Now is the time for all theater, musical theater, and voice students to start thinking about plans for the summer. While we may feel compelled to enroll in summer classes or even get a job, summer training programs or summer stock opportunities could be much more beneficial. Last summer, I trained at the Georgia State University Harrower Opera Workshop program in Atlanta. I had the opportunity to perform at master classes, participate in acting and movement workshops, and even put on a fully staged version of the musical, A Little Night Music. It was such a great experience. I highly recommend everyone audition for at least one summer program or show before graduation. Here's why it might be helpful to you:
NEW PEOPLE- I know you probably love all the people you go to school with, which is obviously a great thing. But, wouldn't it be nice to work with some fresh faces for a change? Not only do you get to change it up and network in the theater community, but you get to see the other talent that is out there and gain a clearer idea of what you will be competing against in the future.
REHEARSAL PROCESS- Since summer programs are condensed versions of a semester's training, you will get the opportunity to work and rehearse in a shorter amount of time. This will help you learn your role quickly and adapt to an abbreviated rehearsal process. It will also give you a taste of real life theater. In college we have the luxury of rehearsing for weeks, sometimes even months. Rehearsals aren't always as plentiful in the professional theater world.
IMPROVEMENT- Nothing makes you a better performer than actually doing the work. Performing during the summer months will help you retain and polish the skills you learned during the regular academic year.
NETWORK- Probably the most important reason to audition for summer programs and shows is to network and build connections. You have the chance to work with directors, choreographers, and vocal coaches you wouldn't normally work with at your respective school. In my humble opinion, the more directors, programs, and credits you can put on your resume will only help you in the long run.
The moral of this post is that summer programs and stock opportunities are well worth your while. Any experience you can use to reinforce your college education and theater training is a valuable one. I promise you won't regret it!