Summer Institute Theater

July 11–July 29, 2022

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

Join us in Center City Philadelphia, one of the nation’s largest theater destinations, for three weeks of immersive study. You’ll choose one of three tracks: Acting; Musical Theater; or Directing, Playwriting and Production. Modeled after the renowned UArts college experience, this program trains artists looking for individualized and hybrid opportunities to write, direct, design and produce, in addition to being on stage.

Effective August 22, masks are optional for all members of our community and campus visitors in all of the university’s public spaces, including during performances, special events and other community gatherings, with occasional exceptions. Learn more about UArts' COVID-19 policies and response


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.

Audition Techniques

You’ll learn the technique of auditioning, and explore it from the perspectives of the auditioner and the adjudicator.


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


  • Improvisation

  • Shakespeare

Directing, Playwriting and Production

  • Directing

  • Playwriting

Electives & Workshops

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Explore electives and workshops.

Further your exploration through a wide range of electives and workshops with visiting artists from Philadelphia’s and New York’s professional theater markets.

Elective topics may include Arts Management, Clown, Design, Disobedient Theater, Movement, Playwriting, Rasaboxes, Rock and Pop, Script Analysis, The Singing Instrument, Songwriting, Stage Management, Viewpoints and Vocal Ensemble.

Previous visiting artists have included

  • Jonathan Larson Award-winning composer Cesar Alvarez; 

  • Tony Award-nominated actors Forrest McClendon and Rob McClure;

  • Barrymore Award-winning artists Alex Bechtel, Ben Dibble and Justin Jain; and 

  • the internationally renowned Pig Iron Theatre Company.

A week in the life

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View a sample schedule.


  • 9–9:30 a.m. Warmup

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

  • 11 a.m.–1 p.m. Acting Studio 

  • 2– 4 p.m  Audition Techniques 

  • 4–5:30 p.m. Electives or Workshop 


  • 9–9:30 a.m. Warmup

  • 9:30–11 a.m. Collaborative Process 

  • 11 a.m.–1 p.m. Acting Studio 

  • 2– 4 p.m Musical Theater Performance, Shakespeare or Playwriting 

  • 4–5:30 p.m. Electives or Workshop 


  • 9–9:30 a.m. Warmup

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

  • 11 a.m.–1 p.m. Acting Studio 

  • 2– 4 p.m. Audition Techniques 

  • 4–5:30 p.m. Electives or Workshop 


  • 9–9:30 a.m. Warmup

  • 9:30–11 a.m. Collaborative Process 

  • 11 a.m.–1 p.m. Acting Studio 

  • 2–4 p.m. Musical Theater Performance, Shakespeare or Playwriting 

  • 4–5:30 p.m. Electives or Workshop 


  • 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 1 p.m. and 2 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 2022 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

Nicole Renna

Ben Smallen

Rob Tucker_headshot
Rob Tucker

How to Apply

The last day to apply was May 15, 2022

Tuition and Fees  

Tuition: $3,400
Program Fee: $150  
Housing and Meals: $1,390

Commuter Total: $3,550
Residential Total: $4,940

Students are expected to bring supplies with them or purchase them once they arrive on campus. Supply lists will be shared one month prior to the start of the program 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 2019

Watch the final performance of our Theater students!


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