Learning Acting and Life Skills at The Playground

Gary Spatz’s premier conservatory for young actors.

By Keldine Hull 

In 2005, the Playground began as a conservatory for young actors to learn the craft of acting, specifically on-camera for film and television, with three studios on the sixth floor of Avenue of the Stars. As actors evolved and became more skilled, the Playground built three more studios and created their Professional Program. By 2012, the conservatory opened across South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa to better serve the Orange County community. In 2014, following Westfield Century City’s expansion, the Playground built six brand new studios on the ground floor at the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Beverly Glen where they’ve remained for nearly six years. 

Gary Spatz, founder of The Playground, oversees the program, which helps facilitate an atmosphere dedicated to each student’s growth. “Our specific curriculum would challenge each student at every age and experience level,” Spatz said. “What is most important is the environment of The Playground studio/classrooms; a safe and nurturing space for kids to take risks as they explore the joy of acting.”

The core of The Playground’s philosophy and curriculum is teaching the principles of acting through “Creative Play.” The Playground offers a two-year program, which can be taken in steps, designed to take students from the beginner level, to advanced and ultimately to the professional level. Spatz continued, “Our second-year program, called Professional, includes the shooting of a short film on location that the young actors all star in. Parents enjoy watching these productions at our Annual Graduation at the AMC Century City where all the graduates interview on the red carpet prior to screening the films with their families.”

Spatz continued, “The concept is to have the students working and playing in our specifically designed studios/classrooms, with studio lighting, high definition cameras and professional monitors. We also have two sets, so they have a better understanding, and then comfort zone, of what it’s like to work on a real film or TV production.” Spatz added that learning articulation exercises, relaxation, as they learn to hit marks and work on memorizing scenes, commercials and monologues provides a practical and creative way of developing a technique for working in this medium.

Students learn audition skills at The Playground.

Acting classes provide more than just the skills and techniques needed to pursue careers in entertainment. “The wonderful thing about the craft of acting, especially when it comes to children and most importantly in this day and age, is they are learning to be present, in the moment, listening and reacting to the given circumstances of the material,” Spatz said. “This obligates them to really connect with the person they’re talking to without using a device or technology. This develops their communication skills as well as empathy that will have a ripple effect regardless of what path they take in life.”

The Playground encourages their students’ growth both inside and outside of their studios. Spatz explained, “Parent and teachers in their schools should see improvement in their reading comprehension, focus, listening and memorization. They will be better able to stand up and express themselves, whether to one person or group of people. This allows them to become more confident within themselves.”

Above all else, The Playground is dedicated to every student that walks into their studios. “Besides developing the skills and the fundamental good habits that make up a technique for acting, they are acquiring skills that stimulate their imaginations, build their confidence and ability to communicate, which is basically the job of an actor,” Spatz said. “Underneath it all we’re nurturing their empathy, which is certainly something we need now more than ever.”

To learn more, visit: https://www.theplayground.com

Related Posts

Building Affordable too Costly? Use Existing Units to House Homeless

October 17, 2019

October 17, 2019

Report released showing cost of developing affordable housing in Los Angeles By Sam Catanzaro As the Los Angeles City Controller...

Criminal Who Threatened Pali Students Still At-Large

October 16, 2019

October 16, 2019

Arrest warrant out for Aaron Meyer who enticed young girls into car with candy, brandished knife near Pali schools By...

Edify TV: Westside Measles Exposure

October 15, 2019

October 15, 2019

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has announced that a person with measles visited several Westside businesses this...

Two mountain lions found dead in Santa Monica Mountains with rat poison in systems, Announcing Palisades Reads! Palisades News Today October 14, 2019

October 14, 2019

October 14, 2019

Palisades News Today October 14, 2019 – all your local news and happenings in under 5 minutes.* Two mountain lions...

Palisades Libary to get Upgraded Bookstore

October 14, 2019

October 14, 2019

Outdoor area to be converted into bookstore to generate money.  By Keldine Hull  The Palisades Branch Library opened to the...

Yee Haw Days returns to Pacific Palisades, Help care for sapling trees in the Santa Monica Mountains: Palisades News Westside Local – Oct. 11 2019

October 11, 2019

October 11, 2019

Palisades News Westside Local – Oct. 11th 2019: all your local events and happenings in under 5 minutes.* Yee Haw...

Announcing Palisades Reads

October 11, 2019

October 11, 2019

Annual literary event debuts with discussion, “Save One Life, Save the World?” with author Laura Nicole Diamond and homeless advocates ...

Two Mountain Lions Die With Rat Poison in Systems

October 10, 2019

October 10, 2019

5th large cats to die since July By Keldine Hull National Park Service (NPS) officials confirmed on Tuesday that two...

Firefighters Prepare for Santa Ana Wind Event That Could Bring Gusts up to 55 mph

October 9, 2019

October 9, 2019

SCE gives notice about power shutoff for Malibu By Sam Catanzaro In anticipation of the upcoming Santa Ana wind event,...

Palisades Weekly Crime Update

October 8, 2019

October 8, 2019

Submitted by LAPD Officer Michael Moore Stolen Vehicle 15200 Whitfield Avenue, between 9/30/19 at 8:30 PM and 10/1/19 at 7...

Bobcat killed by car in Santa Monica Mountains, Criminal who threatened Pacific Palisades students still at-large: Palisades News Today October 7

October 8, 2019

October 8, 2019

Palisades News Today October 7, 2019 – all your local news and happenings in under 5 minutes* Bobcat killed by...

Hold Your Horses: Mounted Law Enforcement Coming to SM Mountains

October 7, 2019

October 7, 2019

By Keldine Hull According to the National Park Service (NPS), beginning October 1, law enforcement rangers began patrolling the Santa...

Yee Haw Day at Pali Elementary

October 5, 2019

October 5, 2019

October 12 Palisades Charter Elementary  By Staff Writer Bring out the boots, hats and lassos as Yee Haw Day returns...

Major League Taco Eating contest, “Weekend Miracles” Kidsave foster event: Palisades News Westside Today Westside Local Show October 4

October 4, 2019

October 4, 2019

Palisades News Westside Today Westside Local Show October 4 2019* Major League Taco Eating contest* “Weekend Miracles” Kidsave foster eventShow...

Comments
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *