How to Structure a Musical Theatre Camp or Workshop for Kids (Sample Schedules)

This article is an excerpt from Building A Musical Theatre Program for Kids, a step-by-step guide on how to create a successful and rewarding musical theatre program for students age 7-14.

By Joyce Click

Musical theatre camps and workshops are great ways to build skills and showcase the talents of young actors outside of the traditional school calendar productions. However starting a program from scratch can be daunting! Below are several daily agenda formats and schedule examples I’ve used in the past to help you get the ball rolling. 

First, here are some general things to keep in mind when planning a musical theatre camp or workshop:

    • Include social and team-building goals.
    • Allow participation from multiple grade levels and performance experiences.
    • If it’s your first time, considering starting with a small camp or pilot workshop.
    • Keep the final performance simple.
    • Recruit a team of staff members who share your passion.
    • Plan recreational and snack time as part of your camp.

Sample Formats and Schedules for Musical Theatre Workshops for Kids

Weekend Musical Theatre Workshop

This type of workshop was designed for ages 8-12 with a performance for parents at the end of camp. The show selected highlighted actors in scenes and songs, with an opening and closing number. A few Beat by Beat Press original musicals I would recommend for this length of this camp are Could You Hug a Cactus, Journey of the Noble Gnarble or Super Happy Awesome News. Digital scripts and song learning files are distributed to performers prior to the workshop. Campers are expected to be familiar with the show script and tunes when they arrive at camp.

6 – 6:30 p.m. Registration / team-building games / name games
6:30 – 8:30 p.m. Vocal warm-up
Run opening and closing songs with the entire cast
Full read-through
Students and staff collaborate to assign parts to campers
9:30 – 10:20 a.m. Check-in
Theatre games / vocal warm-ups
Run opening and closing songs with the entire cast
Add simple movement and staging
10:20 – 10:30 a.m. Snack break
10:30 a.m. – noon Run individual songs and scenes while teachers rotate
Noon – 12:45 p.m. Lunch / group recreation / theatre games
1 – 1:45 p.m. Music review
1:45 – 2:45 p.m. Run scenes
2:45 – 3 p.m. Snack break / Dress rehearsal preparations
3 – 4 p.m. Rehearse the show in the theatre-in-the-round format
4 – 5 p.m. Performance for families
5 – 5:30 p.m. Cookie reception for families and campers

One Week Summer or School Break Camp (Monday through Friday)

Designed for ages 7-14 with a performance on Friday afternoon. The age-appropriate show selected will be 45-60 minutes in length with multiple roles, flexible casting, and large ensemble musical numbers. A few Beat by Beat Press children’s musicals I would recommend for this length of camp are Imagine a Dragon, The Most Epic Birthday Party Ever, Space Pirates, Giants in the Sky, and We Are Monsters. Digital scripts and song files are distributed to the registrants prior to the show. Campers are expected to preview the materials.

Monday through Thursday
8:30 – 9 a.m. Check-in
Team-building games / dramatic warm-ups / vocal warm-ups
9 – 10:15 a.m. Music run-through with singing, staging, and choreography Review of the script and cast parts
10:15 – 10:30 a.m. Snack break
10:30am – noon (Group 1) Block on stage, (Group 2) Work on lines and characters 
Noon – 12:45 p.m. Lunch, theatre games, and recreation
12:45 – 1:45 p.m. Rehearse whole group scenes on stage
1:45 – 2:50 p.m. Run show scenes, sing-through, and review lines of the show
2:50 – 3 p.m. Cast reflection and dismissal 
8:30 – 9 a.m. Warm-up and dress rehearsal preparations
9 – 10:30 a.m. Dress rehearsal with all technical elements (video recorded)
10:30 – 11 a.m. Director notes / review problem spots
11 a.m. – noon Watch the recording of the dress rehearsal / eat lunch
12 – 12:30 p.m. “Compliment party” / theatre awards
1 – 2 p.m. Performance
2 – 3 p.m. Cookie reception / strike / clean-up

Musical Theatre Broadway Kids Summer Enrichment One Week Day Camp

The “Musical Theatre Broadway Kids” camp proposal was co-written with a colleague who was also a music teacher. We used input collected from a school-district strategic planning survey to design the course. Through the years this camp grew in popularity, expanded to multiple weeks, and increased music and theatre participation in our schools. When we first developed the course we piloted a small camp with an enrollment of fifteen elementary-aged children. Our first camp show was a musical review where we performed songs and scenes based on a theme. We held our presentation for parents in a large classroom. By the next year, we were ready to offer a fully staged musical production and opened our registration to twenty-five students.  Eventually, we expanded to forty campers and offered additional camps.

Camp Highlights:

    • A full Beat by Beat Press children’s musical was produced in one week. 
    • Campers returned each year to be with friends from previous summers and perform more advanced roles.
    • Every camper was cast in their own role with at least one line or singing solo.
    • Our show was performed on a stage at a school in the district with sound reinforcement and student-created sets. 
    • Registration was through an online ticket management system.
    • The cast traveled by school bus on a field trip to attend a local theatre production.
    • High school and college students who are former campers applied to intern.
    • Families were asked to donate a prepackaged snack to share.
    • We emphasized team-building through theatre games and cooperative learning.
    • We “circled” before the final show and had a “compliment party” where each camper received a certificate and shout-out for their contributions.
    • Scholarships for half-price tuition were available upon request.
    • Students with disabilities and health plans were included and staff followed IEPs (Individual Educational Plans) and IHP’s (Individual Health Plans) to meet the camper’s needs.
    • Directors received a stipend and all camp expenses were covered by the registration fees and in-kind donations. 

Teen Triple Threat Workshop: Sing, Act, Dance, & Prepare for an Audition

Some of the older campers from our Broadway Kids camp suggested we offer an audition workshop. Our high school dance teacher, a professional actor in our community, and I launched a week-long intensive workshop. Skills that were taught included singing solo audition cuts, preparing and performing monologues and small scenes, and performing various styles of theatrical choreography.

8:30 – 9 a.m. Check-in / Packet distribution

Listen to audition song recordings

9 – 10 a.m. Vocal technique instruction / audition solo preparation
10 – 11 a.m Audition dance preparation
11 – 11:45 a.m. Scene and monologue study
11:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. Lunch
12:15 – 12:45 p.m. Theatre and improv games
12:45 – 1:45 p.m. Guided rehearsal for mock auditions
1:45 – 3 p.m. Mock audition (with parents/family observing)
Feedback for campers from instructors

Each day of the camp we rehearsed:

    • excerpts of five musical theatre songs. 
    • choreography similar to those used in actual auditions.
    • monologues and small group scenes available through Beat by Beat Press. 

At our daily mock audition each teen:

    • sung a 16-20 measure cut from one of the songs learned earlier in the day
    • performed a monologue or in a scene 
    • danced a choreographed audition routine with a small group

Camp Highlights:

    • Students learned new material each day of camp. 
    • No costumes, sets, props, or final production were required.
    • The three instructors (who each have skills in music, drama, and dance) worked collaborative, interchangeably, and independently with campers throughout the day. 
    • The camp was held in a performance mini theatre with a large group instruction room available for dancing and numerous hallways and corners for scene study.
    • Students performed daily, both individually and in small groups.

Have a Plan and Use Your Plan

If you are an ardent supporter of musical theatre education, pair up with another like-minded theatre enthusiast and propose a plan using the format best suited for your pilot program. Start with a detailed proposal and implement it with a small group of students while focusing on the quality of the experience and fun! 

At Beat by Beat we’re passionate about inspiring kids through theatre. That’s why we create and publish a unique collection of musical plays for kids and drama resources.

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