1. Find a summer arts program (before it fills up)
For every discipline in the arts, there is a summer arts program. Each ranges in type and style, and they can run anywhere from a week or two to more than a month in length. However, many students have signed up months ago, and the better programs are filling fast so move quickly if you’re interested.
2. Prepare your audition
While requirements for auditions can vary from one theater college to another, you will typically need to supply each program with a resume of your theater experience, a recent photo, and music for the accompanist if appropriate. For most situations, you should prepare two contrasting monologues. Musical theater auditions generally require one up-tempo musical selection and one ballad, as well as a monologue from a play or musical of your choice. In total, your college audition pieces shouldn’t go beyond 5 minutes. Here are a few tried and true keys to audition success:
- Select age-appropriate audition material
- Choose a monologue in which you speak to another person
- Know your monologue context by reading the entire play
- Play only one character and memorize your selection
4. Match your college criteria
Too many students trade in personal fit in pursuit of school reputation. Visual and performing arts students, in particular, should search for a college that fits their personality, interests and goals. It’s easy to be impressed by the prestige of a top professional school or arts department and overlook whether the program is right for you. Naturally, you should speak with your art, music, drama, or dance teachers about the reputation of the colleges you are considering. Ask the colleges about career opportunities for graduates and what sort of success alumni have had in your area of the arts. Create an organized list of schools with a checklist of components and notes that will ultimately help you determine the best fit for your needs. 52 5. Take a campus road trip You can’t replace the experience of visiting colleges, walking the campus, and asking questions about academics, student life, and your specific areas of interest. As an arts student, you will likely have more to consider than students in other majors. The location of your college may be higher on your list of key factors. Access to professional venues such as museums, galleries, theaters, and concerts may be a consideration. The opportunity to perform, exhibit, and have active internships may also be important elements in your arts education. Keep in mind that if you want to get an accurate sense of student life on campus, you’ll need to return during the school year. Nonetheless, summer college road trips can be of great value at a more relaxed pace.
SUMMER PROGRAMS- TEXAS
Houston Shakespeare Festival Summer Conservatory (University of Houston) – Houston, TX
The Houston Shakespeare Summer Conservatory is a two-week workshop of concentrated instruction in acting, voice and movement. This exciting intensive study will culminate in performances in conjunction with the Houston Shakespeare Festival at Miller Outdoor Theatre.
Young Actors Conservatory (YAC) at Stages Repertory Theatre Co. – Houston, TX
The Young Actors Conservatory (YAC) is a unique summer intensive that offers conservatory-style training for high school students. Led by recognized theatre professionals, YAC master classes encourage participants to explore every facet of dramatic production. Using a total immersion method, students develop scripts; create costumes, sets and props; design lights and sound; learn movement and voice techniques; and rehearse and perform roles. Building on what they’ve learned, students focus on a central theme to conceptualize, write, design and perform an original theatre piece, combining the students’ own material with texts taken from the work of well-known writers. The program culminates in a fully realized production of this work at Stages Repertory Theatre.
Texas Arts Project (TAP) – Musical Theatre
Musical Theatre at TAP is an intense three-week program including acting, dance and voice. Classes range from private voice lessons to choreography sessions where students study original choreography from Broadway’s greats such as Bob Fosse and Michael Bennett. As musicians, students are guided through song-study and learn how to sing like their favorite Broadway pros: safely and healthily. This study of musical theatre acting focuses on storytelling through song with students each leaving camp with several new songs ready for audition or performance.
Texas State University Musical Theater: Nexus Pre-College Summer Intensive
Exposing young artists to collegiate training and preparing them for the current professional market as well as their college auditions. Familiarizing young artists with Texas State’s immersive, holistic musical theater training program. Focused training with Texas State Musical Theatre faculty, top industry professionals, which includes a final showcase performance.
