If your child is an aspiring thespian, then NYC almost certainly has a theater camp he or she will enjoy. We're maintaining and regularly updating this list with camps in and round the area.
When comparing camps, keep a few things in mind:
- Will your child fit in? Some camps are for serious child actors, while others are much more relaxed.
- What's included? Some programs include Broadway show tickets and extensive interaction with top-tier theater professionals. Not surprisingly, these tend to cost more.
- What's the schedule? Planning can feel like a jigsaw puzzle. We thought about creating a unified time table of offerings to make it easy, but gave up. :(
Admittedly, it's hard to compare camps since they vary so much. Hopefully you'll know someone whose child has attended that camp. Also, feel free to join "Show-Score Parents," our private Facebook group for parents who love theater for their kids.
Please use the comments below to tell us about camps we've missed, so everyone benefits. We also welcome links to other articles that list summer theater camps, and not just in Manhattan -- we have lots of members in other locations
You can also read our Theater Camp Reports, which give you more detailed information on specific camps.
Ages 6 - 17. No audition. $115 - $270 per day, depending on age and program.
Camp Broadway is one of the longest-running day theater camps, with sessions in NYC and across the country. There are three summer programs aimed at different ages, but all include master classes with Broadway artists, Q&A sessions with industry professionals, tickets to a show, and other extras. They've won a special Drama Desk award, and they are fully insured.
Ages 8 - 13 (with other classes for other ages). No audition for most classes. $165 per day.
Broadway Workshop has a wide range of individual and intensive classes designed for the serious child wannabe, as well as a single week in August that's more like a typical "theater camp" (which is the session we used for this article). Other sessions this summer are for kids who have an "extremely strong passion for the performing arts" and include meetings with casting directors and other theater professionals.
Grades 3 - 12. Audition required. $38 - $42 per day, free for some.
This program offers professional theater training for kids aged 8 to 18, and their list of graduates is insane. There are two options for the summer: the Junior Production Intensive and the mainstage production of “Spring Awakening”. Auditions are required and are coming up very soon! It's competitive, but for high schoolers who get into the mainstage show and are chosen as mentors, it's free.
Ages 5 - 18. Most programs don't require an audition. $145 - $175 per day.
A Class Act is an intensive program for kids looking to jumpstart a career on Broadway. Offering classes for kids aged 5 to 18, A Class Act caters to all skill levels, separating its students along these lines. They are open to all, with only their Pre-Professional Program, requiring an audition. They also offer a Willy Wonka Camp with Rebecca O’Sullivan, a lifelong professional singer and actor.
Ages 7-13. No audition required. $600 per two-week session, with discounts available for siblings.
Polaris presents youth-theater productions throughout the year, but the summer camp production does not require an audition. (The other production do.) Recent summer sessions have included productions of "The Lion King" and "Seussical." (Read our full report on this camp!)
Ages 10-18. A telephone interview with parents is required for all campers. For 10 year-olds, an in-person interview is also a must. Most two-week sessions are just over $1,000.
This unique camp for funny kids lets campers write and perform original comic material, and the final performance includes a stand-up set at Gotham Comedy Club. Kids with no performing experience are welcomed to participate. (Read our full report on this camp!)
Ages 4 - 14. No audition required. Most sessions are $100 per day.
TADA! hosts a series of weeklong camps in three locations in Manhattan. You can book as many or as few weeks as you want, and each session has a different theme that culminates in a roughly 20-minute performance. Kids write the scripts, and the final pieces incorporate preexisting songs from musicals.
Ages 10 - 14. Interview, but no audition. $76 per day with generous scholarships.
Over five weeks (July 5 - August 4), a very small group of kids (15 campers max) write and ultimately perform their own hour-long show. They study acting, singing, dancing, and playwriting every day, and enjoy special one-off classes, like puppet making. The cost per day is relatively low, and half of the kids are on scholarships.
Atlantic Acting School - Chelsea
Ages 4 - 18. No audition, except for one program. $140 per day.
Unlike many theater camps, the Atlantic’s acting school is focused on straight plays, not musicals. That makes sense, since the prestigious Atlantic Theater Company was founded by artists like David Mamet and William H. Macy, who are known for their work in non-musical theater. There are multiple programs to choose from, each geared toward different age ranges. Keep in mind that programs vary in duration -- from one to four weeks.
Ages grades 6 - 12. Video audition required. $133 per day.
This intensive training program for the serious musical theater kid offers rigorous three-week classes. A video audition is required. Industry professionals who have taught at the York Musical Theater Training Program include Kerry Butler, John Tartaglia, and Richard Kind.
Applause New York knows you're never too young to dance! Photo by Applause New York
Ages 3 - 18. No audition. $175 per day.
Applause New York runs weekly programs throughout the summer, segregated by narrow age ranges. Programs include a normal mix of various disciplines. They also offer a five-day intensive in the Hamptons in August, though it's by invitation only.
Ages 6 to 11. $575 for "Musical Theater Builders" and $595 for "Instrumental Story Tellers." No audition required.
Creative Stage offers dynamic summer programming for young actors and musicians alike. Musical Theater Builders allows campers to build their own musical over the course of the week, from brainstorming the story to creating the script and song lyrics. Instrumental Story Tellers supports young musicians (kids who already play an instrument or have taken voice lessons) as they create a multi-disciplinary musical revue. Both programs end with a performance for friends and family. Read our full report on this camp!
AROUND THE CITY
Grades K-9. $525 to $1200 depending on the class. No audition required.
Whether your grades K to 4 camper is looking for a fun week of theater games, voice and movement exercises, and musical fun, or your grade 4 to 9 camper is looking for some serious fun with musical theater training, Play On! Studios offers dynamic programming all summer long and in three different locations. Kids create an original show each week to share with friends and family on the final day. Read our full report on this camp!
Ages 3-11 $335 per week or $445 per week depending on the class. No audition required.
Child's Play NY offers classes for children aged 3-11 looking to engage their creativity through active play and theater games. They believe that theater games can help build confidence, compassion and of course creativity! With classes taught by theater professionals, Child's Play NY offers multiple different programs throughout the summer. Child's Play NY also has a video series about activities you can do in your own home to help bring their model of creativity through play right to your living room. Check out all that Child's Play NY has to offer!
OUTSIDE THE CITY
Ages 7-14. No audition required, $700 per session (plus a $40 registration fee)
With two locations in Rockland County, New York, and Rockleigh NJ, Stage Left offers a great summer lineup of six camps built around six different musical productions. Campers play theater games, explore music, dance, and improv, and finish each two-week session with a performance for family and friends. Read our full report on this camp!
Ages Pre-K through grade 12. Most programs do not require auditions. Usually $164 - $190 per day.
Catering to campers aged 4 to 18, USDAN is a well-known arts camp (including theater) with excellent facilities, celebrating its 49th year. USDAN connects its students with actors, directors, playwrights, painters, sculptors, musicians, composers, dancers, poets, and novelists with the goal of producing an original work that campers can perform at the end of the session. Boasting over 1,500 attendees with classes ranging from acting to writing to dancing, USDAN has courses lasting two, four, and seven weeks. It offers a more traditional summer camp feel than its Manhattan contemporaries. Bus transportation from NYC is provided.
Ages 7-14. No audition required, $700 per session (plus a $40 registration fee)
With two locations in Rockland County, New York, Stage Left offers a great summer lineup of six camps built around six different musical productions. Campers play theater games, explore music, dance, and improv, and finish each two-week session with a performance for family and friends. Read our full report on this camp!
Do you have experience with any of these camps? Tell us how it went for you and your kids below!
What camps did we miss? PLEASE add them in the comments below!