Education Theatre Profiles Top Summer Theatre Programs

The Educational Theatre 'Arts Beat' newsletter is pleased to present profiles on five outstanding Musical Theatre training programs from across the nation. Each of these five programs present unique opportunities for the thousands of teenage performers who seek training in an intensive setting every summer. This list- though by no means all-inclusive- has been carefully assembled by Educational Theatre's team of educator-contributors.

The list originally appeared on Educational Theatre's new Buzzfeed page and can also be linked here:

Wagner Summer Theatre Institute

Program Dates: July 13 - 26, 2014
Housing: Dormitory Style Housing
Cost: $3,200

Summer Music Theatre Institute (SMTI) at Wagner College gives high school students from around the country the opportunity to learn from theatre professionals in the Wagner College and New York City community about all aspects of music theatre performance. In a two-week, on-campus intensive, students receive rigorous, college caliber training in acting, singing, improvisation, and dancing-taught in a supportive, professional environment. Students gain insights into the professional world of New York City theatre through visits from industry experts and trips to Broadway productions.

The intensive culminates in a showcase of student performances for family, friends, and the Wagner community. SMTI gives students a learning experience that is professional and positive-rigorous training and serious fun. Past SMTI students have visited and spoken with the stars of productions including Memphis, Evita, and Billy Elliot. Each student also participates in a professional photography session and receives a CD of the shots.

Stagedoor Manor

Program Dates: Multiple, 3 Week Sessions.
Housing: Three to five campers share a dormitory-style room, which has private bath, twin or bunk beds.
Cost: $5,545

Stagedoor Manor is a performing arts summer camp located in Loch Sheldrake, New York. Over the past 36 years, it has trained thousands of young actors, many of whom have gone on to success in film, television, and theatre. Stagedoor Manor is located in a former Catskills Borscht Belt resort (Karmel Hotel) in Loch Sheldrake, New York that was redesigned in the 1970s. The camp consists of a variety of theatre spaces, including the Carousel, the Cabaret, the Forum, the Merman, and the outdoor Garden Theatre. The four largest theaters are the 350-seat Carl and Elsie Samuelson Theatre, the 250-seat Jack Romano Playhouse, the Oasis Theatre (a theatre-in-the-round), and the new Forum Theatre.

Each summer, Stagedoor Manor holds three three-week long sessions that start in late June and end in late August. Approximately 280 campers, ranging in age from 10 to 18, attend each session. During each three-week session, the camp produces 11 musicals, three dramas, Dramafest (a one-act playwrighting competition), and two unique cabaret performances (the Our Time Cabaret and Player's Ensemble).

Savannah Summer Theatre Institute

Program Dates: 4 Weeks, June 30-July 28th, 2014
Housing: Private beds in 5 Bedroom, 4 bath beach homes.
Cost: $4,275

The Savannah Summer Theatre Institute offers a unique camp setting for a limited number of students every summer. The experience centers around the creation of a full, professionally mounted production over the course of the first three weeks of the four week program. While students should expect to spend their days singing, acting and dancing, they'll also unconsciously be creating the 'family' dynamic that is prevalent throughout SSTI. Perhaps the greatest advantage this boutique-style camp offers is the luxury housing, with campers being housed in rental homes within a gated, beach community. Each home is staffed with an SSTI Resident Assistant.

The fourth week at SSTI consists of guest artist workshops introducing students to a variety of theatrical techniques. Previously, these workshops have included focuses on Avenue Q puppetry, Advanced Improv study, a Fosse master class, Acting for the Camera, and the ever-popular day with a Broadway star. In 2013, the cast spent three days working on RENT with Tony nominee Will Chase. Early application is suggested, as this program is strictly limited to 25 campers.

Berklee Summer Musical Theatre Intensive

Program Dates: June 28-July 3, 2014
Housing: Dormitory Style Housing
Cost: $1,940

Looking for a program that doesn't take your entire summer? Then take a look at the one-week experience offered annually by the staff at Berklee College of Music. You can hone your theater chops with professional-level musical performance training in this six-day course, culminating in a showcase at the Berklee Performance Center. The week is filled with core classes and electives, Q&A sessions with visiting musical theater artists, and a rigorous rehearsal schedule. Housing for this program is quite limited and early application is encouraged for students needing housing.

French Woods Arts Festival

Program Dates: Multiple, 3-Week Sessions
Housing: Shared, Cabin Style Housing
Cost: $4,550-5,750

French Woods offers summer camp programs in dance, theater, music, circus, magic, visual arts, film and video, sports, tennis, fitness, waterfront, skate board, rock and roll and horseback riding. Unlike many summer camps, students can choose to skip a rehearsal and water-ski for the afternoon, should they choose! The diversity of programming makes French Woods a stand out amongst its peers.

On a sprawling campus, students ages 7 to 17 intermingle, pursue their own endeavors, while still being bound by their love for the arts. Younger campers have more guidance and supervision, while older campers are able to take on some responsibility and have a chance to work in the areas of their interest.

French Woods is located on a private lake in the western Catskill Mountains of New York State near the Delaware River on the Pennsylvania Border. The camp is approximately two and a half hours from New York City, between Monticello and Binghamton.

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