Stage conferences can help teens understand how to play a role.

Teen Acting Camps in Ontario, Canada

by Jo Pick

Summer acting camps are an excellent way for teens to gain confidence and explore the theatrical industry. Camps help beginning actors overcome stage fright and they can help experienced teens overcome inhibitions so they play with their assignments until they master them. Camps also provide excellent networking opportunities. The New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts recommends that campers bring business cards to camp. The front of the card should contain a head shot, name and contact information, and the back should be left blank for notes.

1. Centauri Summer Arts Camp

Centauri is a coed camp for 9- to 18-year-olds in the Niagara region of Ontario. Three two-week sessions run from June 30 to Aug. 10, and one eight-day session from Aug. 11 to 18. Each session, campers choose one of 10 specialty programs based on their interests and ages. Specialty programs can be found in acting, dance, fine art, film production, music, musical theater, stage combat and writing. Specialty programs run for four hours a day in sessions one to three, and for five hours a day in session four. During their subsequent recreation time, campers either sample other specialties or engage in sports activities. In the evenings, talent shows, theme suppers, banquets, festivals, murder mystery nights and game shows take center stage. The cost covers lodging, food and programming. Parents should inquire about discounts for early registration, siblings and multiple sessions.

2. Ryerson Teen Acting Academy

The Ryerson Camp for 13- to 18-year-olds is on the campus of Ryerson University in Toronto. This coed day camp runs for three weeks in August. The camp has courses in acting, writing for stage and screen, Shakespeare, mask work, audition technique, movement, radio work, voice and speech, and improvisation. The session concludes with a final performance on Saturday. All other activities occur on weekdays.

3. Young People's Theatre (YPT) Senior Company

The YPT Senior Company is a coed day camp for 13- to 18-year-olds in Toronto. The camp has three programs. In the advanced drama creation program, teens are trained in improvisation, script-making, movement and character development. In the film-making program, campers work on visual storytelling, script writing, and editing with software such as iMovie and Final Cut Pro. Teens in the music theater program learn how to use tune, tempo, rhyme and rhythm while acting. The programs run for nine or 10 days during July and August. The starting dates vary, but all programs run during weekdays.

4. Magnus Theatre Teen Camp

Magnus Theatre is the professional theater of northwestern Ontario. Its coed day camp for 13- to 18-year-olds aims to stimulate campers' imagination, promote self-expression, develop self-confidence, and provide an environment where friendships develop. Teens work on acting techniques, character development, voice, movement and improvisation. The camp is in July.

5. Camp Tamakwa

Camp Tamakwa's alumni include Chevy Chase, Gilda Radner and Sam Raimi. Tamakwa offers many activities, but its arts program is one of the highlights. Kids learn to act and sing in the musical theater program. They learn to operate sound systems in the music and recording studio. In the Camp TV/Video Production program, campers write scripts for short stories or commercials, create costumes and sets, perform skits and videotape all of it. Its residential program for 10- to 16-year-olds runs from June 25 to July 20, and from July 21 to Aug. 17. The camp is in Ontario's Algonquin Provincial Park.

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