Texas State University Summer Theatre Camp – San Marcos, TX
During the two weeks of camp, students will participate in theatre classes taught by Texas State University faculty and guest instructors. Each student will audition for and be cast in a one-act play that will be performed for an audience of family and friends at the end of the two weeks.
Texas Musical Theatre Workshop – Austin, TX
The Texas Musical Theatre Workshop is a collaboration between the musical theatre faculties of The University of Texas at Austin and Texas State University. The TMTW offers an opportunity for high school students to gain pre-professional training in acting, singing, dancing, auditioning and performing taught by Broadway professionals and university theatre faculty.
Texas A&M Corpus Christi Camp on the Coast – Corpus Christi, TX
The Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi Summer Theatre Workshop is a two-week residential camp designed for high school students seeking a highly intensive and creative theatre experience. Participants will rehearse and perform in a one-act play. Students interested in performance will study acting, voice, and movement in morning classes taught by TAMU-CC Theatre faculty. Returning students will take a master class in Audition Techniques to prepare them for college auditions. Technical Theatre Students will attend classes in design, participate in the creation of each production’s sets, lighting, and costumes, and serve as crew for the shows.
Summer Theatre Workshop at Stephen F. Austin State University – Nacogdoches, TX
Entering its 46th year, this is the oldest program of its kind in the state of Texas. The workshop consists of two weeks of concentrated instruction in acting, voice and movement, or scenery, costumes, make-up, sound, lighting and stage management for high school students. Workshops are held in both acting and design/tech.
Tal Lostracco’s Summer Theatre Camp at Southwestern University – Georgetown, TX
Tal Lostracco’s Summer Theatre Camp at Southwestern University is a two-week intensive theatre camp for high school students to strengthen their skills in theatre, acting, and technical theatre. Students stay in dorms and are cast in one of the four productions offered. Morning classes include acting, dance, movement, voice, and stage combat, and afternoons are geared to show rehearsals. The nonprofit program is guided by a collective of artists and educators that have been a part of the camp since its inception in 2001.
Camp Shakespeare, University of Texas at Austin – Round Top, TX
Camp Shakespeare, a component of The University of Texas Shakespeare at Winedale Program, is a two-week residential camp for young people, ages 11-16, held near the small rural town of Round Top, Texas, with daily activity at the University of Texas Winedale Historical Center. Camp Shakespeare is dedicated to exploring a Shakespearean play through performance. This is an experience in daily performance, in exploring language and character, in doing, and playing-at-play. It is not an “acting” or “theater” camp. Here, we celebrate the creative process. We do not rehearse “shows.”
SUMMER PROGRAMS- OUT OF STATE
ArtsBridge – University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota
ArtsBridge Summer programs are designed to hone the skills of students interested in pursuing musical theater and acting at the college level and beyond. ArtsBridge offers three programs: Musical Theatre Summer Intensive, Dramatic Acting Summer Intensive, and a Musical Theatre Starter Edition (San Francisco).
Baldwin-Wallace Overtures – Berea, OH (Cleveland)
An intensive week of training including: private voice lessons; daily workshop, and monologue and dance classes including college audition preparation with Vicky Bussert, the head of Baldwin-Wallace’s Musical Theatre Program. Admission is limited to 15 high school juniors who audition for spots.
Boston Conservatory Summer Intensives – Boston, MA
The Boston Conservatory offers summer intensives for high school and college students on a performing arts degree track. Boco offers a Musical Theatre Summer Dance Intensive and a Vocal/Choral Summer Intensive.
Boston University Summer Theatre Institute (BUSTI) – Boston, MA
The Boston University Summer Theatre Institute is a five-week program designed for those who wish to test their interests and abilities in a professional training environment. In this program, students develop confidence and technique, acquire insight and expertise, and learn to meet intellectual and artistic challenges. College credit is available.
