Local theater companies offer summer camps for children of every age | Courtesy Charleston Stage

The summer arts season is typically quiet as performing arts companies pack it in for a few months in preparation for fall offerings. But many companies keep their doors open June through August to hold classes and camps for young aspiring artists. 

Summer camps offer training and performance opportunities in a variety of fields across Charleston, featuring instruction from some of the best professionals in the Holy City.

As any parent knows, summer camps fill up fast. Some companies, like PURE Theatre’s summer theater intensive, have been full for months and won’t be mentioned here. Every camp listed is open for registration as of June 17. 

Charleston Stage

Charleston Stage’s extensive summer camp program SummerStage pairs K5-8 grade students with professional actors from Charleston Stage’s education staff and members of the resident actor program. 

Charleston Stage will offer 15 different camps this year, exploring both musical and nonmusical theater. Mickey’s Mashup Mania (grades 3-5) focuses on choreography and music using the classic and modern Disney song canon. Charleston Stage News (grades 6-8) gives students the chance to create their own news broadcast. Both take place July 11-15. From July 18-22, Pop Stars! (grades 3-5) will center on the contemporary music of today. From July 25-29, A Night at the Tony’s (grades 6-8) gives older students a chance to learn about the elements that make up award-winning shows.

Every week through the end of July, Charleston Stage also offers a Lunch Bunch for all grades, which is a supervised lunch program for students taking part in any of the camps. Tuition for all summer camps is $250. Camps run 9 a.m.-noon, except for A Night at the Tony’s, which runs 1-4 p.m. The Lunch Bunch program is an additional $75.

Charleston Stage is also presenting its first-ever SummerStage production featuring an entirely teen cast of Lowcountry locals. Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach runs July 23-24 and 30-31 at the Dock Street Theatre, with students currently in rehearsal for the production.

White Key Studios

White Key Studios is not just a local music recording studio, but a training ground for aspiring musicians. The company’s summer classes are designed to give students age 5-13 the chance to get the hands-on experience of playing music.

“They get to explore each other’s musical styles and create their own band, either learning songs they love or writing their own original pieces,” said Corrine Madeen from White Key Studios. 

The camps for 5-7-year-olds have sessions June 27-July 1 and July 25-29, and will focus on keys, drums, vocals and songwriting. Session for 8-10-year-olds will be July 11-15 and Aug. 1-5 and focus additionally on guitar and bass. From July 18-22 and Aug. 8-12, a camp for 11-13-year-olds will include all the instruments and also feature modern production and recording instruction. Campers will record a demo at the studio and even design their own band merch. Sessions are $375.

Dance Lab

This summer, Dance Lab will include a new tap dance intensive and showcase.  

“We’ve been wanting to launch this dream for a long time,” Dance Lab owner Jenny Broe said. “Several heavy-hitting tap creative masterminds from all across the Lowcountry will join forces to offer a Charleston community tap collaboration and performance opportunity.”

The tap intensive, Aug. 16-19, is intended for children age 11 and older with at least four-years tap experience. The four-day intensive will provide the building blocks for a tap show that will rehearse for three days the week before opening on Aug. 27 at The Pearl in West Ashley. The intensive tuition is $200.

Dance Lab is also offering two other summer camps. From July 11-15, the Music Video Hip-Hop Camp teaches kids age 6 and up hip-hop and breakdancing. A professional videographer is on-hand to help kids with direction for dancing on camera while they learn. July 18-22 is the Emerging Artists Choreography Camp, intended for 6th graders and older, which teaches students how to design and shape dance numbers.

South Of Broadway

South of Broadway Theatre Company is always heavily invested in youth theater. The Best Summer Theatre Camp EVER!! offers students the opportunity to create their own play from the ground up. Students cast, design, costume and perform a show they create over the course of a week.

Redux

Redux Contemporary Art Center has programs from ages 5-17 across various mediums of visual art. Drawing on Imagination, June 27-July 1, will offer campers the opportunity to draw across a variety of mediums, including pencils and pastels. In the July 11-15 Printmaking class students will use found objects to create beautiful print designs. Particularly exciting is the July 18-22 Fashion, Costume and Character Illustration camp, which brings in Broadway designer Heather Carey to teach students how to draw and design costumes.

Check each companies’ website for information on how to register your little ones for any of the above summer camps.


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