Skip to content

Act Now - deadline approaching for Festival Arts camps

'Students feel a sense of belonging and self-discovery' - Adamson

The Stratford Festival’s Theatre Arts Camp is set to welcome another class of students this summer, so it won’t be long before the next generation of hopeful actors, directors and producers once again populate the world-famous theatre company’s halls.

The Camp has been running for more than 20 years (save for an in-person hiatus during the pandemic), and it offers something unique on the North American theatre scene: an immersive learning experience for students in Theatre Foundations, Musical Theatre, Shakespeare, Theatre Production and Playwriting.

Lois Adamson, the Festival’s director of education, said that the camps are a way of offering a similar experience to a younger generation that their parents may have enjoyed when they visit Stratford for shows.

“We give youth the chance to come here as a type of hands-on retreat, letting them create their own memories of what the Festival has to offer,” she said. “The goals are to have students come, feel a sense of belonging and learn about theatre arts for themselves. And it’s not about becoming great right away - we put process before product at our camps.”

For example, students in the Theatre Production sessions will see first-hand what goes on behind the scenes of a play as they work and observe from some of the Festival’s directors, actors and producers. By getting to shadow the pros, Adamson said the learning environment gives them more than just the technical know-how.

“Like I said, it’s a sense of belonging and self-discovery for those who are interested in the arts - camp attendees have that ‘time to become’ they might not have somewhere else, and it really shows them what doors can open for them if they choose this path,” she said. “We might get students here who are used to an arts community, and then we might get ones where it’s not as big where they live so they’re getting an up close look at it for the first time.”

Adamson confirmed that there are previous campers who now work at the Festival in some capacity, but she made sure to point out that the camps are not considered a training program for future employment. Think of it as more of a portal to what could be.

“Students here have that door opened for them and it prompts them to explore those pathways,” she said. “And the staff here really enjoys having the kids come in - they bring a real infusion of energy and we love that around here.”

Students come from as far away as British Columbia and the United States, and some of the sessions have already reached their capacity. The application deadline for this summer’s sessions is Saturday, June 1. Grade 7-8 students can register for Theatre Foundations or Musical Theatre Focus, while high schoolers can sign up for Shakespeare Intensive or Musical Theatre Intensive. Playwriting is open to students grades 8-12. The camps run one or two weeks, depending on the session, and financial assistance is available thanks to The Nancy and George Taylor Theatre Arts Camp Financial Assistance Program.

Anyone interested in these camps can contact the Stratford Festival at [email protected].

Matt Harris

About the Author: Matt Harris

Matt Harris has been a journalist for more than 20 years and is excited to join the StratfordToday team and bring more of the city's colourful stories to your attention
Read more

Reader Feedback