Broadway Dance Collective- Gathered- New York, NY
3 action packed days in NYC with breakout classes with Broadway Choreographers, Directors, Dance Captains, Tony Award Winners, Managers, Agents, Casting Directors, Music Directors, and over 20 Broadway performers! Oh and did we mention seeing 2 Broadway shows starring your Broadway Teaching Artists with exclusive VIP talk backs with the cast after the show and staying in one of the Theatre Districts hippest hotels? This will be the ultimate Broadway weekend.
The Broadway Experience – New York, NY
The Broadway Experience is a musical theatre program that offers dance, voice, and acting classes with current Broadway professionals and master teachers.
Broadway Theatre Project
A musical theatre intensive that provides its apprentices with training in the disciplines of acting, dancing and singing, taught by a faculty of accomplished educators and performers.
California State Summer School for the Arts Theatre Program
The California State Summer School for the Arts Theatre Program offers intensive professionally-oriented acting training for students who are serious about exploring the craft of acting and the possibilities of the art of theatre in the modern world. An open mind, an adventuresome spirit, the desire and ability to work hard and enjoy it, the capacity to be a part of an ensemble, and a passion and willingness to explore a variety of approaches to acting are more important prerequisites for this program than extensive prior theatre experience. [note: limited admission for out-of-state applicants.
Pre-College Drama Program at Carnegie-Mellon – Pittsburgh, PA
The Pre-College Drama Program at Carnegie Mellon University gives students the chance to participate in a professional training program in acting, music theatre or design/technical production. The program focuses on the exploration of a conservatory training program with emphasis on creativity, craft and discipline.
Cincinnati Conservatory of Music Prepartory Department High School Musical Theatre Workshop – Cincinnati, OH
This workshop gives high school students the opportunity to explore musical theatre at one of the country’s most prestigious musical theatre programs. The CCM Prep program has a rigorous academic musical theatre program that is condensed into a two week summer intensive for students. Each day students will work with CCM Prep faculty, CCM guest faculty, area theatre professionals and other guests in various areas of musical theatre. The program culminates in a showcase on the final day in the studio theater.
COLLEGE BREAK THRU- Chicago, IL & New York
Founded by David Petro, a Disney, Nickelodeon and Broadway Casting Director and former Broadway performer, Broadway Break Thru provides nationwide opportunities to young, aspiring artists through performing arts summer camps, pre-college programs, after school programs and weekend workshops.
College Break Thru features 5-day intensive designed for incoming high school freshmen to seniors, who have a strong interest in musical theatre, dance, voice and acting. By accepting only seventy-five of the nation's elite high school performing artists, CBT can provide unprecedented access to the world's top colleges and instructors, high caliber classes and exclusive auditions.
Columbia University Theatrical Collaboration: The Actor, the Director, and the Playwright – New York, NY
Designed for students with experience in drama who are interested in developing original theatrical productions, the course emphasizes the working relationship between actor, director, and playwright, and the unique dynamic that exists between them when working on untried material. The program includes one week of workshops and lectures and then two weeks to the development of short plays to be written, directed, and acted by the students under the supervision of theatrical professionals. This course affords students a unique opportunity to experience the nuances of professional theatrical collaboration.
Emerson College Pre-College Acting, Musical Theatre, and Stage Design Studios – Boston, MA
The Acting Studio and the Musical Theatre Studio offer high school juniors and seniors an opportunity to train in an intensive pre-college acting program. Attendees polish their performance skills by participating in master classes and evening rehearsals. During the five-week program, Acting and Musical Theatre Studio students refine audition pieces and perform selections and scenes in a final showcase performance for peers and parents. The Stage Design Studio offers high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors an opportunity to explore the elements of theater design. During the program, Stage Design Studio students concentrate on scenic design and drafting, lighting design, costume design and rendering, stage makeup, mask design and construction, and portfolio preparation. Students attend dynamic weekday classes to learn more about the tools of stage design and work on projects, and will refine their projects during Saturday studio hours.
