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Top 10 Summer Theatre Camps for High School Students

If you’re excited about theater, don’t let the summer get in your way! Attend one of the summer theater camps for high school students to build your skills and collaborate with others. It’s never too early to explore a future career path or to hone your favorite hobby, so keep reading to find out more about a program near you.

Related: How to rock the summer before your senior year

What is a summer theatre program?

Spend your summer doing something new and engaging by participating in a summer program! This could be your golden opportunity to hone your craft or experiment with future careers while you’re still in high school. Programs like these can help you decide about your future field of study or change your plans altogether. Either way, you can use the skills you learn throughout the different stages of your life and education. 

Why we chose these programs

There are thousands of summer programs out there, but unfortunately, we can’t include all of them in this list. However, we try to include options that vary in price and location for you to choose from. Hopefully the one for you is in our Top 10!

Note about application deadlines and camp open and close dates

Spicing up your summer with a theater program means that you have to get started early. Usually, summer programs have application deadlines, and we’ve included them in this list to help you stay on top. Don’t worry if a deadline has passed already–instead, get excited about the potential for your summer next year since you’ll already be ahead of the curve! 

Summer theatre programs

1. Carnegie Mellon School of Drama: Summer Pre-College

Start your summer off right at the Carnegie Mellon Pre-College Drama! This program has three concentrations for students to choose from: acting, musical theater, or design/production. Throughout six weeks, you’ll learn to improve your skills and prepare for auditions and college applications. Carnegie Mellon also offers full scholarships and financial aid for their pre-college programs. 

  • Eligibility: Ages 16 and up. Requires an unofficial transcript, a letter of recommendation, and two essay responses
  • Cost: $10,734 (residential) or $7,830 (commuter), full scholarships and financial aid is available
  • Application deadline: February 1, 2023 (early decision) or March 15, 2023 (regular decision)
  • Camp dates: July 1 – August 11
  • Location: Pittsburgh, PA

2. Boston Conservatory at Berklee: Musical Theater Acting Intensive

The Boston Conservatory at Berklee hosts many summer programs, including the Musical Theater Acting Intensive (MTAI). It seeks to immerse students in a variety of different subjects such as clowning, character development and more! This program will also help you further develop your audition pieces to hopefully improve your outcomes. 

  • Eligibility: Ages 15 – 25. Requires a video recording
  • Cost: $4,405 including housing
  • Application deadline: June 1, 2023
  • Camp dates: July 10 – July 29
  • Location: Boston, MA 

3. UNCSA Drama Summer Intensive

Pursue your passion in theater at the UNCSA Drama Summer Intensive! You can decide if you want to try an acting track or a musical theater track for the program, and each has unique courses to offer. Choose between private singing lessons or text analysis for scenes! Unfortunately, UNCSA doesn’t offer its own financial aid or scholarship opportunities, but the program does accept scholarships from outside organizations. 

  • Eligibility: Ages 15 – 18. Requires an audition
  • Cost: $3,625
  • Application deadline: April 15, 2023 
  • Camp dates: June 25 – July 15
  • Location: Winston-Salem, NC

4. Stagedoor Manor Performing Arts Training Center: Summer Camp

The Stagedoor Manor Summer Camp is a program to remember if you’re interested in theater immersion! Everyone gets a role in the production and a diversified education in acting, vocal training, movement, stage combat, and more. You’ll be able to completely individualize your schedule from the core and specialty classes Stagedoor Manor offers. 

Your time at the program is divided into rehearsals, classes and recreational activities. This gives you the opportunity to make friends and have fun all while preparing for your performance.

  • Eligibility: Ages 10 – 18
  • Cost: $6,495, including room and board (no financial aid is offered)
  • Application deadline: Rolling admission 
  • Camp dates: June 12 – July 2, July 3 – July 23, or July 24 – August 13
  • Location: Loch Sheldrake, NY

5. IRT Young Actors Laboratory: A Westside Experiment 

Put your American Sign Language (ASL) skills to the test at the IRT’s A Westside Experiment! The Interborough Repertory Theater creates a fused environment of deaf, hard-of-hearing, and hearing children so that they can learn from one another. 

