Courtesy Ashland Children's TheatreHunter Heuertz and Miles Bishop have fun in Ashland Children’s Theatre’s young performer camp.
Courtesy Ashland Children's Theatre
Hunter Heuertz and Miles Bishop have fun in Ashland Children’s Theatre’s young performer camp.
Long-time drama coach Ernie Casciato, one of Oregon’s best-known Catholic theater luminaries, may have put it best about the kind of community and personal growth theater can engender:

“I believe that outside of my family, the closest thing to a Christian community is a theater ensemble,” he told the Sentinel a couple years back, adding that music, drama and dance provide “cultural service to our communities.”

Students at St. Therese School, Portland, enjoy Casciato’s drama coaching these days. Kids elsewhere too often get great theater classes at school, but for those who have truly caught the stage bug, here is a sampling of theater camps around the archdiocese.



Ashland Children’s Theatre

P.O. Box 3085, Ashland 97520

541-414-8676, i[email protected],

Ashland Children’s Theatre offers summer theater classes held at the Ashland Community Center for students age 4 to 17, with costs from $55 to $400. Each camp includes a showcase performance. Classes for the youngest students use puppets and acting out stories while older students experience the process of a production from the first read-through to the final curtain call. Improv and Shakespeare are part of some classes. Young actors audition for the Teen Mystery Theatre, which culminates in three public performances. Nearest parish: Our Lady of the Mountain



Rose Children’s Theatre

1574 Coburg Road, Suite 257, Eugene 97401

458-215-0220, [email protected],

Rose Children’s Theatre has camps for kids from kindergarten through high school, beginning with Adventures in Acting for the littlest children at The First United Methodist Church, with the classes from 9 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday, June 26 to 30. There are seven other camps, focusing on Shakespeare (including a trip to Ashland to see “Merry Wives of Windsor”), musical theater, character development, and one camp in conjunction with the Oregon Children’s Choir and Eugene Ballet Academy to provide a “triple threat” of theater, dance and song. Tuition ranges from $175 to $300. Nearest parish: St. Paul



Oregon Conservatory of Performing Arts

313 Middleford Alley, Medford 97501

Oregon Conservatory of Performing Arts’ teachers are actors and educators from the public schools, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and other local theater companies. The program began in 1998 when two public school teachers decided to help students access theater classes at a time when the arts in schools were being cut back or eliminated. The first summer camp, for kids age 6 to 16, featured “Tom Sawyer.” Last year’s camps presented “The Return of the Glass Slipper,” “Macbeth” and “Pirates! The Musical.” OCPA’s spring camp takes place at St. Mary’s Catholic High School. Nearest Parish: Sacred Heart



Northwest Children’s Theater and School

1819 NW Everett St., Portland 97209

503-222-2190, [email protected],

Northwest Children’s Theater and School offers year-round classes and camps for kids ages 3 to 18. The summer offerings consist of either full-day or half-day camps in one- and two-week sessions June 19 through Aug. 25 Costs range from $90 to $295, depending on the length and complexity of the camp. Classes include play labs, where students put on a full play or musical and acting intensives. Some of the plays this summer will be “Beauty and the Beast,” “Macbeth,” a mash-up of “Return of the Jedi” and Shakespeare, and “High School Musical.” Nearest parish: St. Mary Cathedral


Oregon Children’s Theatre Acting Academy

1939 NE Sandy Blvd., Portland, 97232

503-228-9571, [email protected],

This summer the Oregon Children’s Theatre Acting Academy offers theater classes for 4- and 5-year-olds (“Music and Make-Believe”) all the way up to classes for teens, including “Theater for Social Change” “for socially engaged young people who believe in the power of art to change hearts and minds.” That class costs from $0 to $295 on a sliding scale, but most week-long classes are from $95 to $295. Classes include Shakespeare, film acting, musical theater and basic choreography. Nearest parish: St. Francis of Assisi


Young People’s Theatre Project

P.O. Box 25115, Portland 97298

503-567-9482, [email protected],

The Young People’s Theatre Project, founded in 1987 by Jesuit High School drama teacher Jeff Hall, holds several day camps at Jesuit during June and July. The summer children’s chorus is for first through third graders; the summer junior ensemble for fourth through sixth graders; and theater tech programs are for middle school and high school students. Costs for the day camp programs range between $150 and $300.

Students grades six through 12 audition for the project’s residential summer performing arts camp at Caldera Arts Center in Central Oregon. The camp runs from Friday, June 30, through Tuesday, July 11. Cost for the overnight camp is $915. All the groups come together for the final rehearsals, July 11 to 13, and performances, July 13 to 16. Nearest parish: St. Cecilia, Beaverton; St. Francis, Bend



Camp Magruder

17450 Old Pacific Hwy., Rockaway Beach 97136

503-355-2310, [email protected],

Most of the weeks at Camp Magruder, a Christian camp with a summer theme of “Fearless Faith — Courage in Community” this summer, are weekend offerings for families and Monday to Friday outdoors camps for kids from first through 12th grades. The camp July 9 to 15 is different. It’s a music, arts, dance and drama camp for youths who have completed grades nine through 12. Nearest parish: St. Mary by the Sea



Children’s Educational Theatre, Salem

710 Howard St. SE, Salem 97302

503-399-3398, [email protected],

The Children’s Educational Theatre summer day camp runs June 26 to July 29, with every student registered in the first four levels and level seven getting a role. Children in levels five and six work behind the scenes. This is a five-week camp, and students are expected to attend for the full five weeks. Tuition is between $570 to $620. The camp is for students from fourth grade through grade 12 and their parents, for this camp “is a family commitment,” and parents choose which committee to help with. Spaces are filled on a first-received, first-reserved basis. Nearest parish: St. Joseph


Young Musicians and Artists

900 State St., Salem 97301

503-880-3817, [email protected],

This two-week residential camp, which takes place at Willamette University in Salem every summer, is geared mostly towards young musicians, but the second session (July 9 to July 21) also offers classes in theater, musical theater and technical theater. Cost is $1,750. Nearest parish: St. Vincent de Paul



Broadway Rose Theatre Company

12850 SW Grant Ave., Tigard 97223

503-603-9862 ext. 116, [email protected],

Broadway Rose Theatre Company offers a teen summer workshop that consists of an intensive three-week training ($550) July 24 to Aug. 12, with performances Aug. 9 to 12. The students will perform “Godspell.” The company also offers two drama camps for students age 8 to 12, with the first group (July 10 to 18) performing “Snow White” and the second (Aug. 7 to 15) “Pinocchio. The camps cost $300. Nearest parish: St. Anthony