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A Summer with Berridge Programs- Nurturing Your Unique Artistic Voice

Andrea Mardon, Artistic Director of Berridge Programs, talks about their in-person arts programs at Westmont College.

With no in-person school or performance opportunities this year, young artists are looking towards summer theatre programs for the first opportunity to get back to doing what they love.

Camps and program providers around the country are working hard to offer safe, high-quality experiences for young people this summer. Today we're talking with someone who has been doing just that. Andrea Mardon, Artistic Director of Berridge Programs, talks about their in-person arts programs at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, CA.

A Summer with Berridge Programs- Nurturing Your Unique Artistic Voice

What programs are you offering this summer?

We have two programs running at Westmont. 'Spotlight' is a three-week performing arts program that expands artistic technique by teaching a different style or approach each week. We have four majors to choose from: Acting, Musical Theatre, Writing or Filmmaking. 'Generate' is a one-week program dedicated entirely to making and premiering original work. This program welcomes all artistic disciplines including Theatre, Film, Writing, Studio Art and Music.

Who are your programs for?

Our programs are for students age 14-19 with a strong interest in the arts. Some have lots of experience and others are just starting out. Wherever they are on their creative journey, all of our students are enthusiastic artists who live to create and perform!

How are you approaching Covid safety this summer?

We offer small programs - only 40-50 students - so there is considerably less mixing than at a large camp. This also means that it is easier to monitor the health of our students and implement our robust Covid protocols. Westmont College has been a wonderful partner in Covid safety by offering us exclusive use of our part of the campus so we can have a true "Berridge Bubble" during our time there.

What makes your program experience unique from others offering similar programs?

It's our curriculum and our faculty. All of our teachers are working professionals with a passion to share their industry experience with young artists. The curriculum on both of our programs is very special. For example our Acting majors work both on-camera and on-stage, in an ensemble, with scene partners and on solo monologues. They'll be in shows and they'll take away a showreel of on-camera work. By exploring and learning about a range of styles and techniques, students add a whole variety of tools to their acting 'toolkits', building experience so they feel armed and ready to tackle anything. And all in just three weeks!

What do you hope that students take away from their time at your program?

Celia Rose Gooding, the Tony nominated actor from Jagged Little Pill, attended our programs twice. What she said about us really resonates: "Berridge taught me a level of self-acceptance and confidence that allows me to be fearless on stage." That goes right to the heart of what we do. We value the individuality of every student and help them to feel confident about what they bring to the table as an artist. We call this "nurturing your unique artistic voice" - our programs give each student confidence in their unique gifts and a strong sense of self. This is what carries them to success right through college and into their professional careers.

Read more about Berridge Programs here or get in touch with Andrea Mardon, Artistic Director here.

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