Historical arts

When young people discover new ways of expressing themselves, develop eyes and ears for the details of an artistic style, or imagine history in a new way, their minds grow. 

At SHAK, teens and children encounter original music, drama, and other arts of the 13th through mid-18th centuries, working with professional performers and coaches. Although SHAK’s directors are passionate about the details that bring the past to life, our approach is often playful and adventurous. We understand the European artistic materials we work with to be just one facet of the bright multicultural world we live in today. Many of our programs focus on underrepresented voices. All of our work is about making something beautiful together in the present. 

Together we re-create sights and sounds that people found beautiful in times before the Industrial Revolution – back when people made everything by hand and shared it in person. In our digitized age, physical creativity means more than ever to our young people.

Our community

Many of SHAK’s theatrical and workshop programs establish a “one-room-schoolhouse” atmosphere – a mix of ages, skills, and backgrounds, in which students work together as real individuals. Rather than competing within a single skill plane, SHAK students respect each other’s varied contributions. Participants find an amazing group of peers who arrive eager to learn by delving into sophisticated artistic material together.

Our community extends to the professionals who work with our students, and to the audience too – that means you! Please enjoy our direct-to-video programs or join us at our next public performance

Opportunities for every age

All ages are invited to join us in the audience! We have participation opportunities for age 6 to 18:

Elementary school: Explore with us

Share the fun of discovery! No special background is required for most of our workshops (age 6-12) and performing programs in drama and singing (age 7 through teen). Students who play instruments have special opportunities to contribute (usually age 9+ with two or more years of instruction).

Middle school: Discover your strengths

Young teens and preteens enjoy each other's like-minded company and begin to shine as instrumentalists, actors, and singers. Whether newcomers or experienced performers, students at this level are beginning to go deeper – applying what they know in new ways and identifying their specific interests and strengths.

High school: Share your skills

Experienced singers, actors, and instrumentalists may work together on advanced material in ensembles, serve as guest soloists, or fill lead roles in mixed-age productions. These young people take on real creative responsibility, and we often work together with them and/or their teachers to find material that's the best fit. Some of our programs for skilled older teens are by invitation or audition.