Summer Institute Theater

July 10–July 28, 2023

Three weeks
Three college credits
Monday–Friday,  9 a.m.–5 p.m. & evening rehearsals

Experience what it means to be a modern theater-maker, and work with our award-winning faculty in Philadelphia—one of the nation’s largest theater destinations. Through a rigorous college-level curriculum, lessons, master classes and performances, you’ll develop your voice, stage presence and acting techniques. This program trains artists looking to write, direct, design and produce, in addition to being on stage. 

You’ll choose one of three tracks: Acting; Musical Theater; or Directing, Playwriting and Production. Over the course of three weeks, you’ll do daily warm-ups and take both core classes and track courses, electives and workshops.


Through a rigorous college-level curriculum, you’ll develop skills in crafting character and scene work, grasp the potential of your voice as an instrument and develop a vibrant stage presence. You’ll also explore track-specific courses that address your individual needs and other courses that span a wide range of theatrical disciplines.

Receive training from our distinguished faculty and participate in master classes with award-winning theater artists. Our faculty are currently working on Broadway, off Broadway, in film and TV, and in major regional theaters. 

At the end of this program, students will

  • leave with audition-ready materials and preparation.

  • demonstrate a richer understanding and appreciation of theater-making through command of a common vocabulary.

  • express a deeper level of comfort performing individually, with partners and through exercises, monologues and/or scene work.

  • be able to connect the body, breath and voice for a free, clear, strong and authentic vocal expression through acting performance, presentation, public speaking and singing. 

  • be able to serve as an active and constructive member of a studio atmosphere, supporting and challenging classmates through discussion, collaboration and feedback.


Core Classes

You’ll receive the following core training.

Acting Studio

Practical approaches to crafting character and scene work are combined with techniques designed to build physical and emotional stamina and encourage the spirit of play and risk that are necessary for developing a vibrant and engaging stage presence.

Collaborative Process

Focusing on the journey rather than the destination, this course expands your definitions of what theater can be and how it can be made.


You’ll focus your training by selecting a track of study: Acting; Musical Theater; or Directing, Playwriting and  Production. Tracks allow you to deepen your study with major-specific courses, some of which are listed below. 

Musical Theater

  • Musical Theater Dance

  • Musical Theater Performance

  • Singing Lab


  • Improvisation

  • Shakespeare

  • Movement

Directing, Playwriting and Production

  • Directing

  • Playwriting

  • Stage Management

A week in the life

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View a sample schedule.

Monday & Wednesday

  • 9–9:30 a.m. Warmup

  • 9:30–11 a.m. Musical Theater Dance, Shakespere or Directing 

  • 11 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Musical Theater Performance, Acting Movement or Playwriting

  • 1:30–3:30 p.m. Acting Studio 

  • 3:30–5 p.m. Collaborative Process

Tuesday & Thursday

  • 9–9:30 a.m. Warmup

  • 9:30–11 a.m. Musical Theater Singing Lab, Improvisation or Stage Management 

  • 11 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Musical Theater Performance, Acting Movement or Playwriting

  • 1:30–3:30 p.m. Acting Studio 

  • 3:30– 5 p.m. Collaborative Process


  • 9–9:30 a.m. Warmup

  • 9:30–11 a.m. Master Class

  • 11 a.m.–1 p.m.  Play in a Day or Rehearsal 

  • 2–5:30 p.m. Play in a Day or Rehearsal 


  • Optional off-campus field trips

Note: Students break for lunch between 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. every day. Some evening activities are part of this program’s curriculum. Evening rehearsals will take place during the final week of the program. Commuters should plan accordingly.


Courses in the Summer Institute Theater program are taught by theater professionals, actors and specialty artists. The majority of our faculty teach in the degree programs at UArts. Our expert faculty is comprised of seasoned educators and dedicated artists who enjoy sharing their expertise and collaborating with the next generation of actors, playwrights, directors and artists.

Summer 2023 faculty may include

Stearn Matthews in front of a gray curtain and dressed in a navy dress shirt and a pink and black and white bow tie
Stearns Matthews

Theater - Musical Theater (BFA)
Alex bechtel head shot
Alex Bechtel

Theater - Musical Theater (BFA)
Jessica Bedford

Allison Heishman

Julia Kershetsky wearing a white sleeveless shirt and standing in front of a gray backdrop
Julia Kershetsky

Nicole Renna

Ben Smallen

Rob Tucker_headshot
Rob Tucker

How to Apply

 Our Summer Institute 2023 program is full and no longer accepting applications. 

Application Requirements

  • Complete the Summer Institute application.

  • Submit an essay or a pre-recorded audition. Directing, Playwriting & Production students can choose to submit a portfolio in place of an audition. Students applying for a need or merit-based scholarship must include an audition or portfolio.

    • Essay

      • Include an essay of a maximum of 300 words that explains why you want to attend the program and what you hope to gain from the experience.

    • Audition

      • An introduction including your name, school, grade, city and state, and what you will be performing

      • At least two of the following: a comedic piece, a dramatic piece or 16 bars of music (no more than four minutes).

        • You must be recognizable. Avoid masks, heavy makeup or costumes.

    • Portfolio (Directing, Playwriting & Production only)

      • Your portfolio should include at least two examples and/or documentation of your theater interest. Your portfolio can include but is not limited to set designs, performance experience, creative writing etc. 

  • Pay the $15 application fee.

Tuition & Fees  

Tuition: $3,400
Program fee: $150  
Housing and meals: $1,425

Commuter total: $3,550
Residential total: $4,975


Students are expected to bring supplies with them or purchase them once they arrive on campus. Supply lists will be shared one month before the program starts, with cost estimates.

Spending & Miscellaneous Expenses

Students spend an average of $80–$100 per week on additional items including laundry, snacks, personal spending and non-required supplies.


Scholarships for the Summer Institute are awarded to students in high academic standing with significant creative potential and financial need. Scholarship awards are competitive. Students are able to apply for either a merit- or need-based scholarship. 

Learn about Summer Institute scholarships.

The feeling of being surrounded by peers and professionals who shared my enthusiasm and desire to create art was overwhelmingly positive for my wellbeing and creative ability. The amount of growth I felt in my artistry and personal identity was truly empowering.
— Chenoa Yelle ’25 (Acting), ’19 (Summer Institute)

Summer Institute Theater 2022

Watch the final performance of our Theater students!


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