Indiana University Midsummer Theatre Program – Bloomington, IN
The Midsummer Theatre Program is a two-week, comprehensive study of theatre as an art form. Students study acting, movement, voice, dramatic literature, musical theatre, and television. In addition to daily classes, students will attend several special event workshops in areas such as auditioning and television production. Students will showcase their learning experiences from these intensive two weeks in a Final Presentation.
Interlochen Center for the Arts High School Summer Theatre Programs
The Interlochen Center for the Arts offers several programs in acting and musical theatre including: Musical Theatre Production, Musical Theatre Workshop, Repertory Theatre Production, Theatre Design and Production, and a Musical Theatre Intensive.
Ithaca College Summer College – Ithaca, NY
Three-week courses are offered in Acting and Musical Theatre for high school sophomores and juniors (rising juniors and seniors) where students earn 3 undergraduate credits.
Jacob's Pillow Musical Theatre Dance - Becket, MA
Celebrated Broadway choreographer Chet Walker directs the Musical Theatre Dance program of The School at Jacob’s Pillow. During this three-week professional training program, Walker invites award-winning Broadway choreographers, directors, composers/arrangers, and musicians to collaboratively create original numbers on dancers — all at a level of intensity that mirrors the fast pace and rigor required to audition for and mount Broadway productions.
MPulse at the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, MI
The MPulse Summer Performing Arts Institute on the Ann Arbor campus offers programs in music performance, music technology, musical theatre, theatre, and dance.
University of Minnesota Stage Elements Summer Theatre Institute – Minneapolis, MN
An 11-day theatre intensive led by University of Minnesota faculty who are professional artists from organizations including the Guthrie Theater, Children’s Theatre Company, Open Eye Figure Theatre and Penumbra Theatre. The STAGE ELEMENTS Summer Theatre Institute is an opportunity for young artists to sample the rigorous BA Performance and BFA Actor Training programs offered in the University of Minnesota’s West Bank Arts Quarter.
University of North Carolina School of the Arts Summer Intensive: Drama – Winston-Salem, NC
Faculty members of UNCSA’s School of Drama, along with guest artists, are the instructors in this three-week summer intensive, which emphasizes the process that leads to excellent performance. The School’s multi-disciplinary approach to training for the stage, film and television carries over to the summer session. Here young acting students will spend their days focused on fundamentals of the craft – acting, movement and speech. Sessions in improvisation, dance, stage combat, circus skills and acting for the camera are part of the curriculum, as are opportunities to write, direct and perform original scripts. A workshop in auditioning will be held in the final week for high school seniors and college-level students who want to learn about the audition process for the UNCSA School of Drama degree and certificate programs. The session ends with a showcase of student work, to which families are invited. An intensive in Stage Combat is also offered.
The National High School Institute at Northwestern University (Cherubs) – Evanston, IL
Northwestern’s Cherubs programs is a 5-7 week, university-based summer program for outstanding high school rising Seniors that offers programs in Acting, Design/Tech, and Musical Theatre.
NYU Steinhardt Summer Study in Musical Theatre – New York, NY
The Vocal Performance Program in Music and Performing Arts Professions at NYU Steinhardt offers a three-week intensive workshop during which students explore the techniques of music theatre performance from the perspective of an actor, singer, and dancer. The workshop employs both group and individual instruction, and activities include dance classes, choreography and musical staging rehearsals, acting and song analysis classes, private song coachings, and a series of master classes on subjects related to the field. The workshop culminates with a showcase presentation in which students perform the material they have been working on in class. Evening activities for the workshop participants include Broadway shows, concerts, and other cultural events around New York.
NYU Tisch School of the Arts Summer Drama Program for High School Students – New York, NY
The Tisch School of the Arts Summer Drama Program for High School Students is a condensed version of the professional training that characterizes the degree program offered by NYU. It carries 6 college credits, and enrollment is limited. Each week includes 28 hours of conservatory training at the Stonestreet Screen Acting Workshop, the Experimental Theatre Wing, the New Studio Summer Music Theatre Program, the New Studio Summer Acting Program, or in the Meisner Technique. The summer program also includes a weekly seminar (New York Theatre) on the breadth of the profession with Tisch faculty.
