Shakers Performing Arts















  • “Return to old watering holes for more than water; friends and dreams are there to meet you.”

    In 2001 an innocent late night trip to Springfield, Massachusetts revealed a bus station filled with teenagers. When asked around town why so many young people were just hanging out in the middle of the night, we found that summer programs aged out at age 14 and teenagers simply did not have anything constructive or creative to do with their time. It was then that Shakers Performing Arts (Shakers) was born. Now 16 years later, Shakers is still going strong. This specialized program teaches children between the ages of 6-18 Shakespeare and Classical theater through music, dance and textual interpretation. We also now offer technical theater training as well basic circus training.


    Shakers has also opened the doors for participants to study theater on a collegiate level by helping them to earn full theater scholarships. In addition, Shakers has also helped students to secure production contracts with Disney’s the Lion King, regional theater, films, and television projects. Shakers has now expanded beyond the city of Springfield to include small urban communities in Youngstown, Ohio; Benton Harbor, Michigan and Winston-Salem, North Carolina. After an encampment with Shakers, our participants are ready to take seat in the front of the class and participate with confidence. Students are able to authentically articulate their thoughts and opinions with thought provoking insight. They take part in a conversation they never thought possible, Shakespeare.


    Our students have become leaders in the classroom as well as in the community. Many of our Shakers have returned as young adults to teach and volunteer. This performance based program stands out because it truly impact lives. In addition, every member of the Shakers staff holds a Master’s Degree in the area of theater arts and music. Each staff member is actively working in the entertainment field and belongs to Actors Equity and SAG-AFTRA working nationally and internationally in theater, television, film, circus and on cruise ships.


    Shakers mission is to groom young outstanding citizens through the arts by promoting teamwork, self-confidence, reading skills, creativity, and presentation skills so that they can find their artistic voice. We provide students with a safe environment to express themselves creatively. Shakers Performing Arts is a fun learning environment that reaches the heart of all its participants on a personal level. In addition, our mission is to teach and encourage the youth to dream big, believe deep and strive hard at being their individual best.

    Targeted Population

    Shakers targeted population serves the “urban” inner city youth between the ages of 6-18 years old. Each prospective participant goes through an interview and audition process to better identify each student’s strength as well as their area of required development that will allow the staff to better serve each participant’s needs.

    Camp Description

    Shakers Performing Arts begins registration and hold interviews / auditions prior to the first day of the program where applicable. Traditionally the encampments range between three to eight weeks long. Which included two full productions (Shakespearean play and a musical). Special workshops range between one to two week long with a showcase performance. All participants have acting, dance, and singing classes, with special workshops pending the program’s design. We teach various styles of dance: Modern, Jazz, Hip Hop, Ballet and African. The Acting classes we provide are both contemporary and classical. The singing classes include music from various genres of classical, theater, gospel and contemporary as well as basic music theory. The last day of the program, participants perform for the community, where they receive awards, scholarships and special recognition. In select cities, we offer 2 complete scholarships to Camp 3-T (Teaching Teens Theater) in Montgomery Alabama on the campus of Alabama State University. Campers live in a college dorm for one week and study theater with 200 teens from all over the United States in boot camp style. Workshops in Circus Arts and costume design are also available to be included in the program design.

  • The Team

    Founder & Artistic Director

    Laiona Michelle

    Co-Founder & Assistant Director

    Shuwanda Nzikou Ilagou

    Music Director

    Crystal Harvey


    Acting Coach

    Charlie Hudson, III

    Circus Arts/Gymnast Trainer

    Brice Nzikou Ilagou

    Lighting Designer

    Xavier Pierce

    Costume Designer

    Bonnie Weaver

  • Shakers Is Coming To Africa

  • Contact Us

    Mon-Fri 10am-6pm