Summer camp option: Acting
Summer camp option: Acting This photo provided by Perry-Mansfield shows a musical theatre rehearsal with high school Pre-Professional Intensive students in Steamboat Springs, Colo. (Perry-Mansfield via AP)
Summer camp option: Acting
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Two decades before Dan Futterman, Bennett Miller and Philip Seymour Hoffman joined up for "Capote," they collaborated on a different project, a summer theater program.
Back then, they were just high school students. They were looking to spend their break the way thousands of teenagers still do, having fun while indulging their passion for acting.
The options for summer theater camps today are as numerous as Shakespeare's soliloquies.
Some programs require auditions, others don't. Some focus exclusively on theater. Others incorporate a more traditional camp experience. Some concentrate on putting on large Broadway-style musicals, others on teaching the craft. Some are held in the city. Some are held in the woods.
"It runs the gamut from kids who have a general interest to kids who can be almost competitive, portfolio-building," said Lois Deckelbaum. She is a summer camp adviser with Tips On Trips and Camps.
Julia Duffy, a 17-year-old senior in Fort Collins, Colorado, has attended two very different camps. One was on the campus of a bucolic boarding school in New England, the other at New York University in Manhattan. Both required an audition, which she liked because she wanted a rigorous program. "I wanted to learn and I wanted to train," she said.
First, she attended a five-week program for 13- to 17-year-olds at Walnut Hill School for the Arts. It is located in Natick, Massachusetts. She studied acting, singing and dancing. And she helped put on a play and some musicals.
"That was a great experience," she said. "They take you into Boston on the weekends. It was a lot of fun."
Then last summer, she attended an 18-day program at the Steinhardt School at NYU. She attended master classes, went to workshops and took private voice lessons. The participants, who must be at least 16 years old, can live on or off campus. Duffy lived in a dorm. She said she quickly got used to being in the city.
At the other end of the spectrum are programs like the High School Improv Camp. It is offered by Fox Mountain Adventures in the mountains outside San Diego. Campers take part in daily improvisational workshops taught by performers from the National Comedy Theater. They also swim, play color wars and sing campfire songs.
Director Michael Baum said he includes those traditional activities because they involve leadership, teamwork and communication.
 "They are not only a ton of fun but also go hand-in-hand in developing skills that enhance improv," he said.
Here are tips for those interested in theater camp.
Plan ahead. Some programs fill up quickly. Stagedoor Manor, for instance, a three-week, non-audition camp for ages 8-17 in the Catskill Mountains of New York, was full by January.
Consider your personality and interests. Do you need to be center stage? Do you prefer technical theater?
Don't despair if you haven't studied theater and an audition is required. "It is incumbent on summer programs like Perry-Mansfield to identify those young people who may not have had that training, but who have all that potential to succeed," said Nancy Engelken. She is executive director of the 103-year-old Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.
If the camp is on a college campus, find out if it's run by the school or by an outside group. Ask about oversight and what activities are available when campers aren't in class, Deckelbaum advised.
The New York Summer School for the Arts program that Futterman attended in 1984 as a 17-year-old was held in Saratoga Springs on a campus where students lived in co-ed dorms without much supervision, he said.
"It was a sort of free-for-all," he recalled.
The program, today advertises a zero-tolerance policy for misbehavior. It was run by the now-defunct Circle Repertory Company. It was there that Futterman and Miller, classmates at Mamaroneck High School in suburban New York City, met Hoffman. He lived upstate near Rochester.
They didn't put on any shows, but they studied theater, dance and improvisation.
"It was the first time I was introduced to using personal memories and feelings as substitutions for a character's," said Futterman, an Oscar-nominated actor and screenwriter.
Although fewer theater programs exist for young children, there are some. Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan has programs for kids as young as third grade.
For children interested in theater but not ready for overnight camp, Perry-Mansfield offers a weeklong day camp for kids ages 8 to 10 that is an introduction to the performing arts. For older students, it offers two-, four- and six-week overnight programs that include the option of English horseback riding as an elective. Dustin Hoffman is an alumnus.

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Why do some summer camps require auditions?
Write your answers in the comments section below

  • TehyaWhite-Ste
    2/09/2016 - 01:07 p.m.

    Some camps require auditions because they have to keep it away from being a free-for-all and they want their camp to have the children with the most talent.

  • melissaj-Ste
    2/09/2016 - 05:03 p.m.

    Some summer camps require auditions based on a lot of factors: location, amenities, and camp "alumni." More people want to go to a camp in an area that is known for producing great actors, like New York. The camp's "alumni" is a huge factor because if a great actor or actress attended that camp, many others want to receive the same training.

  • gigimarks-bak
    2/09/2016 - 07:55 p.m.

    Wow so many instrasting facts about summer camp !!???????????????????? It makes me think where l will go to summer camp .???????????????????????????? .

  • jahir-orv
    2/10/2016 - 11:50 a.m.

    growing up i was introduce to summer camps at a very early age.
    I also went to an acting/dance etc. camp. It had a multitude of fun an recreational things for youths to do in their summer time.

  • virginiam-2-bar
    2/10/2016 - 06:19 p.m.

    Some summer camps require auditions because for serious aspiring actors and actresses, it is important that they are surrounded by other people who have experience and talent. That way, they can all learn from each other. I learned that from the article when talking about students preferences, "Both [camps] required an audition, which [the students] liked because she wanted a rigorous program."

    I picked this article because many of my friends like acting, and I would like to be informed on what they are interested in.

  • joey2-war
    2/11/2016 - 01:14 p.m.

    I think that a summer theatre camp is a great opportunity to meet new people and interact. Camps like these are also great for improving acting and improv skills which can be beneficial for public speaking and the arts. I think that they may require auditions to get a skill difference in mind, and also learn what needs to be improved upon.

  • lilyc-ric
    2/12/2016 - 12:10 p.m.

    Some summer camps require auditions because some people who are professional, or have a lot of experience need to be surrounded by other people who are professional. Some camps that are for amateurs, or people who are not yet mastered at the art of acting don't require auditions. That's because the people who go to those camps want to be taught how to act, rather than having to act professionally.

  • dburn-wim4
    2/12/2016 - 12:57 p.m.

    some summer camps require auditions because they need to be able to see how other students can collaborate with each other and see how other kids have different talents. also, it involves all the diversity of kids to work together and engage in a subject they all love the most such as drama, arts or acting.

  • soohyun-cam
    2/16/2016 - 01:39 a.m.

    Some summer camps require auditions because they want talented children and rigorous programs.

  • julianc-bag
    2/16/2016 - 07:16 p.m.

    I would not enjoy singing, dancing, improve or acting.

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