Open Jar Institute Summer Institute – New York, NY
The Open Jar Institute summer program offers five days of high intensity workshops in acting, singing, dance and audition technique designed for a select group of students – all taught by Broadway pros. Under the direction of a Broadway Associate Director/Choreographer, all students have the chance to work one-one-one with Broadway’s best teaching artists, vocal coaches, acting teachers and choreographers.
High School Musical Theatre Program at Oklahoma City University – Oklahoma City, OK
The High School Musical Theater Program is an extension of the OCU musical theater degree program. Students from across the country attend the program which offers both demanding classroom training and on-stage experience, taught by the OCU faculty.
Penn State Musical Theatre Intensive – University Park, PA
For students who will be rising high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors, the Penn State Summer Program includes sessions focusing on Acting, Dance, Musical Theatre, Makeup, Set Design and Sound Design.Prescreens (auditions) are required for all programs.
The Performing Arts Project – Winston-Salem, NC
The Performing Arts Project summer intensive is a training program held during the month of July on the campus of Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. In the three-week session, students take classes in all three of the major performance disciplines: acting, dancing, and singing, along with countless specializations.
Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp – Steamboat Springs, CO
Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp offers a summer training program for artists ages 8–college. Students from across the country and around the globe take part in world premier productions in both theatre and dance and have the opportunity to study with some of the industry’s most prestigious instructors.
Rutgers University Summer Acting Conservatory – New Brunswick, NJ
The Rutgers University Summer Acting Conservatory is a four-week program designed to allow high school students the opportunity to experience intensive, professional actor training taught by accomplished professionals within the context of a college environment.
Syracuse University Summer College for High School Students, Acting and Musical Theatre – Syracuse, NY
This four-week program at the University of Syracuse develops performance skills and provides a behind-the-scenes view of theater that combines music, drama, and dance. Students participate in full-time, college-level theater training under the direction of acclaimed professional performers and teachers and complete the program with improved audition skills.
The University of the Arts Summer Institute – Philadelphia, PA
The Acting + Musical Theater programs at the University of the Arts are a pre-college program for the serious student performer, and give a preview of the professional training program at the University of the Arts.
The UCLA Acting and Performance Institute – Los Angeles, CA
The UCLA Acting and Performance Institute is a six week intensive summer performance program designed for high school students sponsored by the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. The program offers an introduction to the crafts of theater with training focused on creative self expression, movement, improvisation, scene study, and work with masks.
USC Summer Theatre Conservatories – Los Angeles, CA
The USC School of Theatre offers Summer Theatre Conservatories in Musical Theatre, Contemporary Theatre: Acting Intensive, and New Works: Writing, Directing, and Acting for the Stage. These are conservatory-style training courses designed for students with a serious interest in theatre. Each of the classes culminates in a public performance held at the end of the program.
US Performing Arts Camps
US Performing Arts Camps are held at various college campuses and other locations across the US and include camps for acting, dance, voice, musical theatre and college auditions. The programs are taught by university/college faculty and industry professionals. Locations include Georgetown, Pepperdine, Stanford, UCLA, UC Irvine, TCU, University of Massachusetts and New York City.
The Powerhouse Theatre Apprentice Program at Vassar College – Poughkeepsie, NY
Powerhouse Theater, a collaboration between New York Stage and Film and Vassar College includes plays, musicals, and screenplays presented in a variety of forms: readings, workshops, and fully staged productions. 40-50 theater students from across the country and around the world participate in each summer season and form the Apprentice Company. These young artists are exposed to a wide range of theatrical experiences and are provided with a distinctive opportunity to work on the development of theater productions headed for Broadway and top-ranked theaters nation-wide.
