The ECA Theatre Department provides advanced level, pre-professional training under the tutelage of practicing professional theatre artists. The curriculum models that of a college conservatory training program whereby students:

  • study established and emerging methods and techniques in the areas of acting, movement, and voice and speech; 

  • survey notable plays, playwrights, and styles throughout history, honing their skills of analysis and criticism;

  • explore playwriting, stage management, directing, technical theatre and design;

  • develop and create original work including theatre for social change; and

  • engage in workshops led by prominent master teaching artists.    

The Theatre department strives to bring the finest work to the stage, all the while with a committed respect of the artistic process, and a strong emphasis on collaboration and ensemble work. As a result, students acquire knowledge and develop communication skills that will prepare them for post-secondary and professional careers.  Students’ lives are enriched by the study, performance and appreciation of theatre within a diverse learning environment.


To apply for Admission to the Theatre Department, please visit the Application Process Page
and click the button below to find the requirements for your Theatre Review.

ECA Theatre Review Materials

Theatre Dept Student Handbook 2016-17

Theatre Dept Field Trip Permission Form

Theatre Review Packet

The Greeks

Drink the Wild Air

Theatre Dept Course Descriptions 2016-17

Theatre Dept College Recommendation Form

Theatre Faculty Bios




Photos by Paul Duda


Young Voices Take On August Wilson

ACES ECA Theatre Department students are the focus of this article in The Arts Paper about the National August Wilson monologue competition happening in New Haven this month.  We are so happy and proud that they featured ECA students.   Read the full article by clicking the following link:


Malenky Welsh

English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition Finalist


New York City: With a performance of a sonnet and monologue from Shakespeare, Malenky Welsh from Branford, CT, a student of Carolyn Ladd & Ingrid Schaeffer at ACES Educational Center for the Arts in New Haven, won a place as one of the 10 finalists in the 34th annual English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition in New York City. The Competition took place on May 1, 2017 on the stage of the Mitzi Newhouse Theater with 54 semifinalists from as many ESU Branch competitions nationwide. Malenky previously won the ESU Greenwich Branch competition.

More than 20,000 high school students nationwide participated in the 2017 English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition at the local, regional, and national levels.

The English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition is a school-based program designed to help students develop their speaking and critical thinking skills and their appreciation of literature as they explore the beauty of the language and timeless themes in Shakespeare’s works. In three progressive competition levels, students memorize, interpret, and perform monologues and sonnets in their own schools, at ESU Branch-sponsored community competitions and at the English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition. Citing its 34th season this year, the Honorable Bill De Blasio, Mayor of the City of New York, proclaimed May 1, 2017 as William Shakespeare Day in New York City.

The ESU provided the semi-finalists with two days of educational and cultural activities in New York City, including an exclusive acting workshop by the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University faculty. Perhaps best of all for these teenagers was the opportunity to spend time with other students from across the country who share a love of the English language and, particularly, Shakespeare.

Founded in 1920, the English-Speaking Union is a nonprofit, nonpolitical organization that promotes English as a shared language to foster global understanding and good will by providing educational and cultural opportunities for students and educators.

2017 National Shakespeare Competition Finalists

Theatre Dept senior Malenky Welsh won first place in the English Speaker's Union Connecticut Shakespeare Competition on Wednesday, March 1st and senior Willow Giannotti-Garlinghouse won 2nd place.  There were 22 participants in the competition from high schools throughout Connecticut.

Malenky will represent ECA on May 1 at Lincoln Center in the National Shakespeare Competition!
Read the New Haven Register Feature Article about Malenky and Willow's achievement by clicking the following link: 
In the photo below, winners 1-4 from left to right.  First place:  Malenky Welsh - ACES ECA, Second place, Willow Giannotti-Garlinghouse - ACES ECA, Third place:  Elizabeth Bachmann - Convent of the Sacred Heart and 4th place:  Emma Lawton - Greens Farms Academy.

Ingrid Schaeffer, Chair of the Theatre Department at ACES ECA, meets Sir Kenneth Robinson after her presentation on How To Create Ensemble Pieces with High School Students on a Social Issue at the National Magnet School Conference.  

Sir Kenneth Robinson is an English author, speaker and international advisor on education in the arts to government, non-profits, education and arts bodies.