As the concept of summer camps evolved, specialty camps began to appear. It wasn’t long before the performing arts got involved, and entire art camps for budding performers were soon nationwide.
Performing arts camps give children of all ages across the country a chance to explore their creativity and put themselves to the test through practiced performance. We’ve picked some of the most outstanding players in this field and covered the summer programs below.
1. Traveling Players
Located just an hour from Washington D.C. in Virginia’s Catoctin Mountains, Traveling Players summer camp is situated on 100 private acres of wooded foothills. The setting creates a traditional camp experience but it offers more than just idyllic surroundings.
Traveling Players sets themselves apart with individual attention for every performer. With a maximum enrollment of 13 cast members per session, there is one faculty member for every 4 students. The small production size means every camper is a crucial piece of the performance and will shine in their assigned role.
There are programs available for students between the 2nd and 12th grades, ranging in length from two to five weeks. Young performers will take roles in tales of Greek Mythology or Shakespeare, and the hands-on types can learn the technical side of things.
The prestigious camp has both overnight and day camp sessions.
2. Camp Ballibay
Camp Ballibay encourages young artists 8-16 from around the world to experience a fine and performing arts camp unlike any other. With its Wyalusing, Pennsylvania location, Camp Ballibay is close enough to the booming east coast to be convenient but far away enough to experience true nature.
Creatives of all stripes will love the wide range of programs available at Camp Ballibay. There are theater and musical programs, visual art, dance, and so much more. Two, three, four, and seven-week sessions ensure that every child can experience as much as they are comfortable with.
The facilities at Camp Ballibay are world-class and include modern amenities in rustic, old-fashioned accommodations. The extensive buildings contain everything from theaters, dance studios and an art building with separate spaces for ceramics, drawing, photography, and fabrics.
Children can choose their adventure at Camp Ballibay and create a schedule that will keep them engaged and growing all summer.
3. Summer In Studio
Calling all aspiring filmmakers and performers ages 8-18 in the Los Angeles area. Hussian College, in cooperation with the Los Angeles Center Movie Lot, offers Summer in the Studio, a 4-day intensive course with three sessions available throughout the summer.
For the junior campers, there is a rotating course load of acting, dance, singing, songwriting, stage combat, improv, and filmmaking. Studio Senior Camp takes a deeper dive into all of these areas allowing students to choose a specialty and cover all aspects of it.
These are day camp options for kids in Los Angeles who can attend and unwind at home before the next day of activities. This program serves as an exploration of the creative process, allowing you to lay the foundation for future work in the performance space.
Courses culminate in the creation of a short film.
4. Sitka Fine Arts Camp
Even the Last Frontier of Alaska is represented in the fine traditions at Sitka Fine Arts Camp located in Sitka. The camp resides on the southern end of Alaska, flanked on the sides by stunning mountains and miles of uninterrupted northern Pacific.
This setting provides incredible inspiration for all students between the 1st and 12th grades. They have a program for each school grade, from elementary all the way to high school. Their most advanced option is their musical theater camp, which also allows college students.
Children have all of the freedom they need to express themselves in their preferred medium. Disciplines include dance, visual art, band, and music production.
All of this alongside traditional summer camp activities to embrace the wild, untamed nature of Alaska. You can also read about more overnight summer camps in Alaska.
5. Young Artists of America
The summer performing arts intensives provided by Young Artists of America give kids between the 5th and 12th grades a chance to perform on world-class stages around Bethesda, Maryland.
There are daytime camps and sleepaway camps which include room and board for up to two weeks. Programs are organized by age which include Junior Conservatory, Senior Conservatory, and Musical Theatre Dance Conservatory. The Junior and Senior options include field trips to see professional shows at local theatres.
The focus of the camps at Young Artists of America is entirely on musical theatre and dance, including auditions for casting and real-life performances after rehearsals. Campers learn all of the ins and outs of what practicing stage actors experience.
Check out their website and the handy flowchart about which program might be best for your children. As a parent, you’ll be able to see the final production the young actors put on display for everyone.
6. Buck’s Rock
Buck’s Rock is found in the middle of Connecticut, surrounded by the beautiful Berkshires Mountains. It perfectly combines the traditional summer camp experience with up to eight weeks of full creative expression for kids ages 10-17.
What sets Buck’s Rock apart is its focus on freedom that allows every child the chance to grow into their preferred avenue of expression by choosing their own activities.
Whether that is creative arts like ceramics, painting, digital photography, or drawing and performance art like dance and theatre. Children are given all of the tools they need to succeed and a supportive environment that provides them with artistic skills.
Buck’s Rock has been providing a safe space for children to express themselves since 1943 and looks to continue that tradition for an ever-growing group of children from all walks of life.
Graceland is the same place that was the home of the King of Rock N Roll himself, Elvis Presley. They host an immersive summer camp annually for kids ages 6-17. This camp is a day camp with accommodations at a highly-rated luxury resort at Graceland called The Guest House.
Campers will have the chance to join in on performing arts classes between Wednesday and Saturday and there is a performance on Saturday afternoon to wrap up the session.
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are included for all guests and their adult chaperones, as well as an after-hours tour of Elvis Presley’s Graceland and Memphis Entertainment Complex.
The Performing Arts Camp at Graceland is one week in the middle of summer and enrollment is limited, so be sure to check this one out and get signed up before it’s too late.
8. Long Lake Camp for the Arts
Nestled in the heart of the Adirondacks of upstate New York, the Long Lake Camp for the Arts invites children 8-16 to experience a family-owned summer tradition that dates back to 1969.
The wonderful outdoors with forests and lakes highlights the creative journey all campers get to go on and it’s a journey they choose from day one.
Whether it’s theater, art, music, dance, or circus, there is something for every up and coming young artist and the older high school students. Students can choose between a three or six-week program and then decide the general course of their stay, with the option to switch it up the entire time.
The camp experience is totally customizable and children are free to pick and choose the activities they would most like to pursue.
9. Stage Right Performing Arts
Stage Right Performing Arts focuses almost exclusively on musical theatre and plays. Located in the heart of the country serving the Kansas City area and beyond, this metropolitan day camp option encourages kids K-12 to get out there on stage and go for it.
Entire plays are studied, cast, rehearsed, and then let campers take the stage and perform full productions. Some of the past plays have been Beauty & the Beast, Matilda, Les Miserables, and Grease, and the current list looks to add big names with The Little Mermaid and Footloose.
Camps are three times a year and are an easily manageable week from start to finish, with kids able to go home every night to catch up on some sleep before getting back to it the next day.