Summer Acting Programs + Camps

Acting Camp

The wonderful thing about acting camp is that camps offer acting training to people of all ages, backgrounds, and talent levels. Acting camps have sprung up all over the world. Their popularity is due in part to how flexible they are in terms of time and budget.

Many actors who want a quick shot of acting practice can sign up for an acting camp. Many business professionals also use acting camps to help strengthen their improvisation and public speaking skills. Most camps can last from a day in length to an entire summer. However long they last, acting camps are a great way to meet people and improve your skills.

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Networking at Summer Acting Camps

Before you attend a summer drama program, have a set of business cards printed up. Chances are you'll be meeting a lot of new people, particularly if you are attending a camp or a summer acting school in a city you don't live in. You'll want to stay in touch. The saying, "It's who you know" can often translate to "It's who you meet."

Keep you business cards with you at all time. Your headshot should be on the front, with your name and professional contact number. If you are in any unions, list them on the front of the card as well. The back of the card should be kept blank -- you never know if you'll have to jot down additional information.

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Play at Your Theater Summer Camp

Drama – and the act of performing drama -- forces us to re-engage the spirit of discovery. As children, we played and discovered. Now that we're older, attending theater summer camp is a great way to reconnect with that natural instinct to play.

While it's the dramatic writer's job to bring characters together within the plot, the dramatic actor of drama has to learn how to recreate these relationships on stage or on screen. (It is perhaps why we call it "playing" a role, or even why a dramatic production is called a "play."). Use your time at a summer theater program to let go of inhibitions and play within the role(s) you are given.

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Roll the Credits...

Taking a summer theater program is rewarding in more ways than one. Your skill level as an actor increases, you have an opportunity to meet and network with others in your field, perhaps you'll even get a chance to visit a new city. Beyond that, many summer drama programs offer transferable college credits or even certification.

Check with any school or institution that offers summer acting classes to see if you can earn credits or certification upon completion of their coursework. As long as you're doing the work, you might as well get credit!

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Spend a Summer as Someone Else

Acting summer camps are ideal for working on character studies. Having the skills to absorb yourself in a role is paramount for actors, and an intensive summer session is a great way to develop these skills as well as work out any kinks you may have in the skills you already possess. Since many acting summer camps provide weeks of focused attention either on a scene or a monologue, you will have plenty of opportunity to hone our research skills.

  • If private study is available -- at a library, for example -- you may wish to research work written by the author of your piece. See if any themes run through his/her characters. (Tennessee Williams, Ibsen, and Chekhov are good examples of these kinds of playwrights.)
  • Talk to your instructor(s) to get ideas about how to bring your knowledge of your character to the stage (or screen) through physicality.
  • Spend time writing in a journal as your character. See through his/her eyes and take notes about your (his/her) experiences.
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Summer Acting Courses in New York City

Why not expand your horizons as an actor by taking a summer acting course in a new city...New York City, for example. New York has plenty of programs available for every level of actor. The New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts doesn't require an audition for entrance, just an interview, which is usually done by phone -- although you will perform a monologue at orientation in order to determine the best level for your course of study. Besides the training, New York is a diverse and enriching cultural hub. You'll find plenty of inspiration as an actor by spending just a few weeks on this historic island!

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Summer School for Actors

Here's a show business standard: Summers are dead.

Don't worry if you're not getting work or even calls for auditions. Barring summer stock theater, it's just the way it is. But just because work is slow, it doesn't mean you have to be as well. So, if you're not off to play Hamlet in Harrison, PA in a summer stock tour, then consider looking into summer acting programs.

The "down time" that summer provides is actually an asset to actors. Imagine eight whole weeks (give or take) to devote to honing your craft! If you already belong to an acting school, chances are your school will provide classes there. If not, there are plenty of private instructors and companies that offer classes. Take a risk: This summer try a class you've never taken -- soap opera acting, stage combat, Commedia d'ell Arte, maskwork... Any classes you take will only strengthen your repertoire as an actor.

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Teen Acting Camps

Many of the programs and camps that provide training in acting for teens are geared toward young people who want to get into the industry. These camps are typically day camps that last a few weeks over the course of a summer. Acting camps provide intensive training for teenagers in the basics of acting. At the end of the training, students often receive the opportunity to perform in showcases, which are collections of scenes that they have rehearsed over the weeks. Teen acting camps also provide contact with agencies and management companies as well as face-to-face meetings with casting directors. For teens looking to get into the acting business, camps can provide an excellent foot in the door.

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