Summer Pre-College Drama

The Pre-College Drama Program’s rigorous, conservatory style challenges and pushes students in a way that makes them hungry for more. The length and depth of the summer conservatory-style program immerses students in a way that shorter programs don’t allow. This total immersion can lead to a stronger resolve to pursue a career in theatre, helping students to understand the work involved and providing a clear picture of what the future holds, or, for students less sure of their career path, propose a wider liberal arts program where students can explore other options in the college careers.

Since the Pre-College Drama Program focuses on the audition process rather than a production, students enter college auditions with a repertoire of monologues and songs, as well as the skills needed to find material appropriate for their age and type. The opportunity for students to hone their pieces with nationally acclaimed faculty and perform a mock audition, for which they receive constructive feedback, gives the students a clear idea of their strengths and weaknesses, allowing them to continue the work begun at Carnegie Mellon, with more focus and specificity to increase their chances on the college audition circuit. The design/production experience offers the same advantages, giving such a close approximation of the demands of a BFA conservatory program, that students would know by the final interview if their interest and work habits were strong enough for a conservatory program.

While Pre-College Drama participants realize that only a small number of prospective students and summer program attendees alike actually get accepted into the undergraduate program at Carnegie Mellon, the idea of being allowed to continue the experience that they sampled in the summer program, as a college student, is something that motivates students and carries them forward on their path. The Pre-College Drama experience helps students grow in all ways as they begin to experience the freedom and independence of college life, along with the expectation that they must work hard, and do it themselves.

The Experience

The School of Drama’s Pre-College program is not a summer camp. It is an intensive program modeled after our undergraduate BFA curriculum. Students should arrive on campus expecting to participate in an intense college-level program. 

The Carnegie Mellon Pre-College program provides a strong basis for the student to decide whether or not to pursue further professional theater training. At the end of the program, students will receive a written evaluation of their work in each course. 

The honing of audition skills or the creation of a design and production portfolio is the primary component of the Pre-College curriculum. At the conclusion of the Pre-College program, students from all options are required to complete a mock audition or interview for the School of Drama at Carnegie Mellon. Because the program is geared toward individual progress rather than product, there is no “final production.”

Expectations

Students are expected to fulfill all the requirements of the program in which they are enrolled, including, without limitation: attending and participating in all classes; completing all assigned coursework, homework, projects, exams and any other program requirements. 

Classes run Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Students will have a daily lunch break, and depending on course load, may have an additional free period during the day.

Optional workshops and Master’s classes are held in the evenings, Monday through Thursday. Weekends are intended for homework, independent rehearsal and Student Life activities.

Please remember that there is an academic component to the Pre-College Drama Program. Students from all options are required to take Dramatic Literature.

Curriculum

The Acting curriculum includes classes in acting, voice and speech, movement, audition techniques, styles acting Shakespeare and dramatic literature, with a choice of one courses in playwriting, directing, acting for the camera, tap and improvisation available as electives.

The Music Theater curriculum mirrors the Acting curriculum, with courses in singing and dance rather than voice and speech, movement and styles. Music Theater studies will focus on the rudiments of music and singing in large and small group sessions. Dance classes consist of training in ballet and jazz and are tailored for beginning, intermediate and advanced dance students. Musical Theater majors can also choose from playwriting, directing, acting for the camera, tap and improvisation for their one elective option.

Design and Production Technology and Management students will be exposed to a curriculum of basic design, scene painting, technical production, drafting, stage lighting and dramatic literature.

Private voice lessons are also available for an additional fee.    

Fees & Requirements

There are a limited number of scholarships available for students applying to the Summer Programs for Diversity for the Fine Arts. Scholarships cover the costs of tuition, housing and dining. All students are responsible for the costs of books, supplies, transportation and recreational expenses, with an average cost of $300. Students who are awarded scholarships will be notified in their decision letter.

Students are highly encouraged to live on campus. The School of Drama is not able to make special class arrangements for commuters.