Susan Elkin rounds up some of this year’s options.

Some are residential. Others work on a daily attendance basis. Some (such as Dorset Opera Summer School: lead to a large semi-professional scale production. Others simply present work for family and friends at the end of the week.

The summer school mix available across the country in 2018 includes drama of all sorts from the Greeks and Shakespeare and his contemporaries to 21st century young playwrights. There’s a great deal of Musical Theatre available in summer schools too. Or you can learn just about any aspect of technical theatre somewhere in a summer school. Also out there are courses in circus skills, comedy, writing and directing – among many other options. There are plenty of courses in ‘pure’ instrumental music and singing too if that ticks the boxes.

Providers range across drama schools, theatres, companies such as West End Summer School ( whose purpose is to provide holiday courses and may other organisations such as National Youth Theatre (and Youth Music Theatre UK ( run them too.

Twelve possibilities

Ink Pellet is not endorsing the options listed here in no particular order. We are simply giving you the flavour of the choice and breadth which is available nationwide.

Guildford School of Acting ( has a range of options for under seventeens including some for under 11s and schools for adults (17+). There are summer schools variously covering musical theatre, singing, dance and acting.

Theatretrain National International Summer School 10th Anniversary 2018 takes place in Suffolk. Open to all 6 -18 year olds – not just Theatretrain regulars. Includes dance, drama, singing, technical theatre and leads to an end-of-week performance. Residential.

LIPA 4-19 Five summer school options, all taught in Liverpool including West End Week July 30 – August 4, which develops skills in acting, dancing and singing.

Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Glasgow offers over 70 summer schools including (for adults) Acting Shakespeare and Directing for Theatre.

Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. Various courses for adults (over 18) taught on city centre campus including The Natural Voice July 17-20

Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, based at Wood Green in North London, runs two parallel three week “summer boot camps” for over 17s, one in acting and one in Musical Theatre. July 23 -August 10.

ArtsEd offers summer courses for children and adults including the ArtsEd Musical Theatre Experience which was new last year for over 17s and provides a taster of MT training for potential BA applicants. July 23-27

Theatricool Summer School. Taught in Colchester are for age 3-16. Dance, drama, singing and acting. July 23-27

Stage Management Summer School Taught in Sidcup at Rose Bruford College. One week 23-27 July. Provides an overview of the production process for people considering drama school or wanting to build on previous experience. One of a number of short course options at Rose Bruford.

Kent Music Summer Schools. Now in its eighth decade, a series of residential courses based at Benenden School, Cranbrook, Kent between July 12 and 30. Includes wind bands, symphony orchestras, string orchestras, recorder groups, choirs, jazz band, musical theatre and song writing option. Ages 8-19.

Introduction to Drama School. Taught in West London by LAMDA faculty to students over 16. Includes voice, movement, singing, acting and play building. Two week course, July 23- August 3 One of a range of LAMDA short courses.

Brass Academy Summer School at the Yehudi Menuhin School, Surrey (July 30 – August 3) and Purcell School, Bushey, Herts (August 20-24) Tuition by top flight brass players. Suitable for Grades 1 to 8+.

Notes for teachers

Not all holiday courses run in the summer. Some short courses also during the Easter break. Guildford School of Acting (GSA), for example and Rose Bruford College offer Easter holiday courses.  Some run in half term breaks too.

Many courses have completely open access – except for age restrictions. Some specify a certain level of general fitness. Higher level courses (such as RADA’s Acting Shakespeare) require an audition.

There is no government funding for short courses and very few providers offer any scholarships for them. Sometimes, however, a school or other provider will have access to a small amount of discretionary money which it can use to support a student, typically a young one, in serious need who would otherwise be unable to benefit from this opportunity. But this is not the norm and it has to be discussed and negotiated privately on an individual basis.

Summer schools are often led by the same people who teach/work in the organisation during term time. So, in the case of a drama school, it will be the school’s regular staff. Youth theatre summer schools are usually led by the term-time tutors and directors. Of course, if extra staff are needed, they are brought in as necessary. Many are themselves trained professional performers. Obviously, there is a requirement that they should be experienced teachers too and that, to work with children, they have D&B (Disclosure and Barring) clearance.