The funding for arts education is being cut in schools across the country, and Denver is no exception. Yet a well-rounded education should include arts and theater, as it helps to build so many important skills. From self confidence to collaboration and team work, these are skills that every child uses forever. The good news is that the city’s summer theater camp programs abound for children of all ages. All offer a variety of theater education, production and play, and they are all taught by professionals with a true desire to help your child grow and learn.
Summer Classes at the Aurora Fox Arts Center
9900 E. Colfax Ave.
Aurora, CO 80010
Price: Classes range from $116 to $200
Classes: Sessions begin June 11 and July 9, hours and specific dates vary depending on class
The Aurora Fox Arts Center houses amazing classes and camps for young performers. Its summer classes offer special courses for children ages 5 to high school. Younger children may participate in a class called “acting up, summer style” in which they express themselves and play acting games, even performing for their parents on the last day of class. The award-winning “Little Foxes” program for ages 7 to 10 will present a full play, based on skills learned from professional actors, constructing costumes, sets and props. For the older kids, take a look at “Broadway Bound”, a class that will prepare middle and high school students to audition for and act in musicals by rehearsing dances, musical numbers and scenes. These are just a sampling of all the courses that the Aurora Fox offers up every summer, so be sure to check out its calendar, and then head on over to enroll your burgeoning Broadway star.
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Kirk of Bonnie Brae Church
1201 S. Steele St.
Denver, CO 80210
Price: two-week sessions are $595/four-week sessions are $1,095
Classes: session one begins June 4, check website for specific dates and times for all classes
Catchpenny Theatre has been providing unique and exciting theatre education for seven summers, and it’s back for its eighth year in 2012. Catchpenny is dedicated to helping kids through personal growth, acting, singing and dancing. Its summer program is one of the most exciting and popular options around. Catchpenny arranges kids into age groups, so every child may participate. The lil’ pennies are ages 4 to 7, and this summer they will present “Cinderella” and “Sleeping Beauty.” The next age group, Catchpenny kids for ages 8 to 12 will perform “Thoroughly Modern Millie Jr.,” and “Annie Jr.” Of course, there is also a Catchpenny teens for the more advanced and dedicated theatrical students.
Evergreen Players Drama Camp
27608 Fireweed Dr.
Evergreen, CO 80439
Price: sessions range from $150 to $450
Classes: sessions start July 16, check website for full list of classes and dates
The Evergreen Players is also hosting a great drama camp program for kids of all ages. This beautiful mountain setting is the perfect place to bring your kids to explore theater in a wonderful two-week summer day camp. It has sessions for ages 5 to 18, and all sessions allow kids to perform on its beautiful CenterStage Theater in a full production open to the public. Some of the highlights of the classes include a full production of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (but in modern English) and a course called Happily Ever After in which children get to add their own twist to well known fairy tales. Teens come here for the improv comedy and acting class, as well as a full teen production of the classic musical “Grease.” Be sure to check out its website for full list of classes and registration.
Rocky Mountain Theatre for Kids
Younger Company Location: Calvary Temple
200 S. University Blvd
Denver, CO 80209
Older Company Location: Saint Mary’s Anglican Church
2290 S. Clayton St.
Denver, CO 80210
Price: sessions range from $295 to $1250
Classes: sessions start May 29 and run all summer. Check the website for full list of classes and details
Rocky Mountain Theatre for Kids is now in its ninth year, offering camps in both Boulder and Denver. It offers two companies, the older company is for ages 8 to 16 and the younger company is for ages 5 to 8. Its small camper-to-teacher ratio sits at just eight to one, so every student is sure to get lots of attention and support. All camps include a final performance in a professional theater. This year Rocky Mountain will produce “Shrek,” “Aladdin,” “Peter Pan,” “Beauty and the Beast” and “Charlotte’s Web” from the young campers. From the older campers, expect “Narnia,” and even a show inspired by the hit television show “Glee.” In addition to wonderful summer programs, Rocky Mountain Theatre for Kids also offers a payment plan, so be sure to contact staff if you need additional support.
Rocky Mountain Theatre Conservatory
Little Auditorium of Colorado Heights University
3001 S. Federal Blvd
Denver, CO 80236
Price: tuition starts at $800
Classes: session one runs June 4 through June 23; session two runs June 25 through July 14; session three runs July 23 through August 11
Rocky Mountain Theatre Conservatory is entering its sixth year, and it has a wonderful program designed to provide children with a place to nurture their creative instinct and develop a connection to the stage. Just like all the other camps, the sessions revolve around full-scale productions, all located in the wonderful Colorado Heights University small theater. Session one features the younger kids, ages 6 to 8, performing “101 Dalmatians,” those ages 9 to 12 performing “Seussical Jr.,” and the older kids (ages 13 to 17) performing “Sweeney Todd,” the school edition. Session two will bring “The Aristocats Kids,” “Aladdin Jr.” and “Fiddler on the Roof Jr” to the stage. The all-ages final session will have everyone come together for “Hairspray The Musical.” Students may sign up for one session or all sessions, and Rocky Mountain offers a discount on multiple sessions.
Deborah Flomberg is a theater professional, freelance writer and Denver native. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.