Best Summer Acting/Drama Programs

This list caters to all the aspirants who are keen on pursuing acting as a career or the craft of theatre, and in some cases, technical theatre. Although Musical Theatre, Vocal Arts and Dance are part of many other programs, this article is not for those who are interested primarily in one of those domains. Additionally, if a student is less interested in pursuing, say, acting in university, there are many other esteemed acting programs which have impressive, non-academic pedigrees. Unless otherwise noted, tuition costs include room, board, and on-campus meals.

NYU Tisch High School Summer Program, NYC

Students are enrolled in conservatory training in one of five societies: The Experimental Theatre Wing, the New Studio on Broadway, the Meisner Studio, the Stonestreet Screen Acting Studios, or in the Production and Design Studio. Theatre experts and other industry specialist also host classes every week. The program culminates in performance for faculty and students, and an open-class day for family and friends.

Yale Summer Drama Program, New Haven, CT

Yale offers two programs as its Summer Drama Program: The Conservatory for Actors, and Directing. Being one of the country’s most eminent theatre departments, at Yale, students are taught by Yale’s own experts. Acting Conservatory students are introduced to the Stanislavski method, and taught what is basically a 4-5-week distillation of their current acting curriculum. Directing students learn the essentials to pertinent directorial practices. These programs are open to anyone interested in any part of the directing craft.

“The Cherubs” at Northwestern University, Evanston, IL

Northwestern offers two programs in drama: Theatre Arts and Design/Tech. Students enrolled in both these departments are also entitledto a two-week Musical Theatre program which occurs post this program. Both programs are highly intensive and immersive, culminating in a public performance during their final week (those in the TA division act, and the D/T students stage manage).

University of Michigan Summer Performing Arts Institutes, Ann Arbor, MI

UM offers two unique programs for upperclassmen: The Theatre& Drama Academy, and The Musical Theatre Workshop. Both are run by the  University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre& Dance, alongside many other arts students in domains such as instrumental music, dance and vocal arts.

Carnegie Mellon School of Drama Pre-College, Pittsburgh, PA

This highly intensive program at Carnegie Mellon is based upon its BFA curriculum and offers three options for participants- Acting, Musical Theatre, and Design & Production Technology and Management. The program is intended to guide students at the college level and concludes with a written evaluation for each participant, along with a mock audition and interview at the School of Drama.

Boston University Summer Theatre Institute, Boston, MA

Boston offers a BFA-level 4-5-week intensive drama course. Students are following two options: Performance, or Design. Both programs include master classes and experimental theatre laboratories, concluding in the creation of an original piece by students. Although this course offers classes in dancing and singing, it is not musical theatre-intensive.

InterlochenCenter for the Arts, Interlochen, MI

The iconic InterlochenCenter offers seven theatre programs, each ranging from one to six-weeks in length. One-week programs: Musical Theatre Audition Intensive, and The Shakespeare Bootcamp Institute. Three-week programs: Musical Theatre Workshop, and Acting for the Camera. Six-week programs: Musical Theatre Production, Repertory Theatre Production, and Theatre Design & Production.

UCLA Acting and Performance Summer Institute, Los Angeles, CA

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.

USC High School Summer Conservatory, Los Angeles, CA

Overview: This four-week immersion program is designed to train students under university faculty, and introduce them into the world of dramatic arts. Three strains of theater are offered: Acting, Performing Comedy, and Musical Theater (for credit).

Center for Creative Youth at Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT

Overview: Students in the center will be immersed in a community of talented high-school age students across a range of artistic disciplines including Musical Theater, and Theater& Visual Arts. While participants must choose one major, they are also allowed to take electives in other domains — each morning students attend to their major, and each afternoon their electives.

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