May 28, 2009


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This one time at theater camp...
Find summer programs for your performer or artist
By Heidi Masek

If you have a budding thespian in your midst, there are lots of theater camps around the area to consider this summer. For the most part, they conclude with a performance for friends and family. Some camps include a visit or ticket to a performance at that venue.

Usually, kids are able to try behind-the-scenes work, as well as acting, singing or dancing — or they can hone those skills. Most offer plenty to keep campers busy inside the theater and lots of ways to have fun — but there aren’t many that include that traditional outdoor aspect that can be synonymous with the idea of summer camp. Check for discounts for siblings, or registering for multiple sessions. Contact the organization for details, updates and registration deadlines.

• The Acting Loft is offering three two-week sessions for age 5 to 16, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., at 516 Pine St., Manchester ($300). The Tales of Hans Christian Anderson, which focuses on acting, runs from July 6 to July 17. The Secret Garden session is sold out. The Velveteen Rabbit, with a dance focus, runs from Aug. 3 through Aug. 14. It looks like a good deal for working parents — there are family and multi-session discounts, the Acting Loft provides receipts to deduct the camps as childcare expenses from your taxes, there are extended care options, and financial aid is available for Manchester residents through a Manchester City Improvement Project Grant. See or call 666-5999 to register.

The Acting Loft’s seven-week “Storytime Theatre” educational performance intensive is modeled on college internship programs. Twelve performers (age 13 to 19) are selected for a repertory group that performs and produces six children’s theater pieces. Call 666-5999 or e-mail for Storytime Theatre details.  

• For a good value, check out programs from professional company Yellow Taxi Productions. Founding artistic director Suzanne Delle said she partners with Nashua Parks and Recreation to keep fees low. Growing up with a single mom, Delle knew there was no way her mother could pay for pricey theater camp programs. A week costs $90 for Nashua residents, $130 for nonresidents. The two-week session costs $150 for Nashua residents and $190 for nonresidents. YTP camp instructors are professionals with theater degrees, including Delle.

Camps are held at Nashua High School South, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. YTP can’t offer extended care, although they understand the challenge to working parents. “We have grandparents picking up kids,” Delle said.

“Improv by the Book,” for ages 10 to 12, runs from July 6 through July 10 and explores improvisation techniques using a popular children’s book. “Beginning Musical Theatre” for ages 6 to 9 is July 13 through July 17 and helps kids “focus that creative energy.” “Acting I for Girls,” for ages 11 through 15, runs from July 13 through July 24, and “Acting for Everybody,” for ages 9 to 12, runs from Aug. 3 through Aug. 7. Their “Musical Theatre Workshop” for ages 13 through 17 runs from Aug. 10 through Aug. 14. Visit for descriptions and instructor bios. Call City of Nashua Parks and Recreation at 589-3370, or see for camp registration. 

• Camp Sargent on Lake Naticook in Merrimack is offering two four-week sessions of “Performing Arts Camp,” as a specialty program at this YMCA camp. Space is available and this isn’t a musical theater camp, said Tiffany Joslin, who directs the sessions. Drama games, theater history, acting techniques and field trips are involved. Campers work on performing arts from about 9 a.m. to noon, then join outdoor camp activities after lunch.

A session for first- through third-graders runs from June 29 through July 24. The second session, for fourth- through seventh-graders, is July 27 through Aug. 21 ($600 per session for members, $900 for nonmembers). Camp runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., but campers can be dropped off as early as 7 a.m., and as late as 6 p.m. for extended care. A family barbecue and performance close each session. Visit, or call 689-2433.

• Riverbend School of Theater Arts, a program of the Boys & Girls Club of Souhegan Valley in Milford, offers a summer theater intensive for ages 10 through 14 from July 6 through July 17, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. ($330). Extended care is available starting at 7 a.m., and ending at 6 p.m. Students “write, cast, direct, rehearse and perform their play. No acting experience required.” Riverbend is led by Canadian actress and producer Toby Tarnow. Call 672-1002 or visit

• Peacock Players’ popular summer camp sessions are July 6 through July 24, and July 27 through Aug. 14, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., at Rivier College, 450 South Main St. in Nashua. Sessions close with a show at the 14 Court. St. theater. Sessions cost $475 per session, with discounts available. Visit for details, and contact Dalisa Childs at 889-2330 ext. 93 or to register.

