Got a little one with a big personality who loves to be the center of attention? Or a shy but precocious child whom you just know would blossom in an environment of supportive friends and instructors? Drama and theater classes for kids can be a fun, structured activity for kids ready to build skills in public speaking and dramatic play. If your child’s been bitten by the acting bug, you’re in luck, the Bay Area has plenty of respectable drama classes to help them make their debut!

San Francisco

The Marsh Youth Theatre
We love that tots as young as two can attend classes in movement and expression at the Mission’s Marsh (with the company of an adult who doesn’t mind a little dancing and some trapeze work) and that preschoolers can partake in storytelling on stage. Whether your kid’s interested in aerial acrobatics and dance, or participating in the Marsh’s Performance Ensembles (for children up to grade 12), the Marsh’s Youth Program, now celebrating its tenth year, is worth a close look.

1062 Valencia Street (between 21st and 22nd)
San Francisco, Ca 94110

Young Performers Theatre
Preschoolers can engage in the basics of movement and music, while more advanced students get to take part in a full-length play and all aspects of the production. The Fort Mason–based YPT has put on over a hundred such plays, including Winnie-the-PoohPeter Pan, and this year’s The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

Fort Mason Center
Building C, Room 300
San Francisco, Ca 94123

San Francisco Children’s Musical Theater
Does your kid have a love of musicals? Imagine them performing onstage at the Palace of Fine Arts…then make it a reality by enrolling them in the program at SFCMT. Catch this year’s performance of Gleeful to spark their interest and then be prepared for some major singing into the hairbrush to take place in your home. Show us your jazz hands!

3301 Lyon Street
San Francisco, Ca 94123

For kids a bit older, look into the programs at BATS Improv and, of course, A.C.T.’s Young Conservatory.

East Bay

Berkeley Rep
Besides putting on some of the most exciting theater works in the country, Berkeley Rep offers an array of classes to children as young as five, with themes changing each season. Past ones include Greek mythology, Superheroes and Balinese shadow puppetry.

2025 Addison Sreet
Berkeley, Ca 94704

Cal Shakes
Start with the basics, like drama in storytelling and then move them into the greatest plays put to stage with one of the area’s most dynamic theater groups, the California Shakespeare Theater. Who knows, maybe your kid will be inspired to write, just like the Bard.

100 California Shakespeare Theater Way
Orinda, Ca 94563

Older kids in the East Bay will want to check out the Youth Musical Theatre CompanyContra Costa Civic Theatre,  and Stage Door Conservatory.


Marin Youth Performers
The resident players of 142 Throckmorton Theatre have big plans for the upcoming season…just wait until this summer when they take to the stage for “Bat Boy: The Musical.” But in the meantime, there are classes in stand-up comedy, acting, magic, and glee club for interested kiddos.

142 Throckmorton Avenue
Mill Valley, Ca 94941

South Bay

Broadway By The Bay
BBB offers everything from cabaret workshops for seasoned drama entusiasts to movement and expression classes for very young children. For kiddos who love to sing and dance and ham it up, this group might be just the ticket.

Fox Theatre
2215 Broadway Street
Redwood City, Ca 94963

Peninsula Youth Theatre
Everyone from mini-Meryls to bona fide Gleeks will find their footing at PYT. There’s a broad range of classes for many styles of dramatic play and for many age groups. The high quality of the performances this group puts on sets them apart.

250 Old Middlefield Way
Mountain View, Ca 94043

—Sarah Bossenbroek