Wagner College Summer Music Theatre Institute – New York, NY (Staten Island)
The Summer Music Theatre Institute (SMTI) at Wagner College gives high school students from around the country the opportunity to learn about all aspects of music theatre performance from theatre professionals in the Wagner College and New York City community. 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. Students are encouraged to apply early as there are a limited number of spots available.
MUNY/Webster Intensive for Emerging Young Artists, St. Louis, MO
The Muny, a summer stock theatre, and Webster University’s Conservatory of Theatre Arts, jointly offer this Intensive that introduces students to life as a professional performer. While rehearsing alongside the Equity cast and our Muny Teens, students prepare to perform in a Muny production as well as attend master classes. During the second half of the Intensive, attendees receive pre-collegiate training from the Webster University faculty while performing each night for audiences of more than 10,000. Classes include acting, voice, movement and dance. Students can also enjoy the opportunity to earn college credit through this program.
Summer High School Music Theater Workshop at Westminster College of the Arts – Lawrenceville, NJ
The summer High School Music Theater Workshop at Westminster College of the Arts is a two week program classes in acting, choreography and private voice instruction, a Musical Theater Showcase Revue, a concert version of a Broadway musical, and field trips to shows on Broadway and in Philadelphia.
Triple Arts Summer Intensive – New York, NY and Cullowee, NC (Western Carolina University)
Founded by Broadway veterans, Terrence Mann & Charlotte d’Amboise, Triple Arts workshops build a strong foundation of skills and confidence while challenging students to reach new levels of personal achievement across the triple arts of the trade: singing, dancing, and acting. The Triple Arts series is designed to give aspiring musical theate performers the opportunity to work directly with top industry professionals.
Yale Summer Conservatory for Actors – New Haven, CT
The Yale Summer Conservatory for Actors is an intensive introduction to the basic techniques of acting. Based on the principles of Stanislavski, this five-week program is a distillation of the acting curriculum at the Yale School of Drama. The Conservatory emphasizes both the personal and professional growth of its participants.
SUMMER PROGRAMS- EUROPE
Berridge Programs – London, France, Paris, Oxford, Edinburgh
Berridge Programs started in 2007 under the name Acting Abroad. For seven wonderful summers, we have welcomed students from around the world to our conservatory in Normandy, France and more recently to our extension programs in London and Paris. This summer, we are proud to offer programs in Oxford and Edinburgh. We are dedicated to offering the highest quality programs that offer young artists the unique opportunity to combine a performing arts camp, college residential program and study abroad experience.
Music Theatre Bavaria – Oberaudorf, Germany
Music Theatre Bavaria offers both a musical theater intensive and an opera intensive. In German, the term Musiktheater translates to the genre of opera, operetta and musical theater. Theater Bavaria offers the combination of a culturally enriching study abroad experience and a serious professional training program in which students choose an emphasis in either opera or musical theater, and the opportunity for cross-over training.
This program requires applicants to be 18 or have graduated from high school.
British-American Drama Academy
The Midsummer Conservatory Program (MCP) is designed for serious sixteen to eighteen year old students of theatre and concentrates on three approaches to acting Shakespeare: text-based preparation, characterisation and movement. The program’s principal objective is to assist students in developing their skills as classical Shakespearean actors so that they are better able to meet the challenges of college, conservatory or drama school.
Narnia Arts Academy, Musical Theatre Intensive – Narni, Italy
The Narnia Festival and International Summer Training Program includes world-renowned artists, teachers and young students, including The Juilliard School in New York, Mozarteum Salzburg, Miami University, Vienna University and the Academy of the Teatro alla Scala. The program includes a Musical Theatre Intensive. The Narnia Arts Academy mixes music, art, education and tourism, by uniting culture and geography in an interdisciplinary initiative aimed at the dissemination and comprehension of the arts and understanding of the architectural and historical heritage, combined with the strong spiritual charge of the Umbrian region. The result is a rich program of events, which includes concerts, conferences, lessons, master classes, workshops, programs for young people, exhibits and guided tours.