Participants can gain or improve their skills in physical-acting technique, mime, and storytelling.! 

  • Eligibility: Grades 6 – 12. 
  • Cost: $600, including a $200 deposit (free for deaf and hard of hearing students)
  • Application deadline: N/A 
  • Camp dates: July 10 – July 22
  • Location: New York, NY

6. Idyllwild Arts’ Theatre Intensive: The Play’s the Thing

Idyllwild Arts brings you the Theatre Intensive: The Play’s the Thing! During this program, students get a chance to participate in theater activities and become stars in a performance. You may even get an opportunity to learn a thing or two about stage combat depending on the play. 

  • Eligibility: Ages 14 – 17. Requires a video audition. 
  • Cost: $3,550 (residential) or $2,080 (commuter/day student), need-based scholarships are available 
  • Application deadline: Rolling admission 
  • Camp dates: July 2 – July 15 
  • Location: Idyllwild, CA

7. Boston University Summer Theatre Institute 

The Boston University Summer Theatre Institute (BUSTI) is your chance to spend five weeks gaining four college credits in subjects like design, acting, improv, and much more. The curriculum is full of exciting things such as the Experimental Theatre Lab and Collaborative Theatre Ensemble class. BUSTI will even help graduating seniors with their portfolios and college auditions or interviews. 

  • Eligibility: Rising sophomores, juniors and seniors. Requires a statement of intent, a personal essay, a headshot, and one letter of recommendation.
  • Cost: $7,175-7,405, including room and board, need-based financial aid and scholarships are available 
  • Application deadline: April 17, 2023
  • Camp dates: July 2 – August 5
  • Location: Boston, MA

8. NEXUS Musical Theatre Pre-College Intensive 

Use this summer to check out Texas State University’s NEXUS Musical Theatre Pre-College Intensive! This program promises to put you at the center of holistic musical theatre training. Students can expect to participate in monologue coaching, wellness workshops, and professional classes. Through this program, you will learn how to be a well-rounded and healthy performer.

  • Eligibility: Rising freshmen to rising seniors. Requires a video audition.
  • Cost: $2,900, includes room and board
  • Application deadline: March 1, 2023
  • Camp dates: June 13 – June 24
  • Location: San Marcos, TX 

9. The Cherubs at Northwestern

Northwestern University and the National High School Institute have partnered to create The Cherubs. This program has four different divisions to choose from, but this time we’ll be focusing on the Theatre Arts Division. You’ll get a glimpse of all the possibilities of pursuing theater in college while gaining training as you move through the rigorous curriculum. Students can even add on two more weeks to experiment with musical theater! 

  • Eligibility: High school juniors that are top 30% of their class. Requires experience in theater arts, a resume, two essay responses, a letter of recommendation, and current transcripts
  • $6,800, financial aid available for those who qualify
  • Application deadline: January 6, 2023 (early decision) or March 31, 2023 (regular decision)
  • Camp dates: June 25 – July 29 
  • Location: Evanston, IL

10. UCLA Acting and Performance Summer Institute 

The UCLA Acting and Performance Summer Institute can help you maximize three weeks of your summer vacation to make you a better performer! Students will work together to create a final showcase that highlights their newfound knowledge of combat, playwriting, and more!  UCLA also offers Summer Scholar Support to cover the cost of this program. It’s need- and merit-based, so all students have a chance to win a full or partial scholarship!

  • Eligibility: Grades 8 – 12. Requires an essay response, a letter of recommendation, a resume, and a video audition
  • Cost: $5,996, UCLA offers Summer Scholar Support to cover the cost of this program for those with financial need
  • Application deadline: June 1, 2023 
  • Camp dates: June 25 – July 15 or July 16 – August 5
  • Location: Los Angeles, CA

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