• Majestic Academy of Dramatic Arts at 281Cartier St. in Manchester is splitting its first session, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, running from July 6 through July 17, into a half-day camp for ages 4 to 7 ($175), and a full day, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., for ages 8 to 17 ($275). Their other camps are full day for ages 8 to 17 ($275). “Majestic Making of the Band 2” is July 20 through July 31, and “The Enchantment of Beauty and the Beast” runs from Aug. 3 through Aug. 14. Scholarships are available. Visit or call 669-7469.

• Camps are still taking registration at the Palace Theatre, 80 Hanover St. in Manchester, for second- through sixth-graders, and fourth- through eighth-graders, which run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. “Wild West Camp” runs from June 29 through July 10; “Camp Rock!” from July 13 through July 24; “Witchcraft and Wizardry Camp” from July 27 through Aug. 7; and “Surf’s Up! Beach Camp” from Aug. 10 through Aug. 21 ($375-$425). Financial aid is available. Visit or call 668-5588.

• The new community group S.P.A.T.S., specializing in the Performing Arts, Theatre and Stagecraft, holds its first camps with How to Eat Like a Child from June 22 through July 3, A Midsummer Night’s Dream from July 6 through July 17, and Prince Street Players Classic: Pinocchio from July 20 through July 31 ($300). Camp is held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Church of The Transfiguration in Derry, with Fridays at Adams Memorial Opera House for tech rehearsal and a final performance. E-mail Jude Bascom at Scholarships are available.

• The Derryfield School, a private day school in Manchester, holds theater camps for ages 8 to 16, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., in two sessions: July 6 through July 17, and July 27 through Aug. 7 ($450). Call 669-4524 or visit

• Kids Coop Theatre summer camp “Hollywood on Broadway,” (as in: the camp venue of Adams Memorial Opera House is at 29 West Broadway in Derry) is sold out, according to There’s space in “Magic to Do,” which runs from Aug. 10 through Aug. 14, from 9 a.m., to 4 p.m., with early drop-off and late pick-up available ($180). Visit

Young musicians
This summer you can find a few camps at community music schools for your youngster, and plenty of ways to continue lessons, take a workshop, or try something new — even as an adult.

• The Manchester Community Music School is still accepting registration for programs including the “Joy of Music” camp running from July 20 through July 24, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ($190). Kids entering grades two through five learn about music and instruments and also enjoy outdoor play. 

Many MCMS music classes or workshops are concentrated into a few consecutive days. Jazz camp runs from July 6 through July 10, from 9 a.m. to noon, for students entering sixth through 10th grade ($150).

“The biggest addition for this summer is the music technology lab,” said CEO Suzanne Barr. Students can learn about recording and mixing music, and use the lab for music composition. There are class opportunities for those serious about music engineering and for casual interest — such as using Apple’s GarageBand program. Summer programs are available for all ages, including adults. The catalog is at; visit them at 2291 Elm St. in Manchester or call 644-4548.

• Nashua Community Music School’s one-week sessions this summer include “Band Camp & Chamber Music Festival,” from July 20 through July 24. It’s for flute, clarinet, saxophone, oboe, trumpet, French horn, trombone and tuba students aged 10 to 15. “Hansel & Gretel: From the Studio to the Stage,” for ages 5 to 10, is from July 27 through July 31. Piano students aged 10 to 15 can join “Piano Festival,” which runs Aug. 3 through Aug. 7. “Flute Festival” for flutists in sixth through 12th grade includes tips on auditioning for all-state competitions. The camp fee is $275 before June 1, $300 after, and days run from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Aftercare is available until 6 p.m. for $5 per day. See for details. Nashua Community Music School is at 5 Pine St. Extension in Nashua (881-7030).

• “Creative Arts Camp” teaches about “world culture, geography and history through singing, dancing and art-making” at the Concord Community Music School. For campers entering first through sixth grade, it runs from July 13 through July 24, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. ($495). Extended care is available from 8 to 9 a.m. and from 4 to 5 p.m., for an extra $50 per week, or $15 per day. Teens and adults can participate in jazz camp from July 6 through July 10, from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., with David Tonkin, John Faggiano, Richard Gardzina and Don Williams.

Other CCMS summer offerings include “Community Sings” on Tuesdays at 7 p.m. from June 30 through July 28, and steel drum band classes for teens and adults. Visit, call 228-1196 or visit 23 Wall St. in Concord. — Compiled by Heidi Masek

Performing artists
• Bedford Youth Performing Company has a lot more than camp going on. “We’re a performing arts school so we offer programs in music, dance and theater,” said director Ann Davison. Each division has summer camps and classes. There’s also a licensed preschool with a summer session. BYPC offers extended care for camps for the first time this year. Spaces are still available for almost all camps, Davison said.

