Summer Programs are a great way to have a pre-college or educational experience in your field of study. It gives you time to really focus on your craft without the distractions of school work and all the other crazy things we have going on. Looking for summer programs can be very overwhelming, so here’s some info on a couple different programs. Your best resource are the students here at NESA! Many upperclassmen and even some underclassmen have completed summer programs. I have provided some perspectives from a few students. If you have attended a summer program and would like to share your experience, please contact us! For now, go ahead and explore the following summer program!
NOTE: Each title is linked to the program website.
WHERE? New York City
WHEN? July 13-July-24
HOW? Digital Audition (info on the website)
Available Programs: College Prep
“Actor Therapy is a summer intensive designed exclusively for students who are or soon will be #collegebound, open to ages 15—19. This two week course will prepare performers for their musical theatre college auditions, and will be led by alumni and professors from many prestigious college programs, as well as Broadway professionals. Classes will focus on finding the perfect audition material that showcases what makes each individual stand out. Overwhelmed by where to apply? We get it!! But not to worry, our AT faculty is ON IT. Students will have the chance to discuss and receive feedback on which MT programs may be the right fit based on individual needs and goals. So, if you’re serious about quoting Shakespeare on the quad, singing Hamilton in the hallway, and jazz dancing in your dorm … this is the program for you!”
AVERY’S (MT’20) EXPERIENCE: This programs was such a great experience for me. Not only was I able to work with agents, composers, Broadway performers, directors and choreographers, I was able to grow and learn as a performer in addition to making some life long friends! During my time in New York City I lived by myself in a micro-apartment and got to see about twelve shows. The program splits students into two groups based on their age, the older group is geared a bit more towards college auditions. Some of the unique opportunities Actor Therapy offered was voice lessons, Arts + Biz with RSO, info sessions with college reps (last year we chatted with the University of Michigan, Baldwin Wallace, Texas State, Pace), and a final showcase. For me, it helped me feel prepared for the college audition process. I got to work monologues with JV Mercanti (Pace Acting; casting director) and Kerstin Anderson (My Fair Lady, The Sound of Music) and songs with Lindsay Mendez (performer) , Ryan Scott Oliver (composer) and Stephen Sposito (Associate Director of Wicked, Shrek and Book of Morman). In addition I was able to masterclass songs/observe others with Ben Fankhauser, Jessie Mueller, Derek Klena, Krysta Rodriguez and more. I took daily dance with Ahmad Simmons (Hadestown, West Side Story) and Bethany Tesarck (Pace MT, The Diana Musical). I learned a lot about style in dance and the power of the eyes. In addition to all of this, a few perks of the program were tickets to two different shows and headshots taken by MurphyMade (look them up!). The final showcase was such a great experience for me! We performed song cuts for three casting agencies and received feedback from them afterwards. The two weeks changed me in ways I never expected! I came out more confident and ready to tackle college auditions. I also was able to build a network of mentors and amazing friends. I definitely recommend this summer program, you get to learn about college and industry aspects of musical theatre!
WHERE? New York City (NYU)
WHEN? tbh HOW? Digital Audition
Avalible Programs: Vocal Performance in Music Theatre, Dance, Brass, Jazz Improv, Piano, Percussion, Strings, Woodwind, Screen Scoring, Songwriting, Music Business, Music Technology, Music Education, Educational Theatre, Art (July 5- August 1), and Music Therapy
WHERE? AnnArbor, Michigan (University of Michigan campus) WHEN? Sessions between June 28-August 1 HOW? Digital Audition (https://app.getacceptd.com/mpulse)
APPLICATION DEADLINE? Feb 1 (except musical theatre Jan 14)
Available Programs: Center Stage Strings, Clarinet, Dance, Flute, Harp, Jazz, Musical Theatre, Saxophone, Theatre & Drama and Vocal 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.
During the MPulse sessions, students have the opportunity to meet with SMTD admissions counselors in an informational meeting devoted to the application and audition process.
Participants’ daily schedules include work with distinguished University of Michigan faculty and alumni as well as time to experience campus life in Ann Arbor. More information about the application process and tuition & scholarships is available. For any other questions, please contact MPulse.”
