Getting a child involved in theater can increase their confidence, self-esteem and creativity. Young kids love to play make-believe and dress up in costumes, and older kids enjoy the challenge of developing characters, learning songs and dances, and performing in a public setting. These summer theater programs give kids a chance to learn theatrical skills from experienced teachers, and will keep them away from the TV and video games for at least a few days.
Wild Swan Theater
410 S. Maple Rd.
Ann Arbor, MI 48103
Hours: vary by program
Price: $80 to $200, depending on session
The Wild Swan Theater focuses on families, endeavoring to provide a quality theatrical experience that is accessible to everyone. In addition to stage productions, Wild Swan hosts a summer youth program for kids age 4 through eighth grade. Camp DoYaWanna, as the program is called, offers a variety of week-long sessions that encourage children to use their imagination and expand their creativity. Whether it’s bringing a favorite children’s book to life on stage, or exploring dramatic styles from other countries, kids will enjoy Camp DoYaWanna’s emphasis on fostering success and fun for every child.
Fine Arts Summer Program
Downriver Youth Performing Arts Center
2447 W. Jefferson
Trenton, MI 48183
Hours: June 26 to Aug. 3 daily – 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Price: $70 to $125/$15 membership fee
DYPAC’s summer program offers kids ages 5 to 19 instruction in a wide range of theatrical, vocal and artistic topics. Kids who dream of being on stage may choose from a variety of acting, drama, dance, choreography, costume and make-up classes. Other topics include writing, painting, drawing, science and photography. Kids may take one class or multiple classes per day, with a grand finale performance at the end of the six-week session. Pre- and post-camp child care is available for an additional fee, to accommodate parents who work during the day.
Related: Best Theater for Kids in Detroit
Farmington Players Barn Theater
32332 W. 12 Mile Rd.
Farmington Hills, MI 48334
Hours: July 16 to 20 – 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Price: $180 residents/$190 non-residents
Tweens and teens entering sixth through 12th grades will have a blast taking their favorite TV show to the stage with the Farmington Hills Special Services’ Glee Camp. Started in 2011, the Glee Camp has been a hit with kids and parents alike. The week-long program includes both group and individual sessions for vocal instructions, choreography and stage performance. The last day of class includes a performance on stage at the Farmington Players Barn Theater. Farmington HIlls Special Services also offers theater, singing and art classes as part of its summer youth program.
Marquis Theatre Day Camp
135 E. Main
Northville, MI 48167
Hours: vary by camp
Price: $385 per two-week session
The historic Marquis Theatre in downtown Northville is well known for its Children’s Theatre performances. During the summer, kids ages 8 to 14 can participate in the theater’s day camp, with an opportunity to audition for the professional productions if they choose. The camp incorporates fun and games with improvisation, singing and stage instruction to teach kids a variety of theatrical skills in a class set to popular Broadway music. Camp ends with an evening showcase performance. The Marquis also offers a day camp for kids ages 6 to 7, as well as advanced and elite camps for experienced actors ages 9 to 15, or 11 to 16.
Roeper Summer Stock Theatre
The Roeper School
1051 Oakland Ave.
Birmingham, MI 48009
Hours: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; dates vary by session
Price: $480 for two-week session/$980 for four-week session
The Roeper School branches out in the summer months to put on a summer stock theatre program for interested students. A two-week junior program is offered in two sessions: first through third grade, or fourth through sixth grade. The younger session includes classes in singing, dance and acting interspersed with games, activities and crafts. Older juniors start to learn about character development, improvisation and movement. Sixth through 12th graders participate in a four-week program that is more formalized, directed toward teaching and developing specific skills. Each program includes a final performance at the end of the session. The Roeper School also offers a traditional day camp for kids ages 3 to 12, and specialty camps in science, dance, forensics, acting and clay.
Related: Best Summer Camps in Michigan
Jennifer Walker is a freelance writer living in Detroit. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in animal science from Michigan State University. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.