(Ensemble Theatre Company photo)

Noozhawk’s ParentNooz Camp Guide is officially here and we made sure to make things easy when planning your child’s summer!

In this interview, Noozhawk had the opportunity to sit down with Brian McDonald, Director of Education at Ensemble Theatre Company to learn more about their summer programs.

Ensemble Theatre Company

UPDATE: *Camps may be subject to change due to COVID-19. Check website for updates.

Question: What is the name of your Summer Camp or Program and what is its mission?

Answer: Ensemble Theatre Company — Santa Barbara’s professional resident theater company — hosts the Young Actors Conservatory; an exciting performing arts educational program that provides hands-on training with master actors and theater artists, led by Director of Education, Brian McDonald. With a curriculum that focuses on principles of acting, movement, voice, improv, Shakespeare, and other vital elements of theater training, ETC’s Young Actors Conservatory is Santa Barbara’s premier theater program for young and aspiring artists with a passion for delving deeper into the craft of theater!

Q: Describe the activities involved in your camp or program.

(Ensemble Theatre Company photo)

A: There are three programs offered over the summer.

1) Camp Broadway

This two-week workshop offers middle school students ages 9-14 the chance to expand their performance skills by exposing them to the fundamentals of acting, singing and dancing. Perfect for students new to the stage or those looking for a challenge, this training program encourages risk-taking and growth with nurturing guidance from theater professionals. Individual attention, ensemble building, character development and improvisation exercises are used to enhance creative expression, positive self-image and confidence. The camp runs Monday through Friday and culminates with a showcase of the students work.

2) The Acting Intensive

This 2-week course offers aspiring actors comprehensive performance training normally reserved for collegiate students. With a curriculum that focuses on principles of acting, movement, voice, improv, and vocal performance training, the Acting Intensive is a fun and challenging program for aspiring artists ages 14-19 with a passion for delving deeper into the craft of theater! This course will culminate with a showcase of student’s work for family and friends.

3) Musical Theater Performance Workshop:

Production: Hello! My Baby

Students ages 13-19 are selected by audition for this four-week intensive training and performance program. Under the leadership of award-winning actor/director Brian McDonald and a faculty of professional teaching artists, participants are immersed in musical theatre training which includes advanced performance skills and techniques in voice, dance and acting. The workshop culminates with fully-produced performances of Hello! My Baby on the stage at the New Vic.

Q: How many years has the camp been running? Do you get a lot of return campers?

A: The Young Actors Conservatory has been around since 2017 and grown from one to three summer training programs. We do get students returning to the program each year.

Q: What goals do you have for kids participating in your camp or program? 

A: Students receive a challenging and innovative arts education similar to that of a collegiate arts program, supported by a comprehensive curriculum that balances performance and technique.

Q: What makes your camp or program unique?

A: The ETC Young Actors Conservatory is a rigorous program designed to offer participants the experience of working in a state-of-the-art facility and alongside professional theater artists.

Q: What is the price range of your camp and do you offer scholarships?

A:  Ensemble Theatre Company is committed to providing access to professional theater productions and educational programs for all students regardless of their socioeconomic status. Tuition prices for our summer YAC programs range from $650-$950. Thanks to the support of many individuals, foundations and other funding sources, every student can find a home at ETC through The Jack Oakie Scholarship Awards. Merit Scholarships are awarded on the basis of artistic ability and accomplishment. Need-Based Scholarships are awarded on the bases of financial hardship. In both cases, the students who apply should have a strong inclination to the performing arts and a deep desire to learn.

Click here for more information about Ensemble Theatre Company summer camps!