CHRISTIAN'S (MT’20) EXPERIENCE: MPULSE at the University of Michigan is great for a musical theatre who wants an emphasis in acting training. At this intensive, I was able to workshop many different songs and monologues with currently faculty. I was able to partake in a scene and song analysis class which parallels a course taken in a Bachelor of Fine Arts. I was able to take many movements classes with professors to feel comfortable in the body of a character. I was able to live in the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance’s dorms at Bursley Hall with many different majors including instrumentalists and dancers. Students were given much freedom to explore the North Campus area. I was able to see various different showcases including those for pianists, saxophonists, and contemporary dancers. I was able to choose an elective to take with a free period I had, where I chose to take a stage combat class taught by the professor of this class at Michigan. I got to also spend a day in the film actors’ class to learn how many of the Michigan alumni make their way to the big screen. The showcase of this program was attended by many of the parents of participants and faculty of Michigan. I also had the opportunity to talk to the incoming Musical Theatre freshman class about why they chose Michigan and various auditioning tips. This intensive was so effective because of the small number of students accepted into it and the amount of personalized attention each student. University of Michigan is a top program for BFAs in Musical Theatre and Acting. Many of the students in this intensive continue their education at UMich after attending this program.
WHERE? San Marcos (TXST Campus)
WHEN? June 5-21
HOW? Digital Audition
APPLICATION DEADLINE? February 21
Available Programs: Musical Theatre
“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.
During NEXUS students experience two weeks of intensive training at the university’s state-of-the-art facilities. The campus is set in the idyllic Hill Country of Texas. We will accept up to 60 students per year in this highly sought after summer intensive, which prepares them for the demands of a rigorous four-year training program.
The intensive curriculum is based on Texas State’s highly respected, nationally recognized BFA musical theater program and will be taught by Texas State’s esteemed faculty. Texas State faculty is made up of working professionals with credits that span Broadway, off Broadway, film, television, national tours and international tours, recording, radio, voice-overs, television commercials and much more. Our faculty members work together to fully integrate all aspects of the curriculum with a focus on the health of the performer physically, vocally and mentally. Our curriculum has a cutting edge, outside the box approach and was designed by Broadway professionals to train future Broadway professionals.”
CLAIRE’S (MT’20) EXPERIENCE: I had a very positive experience at NEXUS! The intensive is two weeks long and the jam-packed routine of the intensive makes you feel like you’re a real student at Texas State attending a daily rigorous class schedule, especially because you stay in the dorms that the Texas State students live in. I received equally fantastic training in voice, acting, and dance. I personally found that the dance classes/ masterclasses were very eye opening and helped me improve immensely. Particularly, the Tyler Hanes masterclass taught me how to sequence in a fast- paced mock dance audition, which is a skill that I will carry with me to college auditions. The faculty that work with the students are all extremely supportive and create a very safe space to work. Along with performance, there are several meditation and mental health courses that we took, which is a vital idea to be aware of in the musical theatre industry. I really appreciated how the classes and faculty really pushed me to take risks to be the best performer I can possibly be. The intensive also physically pushed me to stay in shape and maintain a healthy, full, and energetic routine. Students that attend this intensive come from all over the country, and there were even two students from Mexico that year. The intensive taught me so much and I highly recommend auditioning!
WHERE? Cincinnati, Ohio (University of Cincinnati campus)
WHEN? June 15-June 27
HOW? Digital Audition (https://app.getacceptd.com/ccm)
APPLICATION DEADLINE? March 15 (April 15 for Acting)
Available Programs: Piano, Jazz, Acting, Ballet, Musical Theatre and Voice.
“Spend one to two weeks surrounded by peers from throughout the nation who share your passion, excitement and dreams. CCM offers an unparalleled immersive experience, allowing you to explore the arts and learn from the best. With programs for high school students interested in everything from musical theatre to jazz, studying in the summer has never been this much fun.”
WHERE? Boston (Emerson campus)
WHEN? July 5 - August 9 (most programs) HOW? Digital Portfolio/Audition APPLICATION DEADLINE? February 1 (Priority), May 1 (Final)
Available Programs: Acting, Creative Writing, Design/Technology for Stage & Screen, Digital Filmmakers, eSports, 16mm Filmmakers, Journalism, Musical Theatre, Politics, Activism & Leadership, Sports Communications, TV Writing & Production, emersonWRITES.
