more challenging is in the cards, try auditioning with the Studio Players. The Players’ Studio opened in owner and founder Jan Paul’s apartment in 1935, making it the oldest theater on the list. Studio Players accepts auditions from all levels of experience, and they are committed to creating a diverse cast to showcase the talent of volunteer actors. Its current season for 2023-2024 showcases productions from October 2023 to June 2024.

See More: Local Activities + Classes to Spark Your Creativity

Vanguard Theater | 180 Bloomfield Avenue, Montclair


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The Vanguard Theater is located on Bloomfield Avenue. This theater is dedicated to its DREAM philosophy (diversity, reciprocity, education, activism, and mentorship). It has auditions and classes for a variety of all ages. Classes include Beginner Tap, Acting 101, and Broadway Bound to name a few. Vanguard has more ways to get involved aside from on the stage. Opportunities are also available to be a sponsor, volunteer, or intern in its facility.

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