If you have been following me at all lately, it’s no secret that I absolutely love the theatre. I will find any opportunity to see a good live performance. Lucky for me, my middle son follows very closely in my footsteps. He loves acting, singing, dancing and watching a great stage production. While touring the Orlando Reperatory Theatre a few months back with other media, I learned more about the venue’s summer programs. It sparked a curiosity inside me and I wanted to see if I could get Aaryn involved. After some discussion, it was settled. Aaryn was enrolled in one of the fantastic summer theatre camps being held on the campus of the REP.
We were provided enrollment for our son into one summer workshop in exchange for our honest review and promotion of the class. The opinions expressed, however, are honestly and truly 100% mine and Aaryn’s alone. This post does contain affiliate links. Please see my Disclosure policy for more information.
Catching the Theatre Bug
Aaryn caught the bug back in his freshman year of high school. Well, I guess in a way it could be argued that he caught it back in elementary school. At that point, he did participate in a drama club after school. If you could believe it, his first role was to play that of a crayon.
However, I’d be careful about bringing that up to him. His feelings are a little “grey” on the subject. (ahem).
Over the course of the last three years, Aaryn has had the privilege of participating in numerous well-produced performances. However, he has never had the opportunity to enjoy any specialized training ~ until now.
The Orlando Repertory Theatre Summer Camps
The REP hosts camps, workshops and productions throughout the entire summer. They invite children from preschool age on up through high school to join. Whether it’s working on stage presence, vocal technique, self confidence or putting together an entire production, the REP has a variety of opportunities to help students strengthen their theatrical skills and interests.
Some classes have themes, such as Aladdin, The Lion King or Harry Potter. Others are geared towards preparing students for actual theatrical auditions.
Aaryn and I took some time to review what classes and workshops were being offered on the website. He found himself consistently returning to an interest in the Musical Theatre Intensive. Having had moderate roles in productions such as Kiss Me Kate, The Pajama Game and Chicago (The High School Edition), he is always interested in improving upon the skills needed to perform well in musical productions.
Cost of the Summer Theatre Camp Sessions
This is always the kicker for summer camps, right? How much out of pocket is this going to cost us? Well, when we were researching the classes, we saw a variety of tuition prices. They seemed to vary based on how many hours each class was, how many days it met and if there were any extras involved ~ which makes perfect sense. For instance, two hour workshops for preschoolers seem to average about $135, while most week long classes average between $235 and $280. I don’t think I saw a class over $285, but I’m sure the summer long production and the technical theatre class that parallels it would have a greater cost.
However, it should be noted that the REP strives to make its programming accessible for all patrons and students. Therefore, scholarships or tuition assistance may be available. If this is something for which you think your child would qualify, you can find out more information about financial aid by clicking here: https://www.orlandorep.com/youth-academy/financial-aid/
What is Summer Theatre Camp Like at REP?
Some classes and workshops are in session all day – perhaps 9 am to 4 pm. Those designed for preschoolers are much shorter and others are perhaps about five to seven hours in length. Some are one week, others are two weeks. The summer stock production is in session the whole summer. The workshop in which Aaryn was enrolled met from 9 am until 2 pm for one five-day week.
The procedure upon arrival is to have parents sign in their children between 8:45 am and 9:00 am. They would return later that day and sign them out at the appropriate time (safety first and always!!). On the other hand, if your student is about 16 (Aaryn, for instance), they can sign themselves in and out of the class once a parent has signed a waiver granting permission for the student to do so.
The students work hard for a few hours together and then break for lunch about midday. The REP does not provide lunch, so the students are encouraged to bring something nutritious from home. They are given approximately a half hour to sit back, relax and enjoy their meals. After that, they are right back to training!
FOOD ALLERGY FAMILIES ~ Check this out!
You are going to love this! On the program paperwork, it specifically requests that students do all they can to avoid bringing any kind of foods that contain nuts (peanuts, tree nuts) in their lunch. If they do happen to bring nut-containing foods, they are kindly asked to sit in a designated area together so as to prevent potentially causing someone with an allergy to react.
While nuts are the only food mentioned on the form at current, I am fairly confident (as a food allergy mama) that the team at the REP would do all they could to keep kiddos with other food allergies safe, as well.
The Musical Theatre Intensive Class
Okay, so let’s talk training!!! The class in which Aaryn was enrolled was designed to better define the student’s singing, dancing and stage presence during musical productions. After five days of rigorous vocal training and choreography work, the small group of budding actors / actresses gained confidence, tightened up their movements and learned how to express themselves freely on stage.
Their assignment that week was to learn three complete songs. Mr. Robby, their voice coach, carried them through vocal exercises and taught them techniques to help their own voices thrive. In addition, Mr. Jeremiah, their dance instructor, showed them how to be graceful in their choreographed movements. He also focused on teaching them how to let loose and express themselves freely.
Finally, the end of the week-long training arrived. It was time to let family members see what they had learned. We were invited to sit in the Universal Orlando Foundation Theatre audience and watch the culmination of all that hard work.
After watching them warm up their voices and stretch out their limbs, we watched them perform “Come Alive,” (The Greatest Showman) “You Will Be Found,” (Dear Evan Hansen) and “Footloose” (do I really need to say?).
As a mom, I was in shock and awe. My son, who had purposely kept the details of his training under wraps, made me proud. He showed off moves I didn’t know he could do. I think he even shocked himself that week, which is such a win all around. Sometimes teens just don’t know what they are capable of accomplishing until they are placed in a situation where they are pushed just a little with support.
Whether it was a handstand, carrying another actor on his shoulders, performing dance moves he wasn’t even aware he could do or singing a short solo in a song ~ my son showed me how much he loved performing on the stage that day.
Added Bonus to Summer Theatre Camp!
I’m over the moon to see Aaryn’s increased level of confidence, skill and happiness. However, it doesn’t end there. I am also thrilled that he was able to meet more like-minded teens. They may not go to school together, but they may see each other at the Applause Awards or at another production in town. So, not only did they learn and grow as actors, but the troupe grew together as friends.
It Doesn’t End With Summer!
The REP hosts activities, workshops, productions and more all year long!! You can read more about what they do in my post: Orlando Repertory Theatre: Keeping Kids in Mind!
Did you know this??? In addition to the above, the REP also hosts birthday parties and special events!! Be sure to check out their website for more details!
Would I recommend the Orlando Repertory Theatre Summer Workshops?
Beyond a shadow of a doubt, without hesitation, I would recommend the theatre workshops at The Orlando Repertory Theatre for your kiddos. Summer Camp registration is ongoing. Classes close enrollment the Friday before the new week begins, so be sure to check out the site for more details!!
I would say to have them ready to meet a broad range of talent and to work hard. However, most importantly, I would encourage them to be ready to expand their own theatrical horizons and enjoy time with others who have the same passion and desires as they do!
IF YOU HAVE ANY MORE QUESTIONS, DO NOT HESITATE TO VISIT THEIR WEBSITE AT HTTPS://WWW.ORLANDOREP.COM/
ORLANDO REPORTARORY THEATRE:
- Address: 1001 E Princeton St, Orlando, FL 32803
- Phone: (407) 896-7365 / (407) 897-3284
- Email: [email protected]