“Pre-College offers challenging one-, three- and five-week summer programs for high school students. Programs are intensive, fun, and designed to teach students competitive, practical skills in one academic area of communication and the arts. A few select programs can also be completed for academic credit.
As a Pre-College student, you can look forward to achieving:
Basic knowledge of current industry practices and requirements
Portfolio or audition materials for your college applications
Skills in project presentations, debating, and research (Journalism and Politics, Activism & Leadership Institutes)”
WHERE? Lawrenceville, NJ (Rider Campus) WHEN? July 5 - August 2 (check each program) HOW? Application/Digital Audition Programs Available: Musical Theatre (July 19 - August 2), Voice (July 19- August 1), Solo Vocal Artist (July 5-July 18), Organ (July 7- July 20), Solo Pianist, Composition (July 21-26) and Contemporary Voice (tbh)
“High school students from around the world attend Rider University’s popular Pre-College Musical Theatre Institute to thrive as a triple threat performer. Refine skills in singing, acting and dancing. Receive professional theatre training by working with and learning from Westminster’s renowned, distinguished faculty and award-winning guest artists. Discover the expectations of multiple theatrical disciplines, from stagecraft to performance. Directed by Trent Blanton, Associate Professor of Theatre in Westminster College of the Arts of Rider University.”
WHERE? Oklahoma City WHEN? June 23-July 26 (check specific program) HOW? Digital Audition
Programs Available: Pre-College Musical Theatre (June 23-July 4), Musical Theater (July 4-June 26), Summer Music (June 23-July 26), Percussion (June 8-12), and Dance (June 10-20 & July 8-18)
“Each summer, students travel from across the United States and around the world to the Oklahoma City University campus to participate in our renowned Summer Music Programs. Our intensive pre-college programs are designed for serious students who want to develop their talents and be challenged by OCU’s rigorous training. Our programs are chiefly directed and instructed by faculty from OCU's outstanding Bass School of Music and TheatreOCU. Participants receive the training that has produced Tony, Grammy and Emmy award winners such as two-time Tony nominee and Tony award winner Kristin Chenoweth, three-time Tony nominee Kelli O’Hara, Emmy nominated Ron Raines, Metropolitan Opera legend Leona Mitchell, award-winning guitarist Edgar Cruz and Grammy & Emmy winner Mason Williams.”
“This summer dance camp is for high school students entering their sophomore, junior, or senior year who are interested in the vast world of Broadway and entertainment dance (high schoolers entering their freshman year of college are also welcome to attend). The 11-day camp experience is packed with over 70 hours of dance classes and rehearsals focusing on multiple dance techniques used in the entertainment industry.”
The Cherubs at Northwestern University
WHERE? Evanston, IL (Northwestern) WHEN? Sessions between June 28-August 15 HOW? Application/Portfolio/Digital Audition APPLICATION DEADLINE? January 17 (priority) & March 13 (regular)
Programs Available: Theatre Arts (June 28-August 1), Musical Theatre (June 28-August 15), Film & Video (June 28- August 1), Debate (sessions between June 26- August 8)
“Our Theatre Arts Division is an immersive, hands-on exploration into stage performance and production. A rigorous combination of classes and rehearsals provide students with a challenging and inspiring learning environment every day for 5 weeks. Working with professional theatre practitioners from around the country, students receive extraordinary training in a collaborative and supportive environment.”
“An intensive five-week course focused on tailoring performances to the screen, students learn how to analyze character, make strong performance choices, and basic production techniques. The production concentration is intended to teach a wide range of practical strategies and tools available for creating film meaning, and to encourage creative approaches to production. Students are instructed in both technical and aesthetic aspects of film-making through hands-on exercises and short projects. All students learn in Northwestern editing Labs. “A good story well told”: Screenwriting students study the fundamentals of storytelling and screenplay structure, gaining an understanding of the most important part of any film: the story. Built on a foundation of practical application and interdisciplinary collaboration, students are exposed to great works of cinema that inform and enrich their final productions.” -
“The Northwestern Debate Institute is an unequaled living-learning experience for high school debaters. The institute will provide an intensive and comprehensive summer debate experience that will prepare debaters for next season and beyond. Northwestern University’s Debate Team has an unparalleled record of success based on the foundations, fundamentals and techniques taught at the Northwestern Debate Institute. Learn the debate principles that have led to 15 NDT championships, 16 final round appearances, 6 top speakers – a record of success unmatched in college debate. Come join our program for rising Sophomore, Juniors and Seniors to learn with and debate against the best competition in the country. Alumni of the Northwestern Debate Institute have gone on to win every major high school tournament.” -
WHERE? Pittsburgh, PA (Carnegie Mellon) WHEN? June 27- August 8 HOW? Application online APPLICATION DEADLINE? March 1 (priority), March 15 (final)
Programs Available: Architecture, Art, Design, Drama, Music, Writing & Culture, along with many others.
