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California Actors Workshop

Education Unlimited - California Actors Workshop

The California High School Actors Workshop focuses on teaching the professional acting techniques that translate onto both stage and screen. Over the course of 14 days, students participate in a morning core curriculum, choose from a variety of specialized afternoon electives, and rehearse a final performance showcasing their talent and hard work. This production, open to parents, friends, and fellow campers, may be created from scratch or developed from an existing dramatic work.


Admission Requirements Eligible students must be entering 9th-12th grade in order to attend the High School session of the California Actors Workshop. Students must demonstrate passion for acting and theatre by having taken drama classes or planning to during high school.

Core Curriculum

The core curriculum for the Actors Workshop consists of a Scene Study class and a Voice/Body Lab. Student actors begin each day with a physical and vocal warm-up, after which they participate in games and exercises to develop their voice, body, and impulse “instruments.” The emphasis is on becoming stronger, nimbler, and more expressive storytellers, all in an environment of exploration and play.

 

Then, in Scene Study, students work in pairs to analyze, rehearse, and perform an assigned scene from a contemporary play or movie. Informed by Stanislavsky, Hagen, Shurtleff, and Donnellan, the course adapts to individual students' needs to either introduce or deepen understandings of the basic building blocks of realistic acting - relationship, objective, obstacles, and actions.


Afternoon Electives

Elective offerings vary each year and depend on the interests of the students and the specialty of the acting faculty. Possible offerings include:

  • Audition Technique: Whether you’re up for the high school musical, a professional play, or a yogurt commercial, this elective gives you the tools to walk into any audition with confidence and cool. Topics covered include monologues, cold reads, slates, headshots and resumes, audition attire and etiquette, how to choose material, and tips for dealing with nerves. 

  • Solo Performance: Learn to research, write, direct, and perform a one-person show. Students are guided through character creation, writing exercises, and the critique and development process.

  • Shadow Puppetry: Discover the rich history of “paper theatre” and work together to create your own shadow puppet shows. This elective is a great opportunity to try on the director’s or playwright’s hat.

  • Musical Theatre: Some emotions and ideas can only be expressed in song. If you have dreams of Broadway, this elective can help you sing, dance, and learn the skills you need to explore the exciting world of musical theatre.

  • Introduction to Design: If you’ve ever wondered about foley sound effects or wanted to try your hand at costume design, this is the class for you. Students work together to design an imaginary play (with an equally imaginary budget!).

  • Improvisation: Act without a script! Games and exercises teach essential skills like saying “yes and,” heightening, sharing and taking focus, and building a shared environment.

  • Stage Combat: How do we create violence onstage so that it looks real but no one gets hurt? Students work with partners to learn and perform short unarmed combinations of punches, slaps, kicks, holds, throws, and falls.

  • Shakespeare: Learn to love the Bard and enjoy the richness and complexity of his language as you prepare an audition-ready monologue.

Final Production

All actors in the Workshop participate in the final production. Each year a play is chosen (or devised by the students themselves) and cast with that year’s specific ensemble in mind. The extremely condensed rehearsal process allows all of us the freedom to trust our first choices and lean on the support of our fellow artists as we work fast and hard to create a unique piece of theatre that truly could exist nowhere and no place else. Past productions have included everything from Henry V to clown shows, Chekhov to student-written vignettes of high school life.

 

Experience World-Class Theatre

Unlike other arts camps that are situated in isolated locations, the California Actors Workshop believes that one of the most important components of training for young actors is to see as much professional theatre as possible. For this reason, Workshop participants visit Bay Area theatres to observe both big-budget hits and small, innovative productions. Whenever possible, students participate in a post-performance Q & A with actors and directors, during which they can talk shop, learn about the professional rehearsal process, and gain insight into the life of a theatre artist. In the classroom, instructors specifically draw on the material viewed at visited theatres. For the California Actors Workshop, the world is not only a stage but also a classroom.

“Drama-Free” Recreation

Even though the students and faculty live and breathe passion for the theatre, the Actors Workshop students balance their class and rehearsal load with daily “drama-free” recreation. Students participate in a wide array of games, sports, and arts and crafts. In the evening, they come together for movie nights and special events that recall a traditional camp environment, but with the added bonus of accessing the opportunities available on a college campus.

Camp Location Start Date End Date Grades
California Actors Workshop Stanford University Sun, Jul 16, 17 Sat, Jul 29, 17 9th - 12th
High School Actors Workshop (Abridged) UCLA Sun, Jul 30, 17 Sat, Aug 5, 17 9th - 12th

"This program helps you to find yourself in acting and solidify your fears and aspirations as an actor!” -Sam LeComte, High School Actors Workshop participant

"The most important thing that I learned at camp was that theater is universal. It can be used on and off of stage. Acting is the exploration of human beings and a study of human emotions.” -Shannon Dawson, High Schhol Actors Workshop participant

“The program went beyond my expectations. I took the idea of a production too lightly and expected the camp to be good, but it was excellent.” -Hana Song,  High School Actors Workshop participant


California Actors Workshop - Staff Profiles

Staff are typically subject matter experts and experienced teachers. Staff assignments vary by program and all staff are held to the highest possible standards. Some of our recent staff members for this program include:

Education Unlimited - James Webb, PhD (Camp Director )

James Webb, PhD — Camp Director

James Webb earned a BA in Theatre from Florida A&M University, an MFA in Acting from the University of Florida, and Ph.D. in Educational Theatre from New York University.  As an actor, he has performed in...


Education Unlimited - Pamela Davis, MFA (Lead Instructor)

Pamela Davis, MFA — Lead Instructor

Pamela is a Chicago-based theatre artist and educator passionate about new work and the actor's ability to grow empathy in the world. She holds a BA from UC Berkeley and an MFA from The Theatre School at DePaul University. In Chicago, Pamela works and plays on lots of stages ranging from DIY storefronts to more established houses like Strawdog...


We will continue to add additional staff members as enrollment and availability dictate. Details are posted on additional staff members as they are confirmed.



Upcoming Sessions
* Tentative and Subject to Change

No Sessions Currently Scheduled For This Camp