Zendaya debuted here – and other young actors can too

Before becoming an award-winning actress and Generation Z icon, Zendaya was a shy kid living in California. She grew up around the California Shakespeare Theater in Orinda – known as Cal Shakes – where her mother was the house manager. It was there that she had her first taste of acting.

Drama lessons started in third grade, which brought a young Zendaya out of her shell and onto the stage. “I had to push her to go,” her mom Claire Stoermer told Datebook, “but I remember seeing her up there on that stage, and just the few little moments she had her spotlight on, that is. ‘was like, “whoa.'”

From that moment the star of Euphoria and The greatest showman only got better and clearer. Here’s a look at where she got her acting education – and the courses you might consider becoming an actress in the United States.

Zendaya explored her calling at Cal Shakes

“I was really shy before I came to this school, so it was time for me to come out of my shell,” Zendaya shares. Former teacher Trish Tillman comments, “I think her early work with Cal Shakes, with me and watching these actors on stage and various other teachers, taught her the value of how to do the job, how to get into that. text, how to understand the people around you, how to exploit its natural tendencies and qualities.

Zendaya’s mother also vouches for the Cal Shakes educational program. “They’re really focused on the process, not the product. … (The teachers) would destroy everything. They would (the students) relate it to themselves, for example, “What would you do if you were in this situation? “”

The mission of this conservatory is to “redefine classical theater for the 21st century” – and it has been doing so since the 1970s. Cal Shakes has a Summer Conservatory Camp for children, which costs US $ 1,000 (with a non-refundable deposit $ 100). This year, young comedians in grades 6 to 12 came together to practice voice, movement, text analysis and more at the Bruns Amphitheater.

Fun fact: In her flagship role, Zendaya played a male character in Berkeley Playhouse’s “Caroline or Changer”. Contrary to what one might think, it did not immediately stand out. In her early days, she “just got used to what the idea of ​​drama was.” In short, it provided her with the experience she needed to kickstart her acting career.

Oakland School of the Arts

Zendaya’s audition for this school left an impression on Cal Shakes director Clive Worsley. “It was super engaging to see her play this young woman who was discovering the wonder of this concept of atoms, amazed by the scale of the universe and your place in it,” he said.

Today, this school trains talents not only in theater, but also in music, media and even the circus arts.

Before she knew it, Zendaya was a Disney star in the “Shake It Up” series. Reflecting on her Emmy-winning work in Euphoria, Worsley explained how Zendaya accesses “deep emotional places” to, say, cry while playing. “There is courage to go to very dark and very vulnerable places that no actor, especially an actor in their early twenties, can access,” he praised.

Zendaya won an Emmy Award for her performance in Euphoria. Here she is pictured with writer / director Sam Levinson. Source: Monica Schipper / Getty Images via AFP

American Conservatory Theater (ACT)

One of the best Master of Fine Arts programs in the United States can be found at ACT in San Francisco. He has helped several actors hone their craft, including Elizabeth Banks, Annette Bening, and Denzel Washington. ACT seeks to cultivate “citizen artists – a group of individuals who share a passion for theater, an entrepreneurial spirit and a deep commitment to society”.

In addition to this, ACT also offers other actor training programs, some of which can be taken online. Young actors can do the Semester in San Francisco, which is a 15 week actor training program.


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