“The Carnegie Mellon Pre-College programs provide learning and development opportunities for high school students both inside and outside of the classroom. Our Pre-College program, which mirrors the undergraduate experience, gives rising juniors and seniors the opportunity to explore their interests while receiving instruction from acclaimed Carnegie Mellon faculty and staff. Students will have the opportunity to participate in a robust student experience which is curated by Student Affairs staff and a team of residential staff who are current Carnegie Mellon students. We value the holistic student experience that includes academic and personal development in order to prepare students for the future.”
WHERE? London WHEN? Various courses throughout the summer. HOW? Application/Audition depending on program.
APPLICATION DEADLINE? Check website.
Programs Available: Musical Theatre (July 13-19), Shakespeare (June 1-July 20), and many more.
“There is an acting short course at RADA for everyone; whether you are a complete beginner, want to build on your existing experience, or simply get a taste of our training. Alternatively, come and get creative with us by taking an intensive, practical theatre production course such as lighting design. Learn with RADA's faculty. You can use the filters to find the course that’s right for you.”
MICK & CHASE’S EXPERIENCE: At the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland we studied Stanislavski Realism (very similar to NESA) this consisted of both acting exercises, games, and an experimental performance of the Greek tragedy “Antigone” at the end of the course. Then Chase and I explored Paris and London while waiting for the next course at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. In this time we got tear gassed in a French yellow vest protest and saw 14 plays in 2 weeks. At RADA we studied Shakespeare. This consisted of movement, dance, vocal, singing, verse, and a core Shakespeare class where we studied a play. I studied Much Ado About Nothing and Chase studied A Midsummer Night's Dream. We then did choral work with a small Greek tragedy performance at the end. We were taught by RADA faculty, artists in the London community, and artists from the Globe theatre. During this time we met people from America, France, Dubai, Tokyo, Ireland, Scotland, and Britain.
WHERE? University Park, PA (Penn State Campus) WHEN? June 21- July 4
HOW? Digital Audition
APPLICATION DEADLINE? March 1
Programs Available: Musical Theatre
“The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre is one of several professional training programs offered by the School of Theatre at Penn State. The program’s mission is to train students so that they may compete successfully in the professional musical theatre. Students are recruited nationally and are admitted into this highly selective program after a rigorous audition process. Throughout their time at Penn State, they share a positive, professional, and dedicated attitude as artists and humans that allow them to enter the Industry with the best chance of success.
Our faculty is made up of artists dedicated to both the profession of theatre performance and musical theatre training. As working actors, dancers, music directors, choreographers, and directors, we bring our students years of Broadway, national tour, regional theatre, and film and television experience. With a ratio of eleven faculty to forty-eight students, the training is individualized, specific, and demanding.”
WHERE? Tallahassee, FL (FSU Campus)
WHEN? July 5-25
HOW? Digital audition (getacceptd.com/fsutheatre)
APPLICATION DEADLINE? March 1
Programs Available: Musical Theatre
“The School of Theatre at Florida State University is consistently recognized as one of the finest theatre programs in the nation. Recently named by Playbill as one of the “top ten colleges currently represented by alums in Broadway productions,” eighteen FSU alums are in or will be in shows on Broadway this season.
The Summer Music Theatre Intensive is a summer workshop for high school students entering their junior or senior year who are pursuing music theatre at the collegiate level. The Intensive takes place over a three-week period culminating in a final cabaret that is open to the public.”
NOTE: I spoke to someone who attended this program this past summer! She said you study voice, acting, dance and college rep everyday with FSU faculty and other college professors. Throughout the three weeks you prepare for the showcase. At the end of the program she was able to audition for FSU’s prestigious musical theatre BFA program and was actually accepted! She said it was a great way to get a taste of the faculty and campus. If you are interested in FSU or pursuing musical theatre in college she highly recommends this program!
