Anthony J. Piccione
This week officially marks the first full week of summer. Students are just getting out of school, unless they’re in college, in which case they’ve been on break for a while already. For many adults, as well, now may be the time of year where they finally get a bit of time off from work – depending on their job – to relax a bit more than usual. However, regardless of how old you are or what you do for a living, this should always be an especially great time of year for anyone who loves theatre. There are plenty of opportunities during this time of year for people to either see a show or be in a show, from Broadway to regional theatre to community theatre. For this reason, I’ve decided to make a short list of just a few reasons why summer is – by far – the best time of year to be a theatre person.
For this list, I’ve come up with just a few things – in no particular order – that help both people who love to do theatre and those who love watching theatre alike think about what it is they might enjoy doing during the summer, whether it may be this summer or possibly for next summer. Some are more suitable for those who are still in school, while others are things that professional adult actors might rather enjoy, while a few are things that those of all ages can appreciate. So without further adieu, here is the list:
• Brush up your Shakespeare (or any other form of theatre) – Various theatre groups across the country (i.e. Hartford Stage here in Connecticut) have classes and/or workshops for people of all ages who are looking to either get into theatre for the first time, or are wanting to further improve their skills. Depending on the theatre, they may offer such opportunities not just for actors, but also for directors and playwrights and more. This is certainly something that is not to be missed for anyone that is interested!
• In college? Consider summer stock theatre – Whether you’re planning on acting or going into tech theatre, this is an especially great opportunity to gain experience during the summer so that you’ll be ready to find more work after you graduate. Usually, auditions are held earlier in the year for summer stock, but for anyone thinking about next summer that isn’t already doing this, this is a great thing to keep in mind.
• Or internships – This is also the time of year when various theatre companies are offering internship opportunities for students, which is another great way to gain experience in the particular area of theatre you plan on going into after graduation. For anyone interested in doing one in the summer that isn’t already doing one, keep an eye out for such opportunities in the spring. (Although if you don’t mind taking a semester to do an internship doing the school year, it might not hurt to start looking now.)
• Forget regular summer camp. If you’re a kid or teen, sign-up for a theatre summer program – I used to do these sorts of programs when I was a teenager. As I got older, I spent a bit of time working at them as a teaching assistant and assistant director, as well. Participating in a program like this usually means that you not only get to be in a show. You also get to take classes and workshops like the ones I previously mentioned. Depending on the program you might get to take a field-trip to a show. But most importantly, you get to make a bunch of new friends who love theatre as much as you do! This is absolutely something to consider for our younger readers, or parents of any kids and teens that are reading this.
• Then there is community theatre – For theatre lovers who don’t feel like leaving home for the summer for work or an internship, or who may not be able to afford an expensive theatre summer program for kids, this is also the time of year when many community theatres – both for kids and adults – hold auditions for a show that will be rehearsed over the course of the summer, and will inevitably open before summer ends, likely in July or August. As someone who has done a TON of community theatre here in Connecticut over the years, I know for a fact that this is the BEST time to have some fun and get involved in a local community theatre.
• Season auditions at several theatres – During the summer, some theatres – both community and regional – hold season auditions for all of the shows that they will be doing over the next year or so. Even if you aren’t a member of the Actors Equity Association, some professional theatres hold auditions for specific roles for non-Equity actors. So if you feel you’ve got what it takes, be sure to keep an eye out for such audition opportunities when they come up!
• Planning a family trip? How about a Tony-award winning show at NYC – One thing that nearly every family loves to do (or at least hopes to do) during the summer is take a family vacation. If you or anyone else in your family loves theatre, now is probably the best chance you will get during the entire year to go down to NYC to see Fun Home, Something Rotten or any other show on Broadway right now that you might be interested in seeing!
• Catch some sun and some theatre at the same time – Another great thing about the summer is that it may be the one time of year where you can take the show outside of the auditorium and still enjoy it without worrying about the weather. There are a few theatre companies – particularly in places such as New York – that offer such opportunities to see an outdoor show on a great summer day, so be sure to check them out!
What do you think? Are there any additional reasons that you’d like to add to this list? Is there anyone out there that might actually have another time of year in mind, as far as “best time of year to do theatre”? Let us know in the comments section! We always love to hear what our readers have to say!