As the summer rolls in, many parents wonder what to do with their kiddos during the busy work day. Instead of plopping them in front of a TV or taking them to work, some send their kids to immersive and educational camps and similar programming. As a theatremaker, this opportunity is ripe with benefits. By hosting your own camp, you can welcome additional funding for your theatre and the chance to enrich your community and hone your acting and leadership skills.

On The Stage (OTS) explores the many skills that theatre helps to develop, why theatre summer camps can be a game-changer for your company, and a few warm-up/icebreaker games to play when camp begins. 

Skills Theatre Camp Helps Develop

Teaching theatre to kids welcomes a variety of benefits – some interpersonal, some emotional, some skills-based, and some educational. We’ll name just a few:


Raising and guiding empathetic, socially tolerant children will make positive outcomes for decades – theatre is an excellent avenue to start that process. Theatre immerses a participant or viewer into the life of another – helping them to learn more about the struggles another faces, whether those are fictional, historical, or a reflection of today’s society. Empathy in itself also lends itself to deeper interpersonal relationships. 


Putting oneself “out there” in theatre – whether through an improv game, a solo dance number, or singing with the chorus – helps students gain confidence in their abilities. Additionally, theatre helps students become more comfortable taking risks and trusting their ideas and instincts. A more confident child will do better in virtually every aspect of life, from school to family life, friendships, and even in future professional environments. 

Creativity and Critical Thinking

Unlike many topics in school, theatre truly rewards self-expression and individuality, allowing children to rid themselves of conventional academic structure for even a couple of hours. In theatre, kids explore new ideas, dive into stories, analyze character behaviors, and develop their own voices. You also often don’t find many screens in the theatre, meaning kids use imagination to bring ideas to life.


The ability to work well with others is a cornerstone for virtually every professional environment. Theatre helps children to collaborate and work towards a common goal – troubleshooting issues, throwing out ideas, helping other students who may be struggling, and celebrating unique artistic choices. 

The Importance of Summer Theatre Camp 

Hosting summer camps and other summer programming can be a game-changer for your theatre. Why?

You raise more funds

The most obvious benefit of a summer camp is that it brings in more money for your theatre. Day camps, workshops, and other programming allow you some breathing room in your budget, lending itself to theatre upgrades, better costumes and props, faster ticketing technology, and much more. 

You create more networking opportunities

Hosting a summer camp allows you to reach out to area businesses, influential creatives, and other community leaders who can help you reach your goals – whether that’s a broader audience base, lucrative business sponsorships, or new community partners to tap down the line. 

You enrich your community

We’ve covered just how many benefits there are to theatre education – so by hosting a camp, you’re helping the students in your community better themselves. Kids will leave camp with strong social skills, more resilience, confidence and resourcefulness, and a greater understanding of teamwork, collaboration, and communication. 

You help your team

While benefiting your campers is a priority, your camp will also help everyone on your team to better themselves and become stronger artists and leaders. You’ll need to handle creative problem-solving, new marketing strategies, organization, leadership, patience, time management, budgeting, you name it. So, just as your students leave your camp bettered, so will you. 

You cultivate more fundraising opportunities

It’s never fun to ask patrons or community members for money – but if you’re hosting programming that makes a genuine difference in your community, people will be far more likely to give to the cause. Consider creating personalized messages for top patrons or donors, urging them to donate funds for your camp. You can also create a  ‘camp wishlist’ and send it out – with relevant items like new technology, costumes, props, or other goodies that will help improve the experience. You can also host camp-specific fundraisers, like car washes or bake sales

6 Games to Add to Your Theatre Camp Curriculum

1. Mirror Mirror

With objectives like gaining confidence in the body, improving teamwork, and exploring movement, Mirror Mirror is a fun, low-pressure game you should add to your theatre repertoire. 

For this game, students break into pairs, identifying themselves as players ‘A’ or ‘B.’ You will indicate when player ‘A’ should begin moving, and player ‘B’s objective is to reflect that movement as accurately and in sync as possible. Encourage both students to move slowly so it’s hard to decipher who’s actually moving first. Have the students switch who’s leading and even partners down the line if they’re connecting with the game. 

2. Human Knot

Talk about teamwork – Human Knot is a great way to encourage problem-solving among campers, build camaraderie, warm up the body, and get comfortable with physicality.

If you have a larger camp group, break them into teams of 4-5, then have the students stand in a circle. All students should then walk into the center of their circle and grab two hands – just not from someone right next to them or two hands from the same person. The objective is to untie the ‘knot’ without letting go of any hands. 

3. Zip, Zap, Zoom

Collaboration, focus, and vocal warm-ups are all honed in Zip, Zap, Zoom. You’ll have all your campers stand in a circle together, with the objective of sending ‘energy’ around it with specific vocal commands, which include: 

  • ‘Zip,’ which sends the energy clockwise.
  • ‘Zap,’ which sends the energy counter-clockwise. 
  • ‘Zoom,’ which sends the energy to a camper directly across the circle. 

Students cannot repeat the same command twice, which means a lot of concentration (and laughter)! 

4. One Word Story

Another low-pressure game that helps bond campers and focus on creative storytelling, One Word Story is precisely as it sounds. Have your campers stand in a circle, then establish who will begin the story and which direction the story will be going in. Each camper will then say one word, contributing to the narrative and building it as it goes along. Encourage students to get wacky with it, attempting to steer the story in unexpected directions. 

5. Yes, And

(No, not the Ariana Grande Song.) Yes, And helps students hone improv skills and build on other camper’s ideas, which is integral to creating great theatre. 

One person in your camp group will begin with a blanket statement – it can be as simple or as whimsical as they wish. The camper standing next to them must add to the statement by saying “Yes, and” plus their own statement. This process continues until every camper has played and a story has been built. 

6. Drama-Freeze

Another great exercise to practice improvisation, learn leadership, and build confidence, Drama Freeze begins with two campers who start an improv scene covering a topic of their choosing. Allow the campers to build the story before calling ‘freeze,’ and allow another camper to ‘tag out’ one of the actors and begin the scene again. However, this scene has to be brand new material. Encourage students to get creative in their body language so that students tagging in can have more fun creating the scenarios. 

On The Stage

Hosting summer camps can seem intimidating, but with the right partner, you’ll be creating art that matters and enriching your community at the same time. 

With OTS, you can discover the all-in-one performing arts software built for every stage of theatre management. We empower thousands of organizations with ticketing, box office, marketing, fundraising, and reporting tools in one robust platform – for free. This means less time worrying about the logistics and more time doing what you love. 

Book a personalized demo today if you’re ready to take your theatre programming to the next level and create outstanding productions.

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