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Youth Musical Theater Camp

Portland, Oregon

Camp dates   Tuesday July 5 - Saturday July 23

    Performance week location TBA (possibly the school)

    2300 SE Harrison
    Milwaukie, Oregon


Camp description

Students 8-14 come together to have fun, express themselves through theater and games, and at the end of camp, participate in a full-length original musical theater production. We welcome students interested in theater, coming with a range of theatrical backgrounds and acting / singing abilities. Students are given their character assignments for the play in May, and are asked to come to camp knowing their lines and songs. We use the first week of camp to explore and expand our theatrical expression and begin show rehearsals, and by the middle of week two we've shifted to spending most of our time getting ready for the performances at the end of week three. 

How it Works  

Our camp begins as one large group. In a great circle, the full staff and all the campers ages 8-14 get to play some theater games together, move, and have fun. Then, during the first week and a half, after some morning drama games we often work on our big-group numbers that involve all ages. After the morning break, we usually separate into age-specific groups. Occasionally, the younger kids join the older kids for a scene that they are in together. We fully merge during performance week, all joined to put our show together.

The lead parts: The 12*-14 Year Olds

(*and some of the more mature 11 year olds)

We typically assign our larger roles to our 12-14 year olds, with the occasional 11 year old stepping up into a larger solo role. Some of our 12-14 year olds are assigned to group roles instead of larger lead roles.

This age group will spend time the first half of camp exploring theatrical expression, getting to know their character(s), and working scenes. The last half of camp is largely spent rehearsing for our production, while continuing to build on the skills we've been practicing since the first week.

You can read more about how consideration for lead roles works on our Casting page. 

Ruffians I.jpg

The glue of the play: the 10-11 year olds

Recognizing the appetite for theater and challenge that many children in this age group are looking for, we like to give the 10-11 olds a variety of several smaller roles in the production. A typical 10-year-old might play a pirate in one scene, a minister in the next, then be in a group villager dance a few scenes later. This can make for some speedy costume changes!

Some 10-11 year olds have individual lines and solos in songs, while others are cast in group parts.


No matter what, they steal the show: the 8-9 year olds

We love to give the 8-9 year olds at camp a fun, feisty theater experience playing drama games and putting in good hard work towards the final production. Children in this age group will get to play in several group roles, while also working on our in-camp mini-production of the summer's show. Sometimes 9-year olds end up joining the 10-11 year olds for some of their work.

Nuts & Bolts: Exploring Theatrical Expression / Typical Schedules

Inspirations Camp invites all campers to explore their next step in theatrical expression. Besides getting to know the play we will be performing, we focus on activities and games that explore theatrical expression, which will cover several areas:

  • Physical expression—we'll get moving, see what our limbs are capable of, and even stretch little-known facial muscles for gesture. We'll explore different ways to walk, sneak, tiptoe, and other ways of getting here to there, all adding to our bag of tricks for the performance.
  • Vocal expression—We'll try out speaking styles in anything from whispers and whoops to sighs and barks. We'll have fun looking at a how we might express a range of emotional states from determination to confusion, passion to indifference.
  • Musical expression—In addition to singing the songs for the performance itself, we'll do singing warm-ups and some singing games. We'll look at the different moods songs can bring, trying out singing in voices that are happy, sad, sly, bewildered, and a number of other moods.
  • Character expression—depending on the child's age, we'll explore how exploring and exercising our inner moods can bring acting to life.

Typical Day Schedules 

( see also day in the life Portland camp for a narrative, in-depth description of our camp days)

**Actual Camp Schedules May Vary
---Aftercare available for small fee   from 3:30 - 5:30 most camp days

Week 1 

Afternoon art projects help space the theater work we do in the mornings

Afternoon art projects help space the theater work we do in the mornings

  • 9:00 – 9:25   Warm-ups, some theater games, and check-ins for the day's schedule
  • 9:25 – 10:45 Large-group or small-group workshops in theatrical expression. We often use the play we will be performing as fodder for these workshops, to help students become more familiar with the show
  • 10:45 – 11:20   Snack / Movement break
  • 11:20 – 12:45   Workshops continued
  • 12:45 – 1:25     Lunch and free movement / games
  • 1:25 – 3:30      Art, movement, or continued theater workshops

Weeks 2&3    

  • 9:00 – 9:15     Warm-ups / Short theater games
  • 9:15 – 10:45    Week 2: Variable: Large-group or small-group rehearsals; singing and/or acting workshops Week 3: Large / small group rehearsals
  • 10:45 – 11:15    Snack / movement break {Week 3 there is not always a regular snack time; students eat snack when they're not engaged onstage}
  • 11:15 – 12:45    Continued rehearsals; occasional workshops (Week 3—rehearsals)
  • 12:45 – 1:25     Lunch / Movement
  • 1:25 – 3:30      Art, theater workshops, or continued rehearsals

Performance Days


9:00 – 12:30  Dress Rehearsal of Show
12:30 – 6:00  OFF—parents are in charge of their children
6:00 – 6:15  Arrive at theater to get ready for performance
7:00 – 9:00  Performance


1:00 –1:15Arrive at theater to get ready for performance
2:00 – 4:00 Performance
~ 4:00Final farewell

Camp Locations

Our first two weeks will be at the Portland Waldorf School High School Building, at 2300 SE Harrison in Milwaukie, OR (just ~10 minutes south of downtown Portland on McLoughlin / 99E), using its choir room, classrooms, and its ~7 acres of fields and playgrounds. The final performance week is in the planing stages right now, as we want to find the best space for our students. The PWS gymnasium is a fine performance space, and we have that reserved should we need it; last year we spent our third week in the La Salle Prep High School theater, which you can see in the photo above. It is 3 miles east of the Portland Waldorf School.