Some offerings are “Rock Band” camp, Preschool Music Camp, Dance Camp, Voice Camp, “Camp Rock Camp,” and “High School Musical 2.” For all of the options, visit, call 472-3894, or visit BYPC at 155 Route 101 in Bedford. Fees range up to about $250, and discounts are available.

• Space is available in the various camps at MusicalArts Academy of Music & Dance, 30 Linden St. in Exeter and 66 3rd St. Dover (778-4862, They offer a popular “Rock Band Summer School” for ages 6 through 18 from 9 a.m. to noon from July 13 through July 17 in Exeter, and from July 27 through July 31 in Dover ($200). Kids are put in groups of five in band settings, and sometimes write and record. “It’s pretty awesome what they can accomplish just in a week,” said director Katherine Roberts.

“Willy Wonka” theater camp is from July 20 through Aug. 7 in Exeter and “Through the Looking Glass” from June 29 through July 10 in Dover for ages 8 to 14, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. ($400-$575). Extended care is available. You can also find dance camps for young children, and dance and music classes at MusicalArts this summer. 

• Petit Papillon School of Ballet holds summer dance intensives from July 6 through July 17 for ages 9 through 18, at the Green Street Community Center, 39 Green St. in Concord, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Students will study ballet, modern, jazz, hip-hop, folk, theater, improvisation, yoga and pilates. Call 224-6463, 746-2990 or see Fees are $200 per week.

• Londonderry Dance Academy is offering “Triple Threat Camp” for age 6 through 17, from July 6 through July 24, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., ($295-$595) at Londonderry Dance Academy, 21 Buttrick Road in Londonderry (432–0032, After care is available. Students work on acting, theater dance and voice — and enjoy daily open swim.

Young visual artists
• The Currier Center of Art at 180 Pearl St. in Manchester (near the Currier Museum of Art) has six one-week sessions of art camps for kids with themes like “Forces of Nature!” from July 6 through July 10 ($126-$250).

“ArtVentures! for Pre-Teens” are one-week half-day programs, like “Frank Lloyd Wright in Fused Glass” from July 13 through July 17, from 1 to 4 p.m. ($207-$230). Week-long workshops for teens and adults are also available. Call 669-6144 ext. 122 or visit

• Kimball-Jenkins School of Art at 266 North Main St. in Concord, offers one-week art camps for $200. Fairy tale-themed “Knights and Princesses” runs from July 6 through July 10. “Ancient Civilizations” starts July 13. “World Cultures” runs from July 20 through July 24; “Earth Week” from July 27 through July 31; “Travel Safari” from Aug. 3 through Aug. 7; “Picasso and the Greats” from Aug. 10 through Aug. 14; and “Superstars and Superheroes” Aug. 17 through Aug. 21. Camp is from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., but extended care is available until 6:30 p.m., with early drop-off starting at 8 a.m., said Ryan Linehan. There are lots of breaks for things like outdoor games. Class sizes are limited to 10 students per teacher separated by age group. Usually, there are about 40 campers per week. Call 225-3932 for details, or visit

College prep
There are some selective summer programs for teens around including Peacock Players’ Young Company and Andy’s Summer Playhouse in Wilton, but many finished auditions a while ago. However, there are options available for those serious about a career in performing or visual arts.

• You can still earn college credit through a one-week overnight Palace Theatre “Professional Theatre Camp” at Chester College of New England. Acting, voice, dance and audition techniques are taught with access to industry professionals. Students watch professional theater and rehearsals in the evenings. It’s Aug. 2 through Aug. 8, at Chester’s campus in Chester ($1,200). Visit or call 668-5588.

• BYPC offered a somewhat similar intensive last summer, but is trying a more flexible approach this year. From June 29 through Aug. 17, the “Summer BYPC Company Program” includes six two-hour acting/performance classes, an unlimited dance class pass, five 30-minute private voice lessons and more for $350. It’s by audition or invitation.

• High school students can build their portfolios and earn college credit through the New Hampshire Institute of Art Pre-College Summer Program, an overnight program held at the Manchester BFA-granting institute from July 5 through July 17 ($1,950). Students choose three classes in fine and liberal arts, go on field trips and hear artist lectures, and have open studio time in the evenings. Courses available include printmaking, digital illustration, ceramics and portfolio drawing. Scholarships are available. Download information and a registration form at or call 623-0313.

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