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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 course and choose from a variety of specialized afternoon electives. Students showcase their work in an extraordinary final performance, which includes monologue work and ensemble short scenes.

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 theater by having taken drama classes or planning to during high school. 

Core Curriculum The core curriculum for the Actors Workshop is an acting class that focuses on combining creative intuition with concrete technical skills. Following Stanislavski, students learn to tap into emotional truth while exploring how mental and physical techniques can nurture unconscious inspiration. Each morning, students will practice exercises that help them vocally project, physically tell stories, and emotionally and intellectually connect to characters. Both morning acting classes and afternoon rehearsals help students understand the basic building blocks of realistic acting such as playing objectives (what the character wants), obstacles (what stands in the way), and tactics (how the character tries to get around those obstacles to accomplish her objectives).

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

  • Solo Performance: Learn to research, write, direct, and perform a one-person show.
  • Musical Theater: 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 theater.
  • Stand-up Comedy: If you’ve always wanted to be in front of the microphone, here’s your chance. Learn comic timing, observational humor, and how to interact with an audience when you’re talking directly to them.
  • Improvisation: Act without a script! Learn about spontaneity, sharing control, and status while creating scenes and playing games that focus on your intuition and ability to create situations together.
  • Acting for the Camera: Acting for film or camera is very different than stage work.  Actor's learn the nuiances of this field from an industry professional.
  • Shakespeare: Learn to love the Bard and experience the magic that comes with properly performing his work.

The World is a Stage 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 aspiring performers is to see as much professional theater as possible. For this reason, participants visit Bay Area theaters to observe hit shows and small productions. Recently attended productions include Jersey Boys, The Lion King, Rent, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival. Students will often participate in a post-performance Q & A with actors and directors, during which they will have the opportunity to ask about techniques, artistic direction, and the life of an artist. In the classroom, instructors specifically draw on the material viewed at visited theaters. 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 theater, the High School Actors Workshop students balance acting classes 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

"My instructor did an excellent job in directing us and offering suggestions.” -Alyssa Mar, High School 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 - Shannon Davis, MFA (Instructor)

Shannon Davis, MFA — Instructor

Shannon is a professional Theatre Director and Educator located in the Bay Area. She is originally from Wisconsin where she received her MFA in Directing/Acting at UW-Madison, and a BA in Directing & Vocal Performance at UW-Whitewater. She has also studied with the Moscow Art Theatre USA-Harvard. Shannon specializes in Directing & Teaching...


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...


Education Unlimited - Samuel Haley-Hill, MFA ( Instructor)

Samuel Haley-Hill, MFA — Instructor

Sam Haley-Hill is a lecturer at U.C. Berkeley who teaches Public Speaking and Acting in the department of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies. Sam also coaches Policy and Public Forum debate for the...


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

Session Grade Location Price Range  
Jul 16th - Jul 29th 9th - 12th Stanford University $3,920.00 – $4,630.00