The Muny/Webster Intensive
WHEN? July 2-21 WHERE? St. Louis, MO HOW? Digital Audition (app.getacceptd.com/munywebster) APPLICATION DEADLINE? January 14
“The Muny, America’s premiere summer musical theater, and Webster University’s Conservatory of Theatre Arts have joined forces to host a summer intensive for emerging young artists. This three-week program in St. Louis, Missouri invites 12 rising junior and senior high school students from across the nation to participate in an immersive theatrical experience like no other!”
CHRISTIAN’S (MT’20) EXPERIENCE: The Muny intensive is unlike any intensive across the United States. At this intensive, 12 students are chosen nationally to participate in a professional production for sold out houses of approximately 11,000 people. The first night of this intensive is used for introduction but students are expected to jump into the production on the second day in St. Louis. These productions include current students from some of the top Musical Theatre programs in the United States as well as current award-winning working professional in New York. The production I was a part of was “Footloose” , directed by two-time Tony Award Winner, Christian Borle. It included some of the original Broadway cast including Ren McCormick cast as the Preacher and a University of Michigan senior Musical Theatre major as Ren. Participants spend 2 weeks full of 9-hour work days on this production for a total of 7 performances. We were also able to see the production before ours, Cinderella, which featured Ashley Brown, Jason Gotay, Mikaela Bennet, and many other Broadway professionals. In the nature of this program, after our 9-hour work day, we were able to participate in Q&A sessions, vocal/dance masterclasses, and enjoy the beautiful St. Louis life. Students eat at local restaurants in St. Louis for the majority of their time here. While the show is showing, students spend the day at the Webster Conservatory participating in instructional classes with their BFA faculty. These classes included analysis, private vocal lessons, improv, musical theatre dance, and audition technique. The amount of friendships you make in this intensive is the most striking aspect of this. The cast and EYA’s get so close putting together this professional show in such a small amount of time and continue to talk long after their time at the Muny has passed.
WHEN? Four sessions July 13-August 9 WHERE? New York City
HOW? Digital Audition
APPLICATION DEADLINE? April 7th
“BAA offers four summer intensives, which are perfect for students who already have a strong technical foundation and who want to expand and refine their skills. You will attend advanced Master Classes in your Major (Voice, Acting or Dance) and you will also choose from more than 30 electives per intensive to develop your “triple threat” talents! Prior to your arrival, you will work with a BAA Student Advisor who specializes in your Major and who will assist you with your preparations. As an intensive student, you will receive a private coaching in your Major, you will attend a Broadway show of your choice, and you will participate a special Master Class taught by a TONY Award winning guest!”
RACHEL SCHOTT (DANCE’20) EXPERIENCE: During the summer, I attended the Broadway Artists Alliance summer session 4. This took place in the last week of July and first week of August. I found this experience to be fun and different. At the beginning of the week you were put into one of three concentrations: dancing, acting, and singing. Before the week started you could pick a master classes with teachers and performers from any concentration you preferred. The point of this was to expand the performers knowledge and experience. Each day we had a meeting in the morning. We talked about the day and what was going on. We then left to our first master class. Every class was an hour and a half. I decided to take voice and dancing classes. I got to learn audition techniques for colleges and auditions in the real world. In the dance master classes we were taught choreography from a broadway show from a performer who was in the show. For example we learned the dance “Too Darn Hot” from Kiss me Kate by Sarah Meahl. After the master classes we would come together and learn a production number to add to our showcase at the end of the week. We would first learn the song and then add choreography and staging. When we were finished we would have lunch. After lunch we would be separated into our own majors and work on pieces for a showcase. At the end of the week we performed on an off-broadway stage to show our parents and agents what we learned in a week. On the last day of the camp they brought in a surprise Tony Award winner, Celia Keenan-Bolger, to talk to us about Broadway, their path, and give tips on how to succeed. I believe this program was a really great experience. It was fun to get a change of something I usually don’t do. I think this program has amazing opportunities for people to put themselves out there and try something new.
I hoped this helped you find a few programs you may be interested in! If you have any questions do not hesitate to reach out to peers, and again, if you have any suggestions or would like to share your experience with NESA feel free to contact us (DM us or email us). This post will regularly be updated with new, unique and fabulous summer programs you can apply to!