It’s Summer Camp time!!

Theatre summer camps are a great way to hone your craft, meet new people, have fun and see a different way of doing theatre!  Milwaukee has some great day camp options downtown, but there are always sleep away camps as well.  If you are thinking about what you should do this summer, possibly think of summer camp.

Most applications are open now and will close soon, so check these places out!!


If you are a current junior, the Northwestern Cherubs is amazing!

“Since 1931, the National High School Institute, a nonprofit organization, has brought outstanding students to Northwestern University’s Evanston campus for intense educational experiences. Students are affectionately known as “Cherubs,” a name given to them in the 1930s by Northwestern Dean Ralph Dennis whose goal, “to bring together gifted young people and superior teachers in an atmosphere of affection, knowledge, and trust,” is still upheld today. The oldest and largest university-based program of its kind, NHSI offers studies in Theatre ArtsFilm & Video, and Debate. ”

My friends did this one in high school and they loved it.

Stage Door Manor is another place that always contacts me about sending students their way.

“Before there was Glee or American Idol, there was Stagedoor Manor, a theater camp in the Catskills where casting directors came to find the next generation of stars. It’s where Natalie Portman, Robert Downey Jr., Ansel Elgort, Lea Michele, Jon Cryer, and many others got their start as kids. Since 1976, a new crop of campers have stepped onto these stages each summer to begin an intense, thrilling and magical introduction to professional theater. Every three weeks, 14 full-scale productions come to life. The faculty – all seasoned professionals – demand adult-size dedication and performances from the kids. But where did it begin?”

Interlochen Arts Camp is a household name if you are a student in the arts.

This camp is not just for theatre kids, it’s for all artists, dance, creative writing, art, music, etc.

“Interlochen was founded in 1928 and is located in beautiful northwest lower Michigan. Each year, thousands of artists and arts patrons come to Interlochen to experience world-class educational and cultural opportunities. Students study music, theatre, visual arts, film, creative writing and dance, guided by an outstanding faculty and guest artists, and inspired by the scenic beauty of our campus.”

University of Michigan Summer Performing Arts Institutes is another theatre program at a University and it also has all the arts.

“Each summer, the MPulse Summer Performing Arts Institutes bring approximately 250 eligible young people to the Ann Arbor campus to pursue excellence in music performance, music technology, musical theatre, theatre, and dance. Sessions are designed for students who are considering studying these areas in college and would like to gain exposure to the rigorous training provided by the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance (SMTD). Participants hail from Michigan, across the U.S., and around the globe.”

UCLA Acting and Performance Summer Institute is a three-week summer intensive in L.A.

“This three-week program includes performance training classes, movement-based techniques, a final performance, as well as guest workshops (for credit). Located at one of the premier performing arts colleges in the country, students are graded on their performance in the program, and are trained at a college-level.”

My sister went here the summer going into her senior year, she really loved it, but also learned that she did not want to go into theatre, the people here were amazing and honest and really helped her realize just how hard life in the arts is.

Harand Camp at Carthage College in Kenosha, WI

“Established in 1955, Harand Camp was one of the nation’s first co-ed, residential camps to combine SINGING, DANCING, and ACTING with the FUN of traditional camp activities. Located on the campus of Carthage College in Kenosha, WI, Harand offers the best non-competitive musical theater training for campers ages 7 to 18. In addition to performing
arts, campers enjoy sports and elective activities, excursions, and all-camp events. Campers attend for 1, 3, or 6 weeks. Sessions culminate with large-scale performances in our state-of-the-art theater.”

Day camps near us!

First Stage

I think the most known theatre camp in Milwaukee is First Stage’s Summer Academy. It’s fun, I did it as a 4th grader and an 8th grader.  My sister did their company class for one year.  If you haven’t done First Stage yet, audition for the Company Class and see if you like the program.  Or you could do a one week program, you can pick and choose.  I do highly encourage you to branch out as well, don’t just do First Stage, there are so many things you can do in Milwaukee each summer.

Skylight Music Theatre

Skylight Music Theatre has a high school summer camp!  While they didn’t have a camp when I was a kid, I did a number of shows with them and they are a fun bunch of people to work with.

The Milwaukee Repertory Theatre

The Milwaukee Rep also has a program, Professional Training Institute (PTI)

Professional Training Institute (PTI) is an advanced actor training program for students in 9th-12th grade who may have an interest in pursuing a career as a professional theater artist. Over the course of the season, participants receive free training from some of the top theater professionals in the world, culminating in a capstone summer performance where they will be employed as paid, professional actors.”

I have had a few students do this and they had a lot of fun.  The Rep is really in line with Homestead in using the physical to tell a story and they loved devised work as well.

Obviously, these are just a few programs out of thousands in the country.  If you are thinking of pursuing a life in the arts, I highly recommend going somewhere else and learning more about theatre and the arts, I can only offer you so much.  As I said above, my sister went to the UCLA camp for the summer and came back realizing she wanted nothing to do with theatre.  Before that summer, she was the lead in every show at HHS, we had gone to many different dance and theatre camps and acted professionally, but it was that one life-changing sleep away camp (and Mr. Engle’s Contemporary Issues class) that changed her outlook on her future.

As for myself, I was bound and determined not to go into theatre or dance, I had no idea what I was going to do, but I knew it I wasn’t going to continue with theatre and dance.  I went to Marquette University as an undecided major… sometimes, no matter how hard you try, the arts won’t let you leave.

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