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A Return to the Stage: Seattle-Area Summer Theater Opportunities for Kids and Teens

4 awesome local opportunities for kids interested in learning theater this summer

Linda Yan

Published on: July 07, 2021

students performing in a penguin productions summer show
Students performing in a Penguin Productions summer show | Photo Credit: Paul Bestock

Summer is here — and so is summer theater! With an increase in local vaccination rates and the reopening of our state, many local youth theater companies are offering summer programs, both in person and virtually.

Theater may seem daunting to those who have never tried it before, or to anyone after a year of online socialization but it actually provides the perfect opportunity to transition back into the world of in-person events. 

“If you’re on the fence, you should give it a try,” says local youth actor Miranda Gilbert. “Because even if it’s out of your comfort zone, it will probably be fun, and I think there will be a lot of cool people in there.” 

With its emphasis on collaboration in creative and physical spaces, theater is a great way for kids and teens to form connections, grow creatively and learn valuable skills through an art form full of possibilities.

Most youth theater opportunities are either weekly camps or summer-long productions. Weekly camps can range from splash camps offering exposure to a wide variety of theater practices and activities, to intensives focusing on one specific area of craft, to having the objective of creating a production. On the other hand, production opportunities allow for a more complete immersion into the world of a theatrical story during the course of anywhere from a few days to a month. Sadie Gingold, another local actor and rising senior notes, “Summer theater is definitely worth it — definitely worth the friendships and the experience and the community.”

Here is a round-up of four opportunities for your child or teen to learn and practice theater this summer. 

Penguin Productions

Penguin Productions unties youth leadership and adult mentorship to co-create theater and cultivate a healthy, equitable, thriving future. Founded four years ago by Seattle-based theater director and educator Shana Bestock, Penguin centers youth voices in leadership and performance, and offers all programs on a pay-what-you-will basis. 

This summer, Penguin will be offering multiple productions and workshops, including:

“The Tempest”
Ages: 14–19
Dates: June 28–July 23, on Monday–Friday, 1–4 p.m., with performances on July 24 and 25 at 2 p.m.
Location: Green Lake Park
Cost: Pay what you can

Summer Improv
Ages: 14–19
Dates: Tuesdays, July 6–27, 4:30–6 p.m.
Location: Live and in person, outside at Green Lake Park
Cost: Pay what you can

“A Midsummer Night’s Dream”
Ages: 9–14
Dates: July 19–23, 9 a.m.–3 p.m., performance on July 23 at 3 p.m.
Location:  Green Lake Park

Acting With Disabilities
Featuring Guest Panelists Mickey Rowe and Annie Jankovic
Ages: 13+
Dates: Thursday, July 15, 4–5:30 p.m.
Location: West Green Lake Park
Cost: Pay-what-you-can

Seattle Children’s Theatre

Founded in 1975, the Seattle Children’s Theatre (SCT) is one of the most prominent theatres for young audiences in the United States and the world. In part due to the pandemic, SCT has shifted away from its SummerStage program, which offered summer-long production camps at the Charlotte Martin Theater in Seattle, to a more flexible weekly camp structure at multiple sites.

From June 14–August 27, SCT will be offering weekly camps, both virtually and in person (indoors), for youths ages 3.5–18. Prices range from $110–$380, with need-based scholarships available.

Youth Theatre Northwest

Since 1984, Youth Theatre Northwest (YTN) has been one of the region’s premier youth arts organizations, providing dynamic programming for thousands of children and families. Each year, YTN stages 13 productions, offers year-round classes and provides outreach programs for diverse communities throughout the region.

YTN will be offering three production opportunities this summer at a tiered payment system based on each family’s financial situation. These productions will all be mostly in-person with some virtual instruction. All in-person activities will be performed with COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions in place.

“13: The Musical”
Grades: 6–12
Dates: Rehearsals: June 21–July 8, Monday–Friday, 4–9:30 p.m.; Performances: July 9, 10, 16 and 17 at 7 p.m. 
Cost: $425–$625

“The Princess and the Frog” 
Grades: 1–6
Dates: Rehearsals (in person): June 28–July 14, 10 a.m.–2 p.m.; Performances: Thursday, July 15 at 11 a.m. and Saturday, July 17 at 11 a.m. 
Cost: $375–$575

“Shrek Jr.”
Grades: 4–12
Dates: Rehearsals: July 19–23, 7–9:30 p.m., August 2–19, Monday–Friday, 4–9 p.m.; Performances: August 20, 21, 27 and 28 at 7 p.m. 
Cost: $425–$625

Seattle Shakespeare Company

The Seattle Shakespeare Company (SCC) is the Puget Sound region’s year-round, professional, classical theater, committed to staging provocative performances based on the time-tested words and ideas of Shakespeare and other classical playwrights.

This summer, SSC will once again be offering its popular Camp Bill with the theme of “Shakespeare in the Park.” This three-week camp will be completely in-person and take place outdoors, and will consist of everything from “rehearsing scenes, learning monologues [and] playing theater games.”

Ages: 11–18
Dates: July 26–August 12, Monday–Thursday, 10 a.m.–2 p.m.
Location: Seward Park Amphitheater
Cost: $500

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