Skip to main content

Summer Theatre Institute

The Summer Theatre Institute at DeSales University, in association with The Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, offers professional theatre training to high school and college students, educators, and members of the community, as well as the best in drama education for younger students.

In the young adult programs, STI offers a broad range of specialized theatre training typically available only to theatre majors in a university curriculum. The staff is comprised of performing artists and teachers at the top of their fields, including Broadway professionals, university professors, and drama educators.

The Summer Theatre Institute (STI)

  • offers programs for students in grade 4 and up
  • provides a broad range of specialized theatre training typically available only to theatre majors in a university curriculum
  • staffed by highly-skilled performing artists including Broadway professionals and university professors
  • previous enrollees included students from as far away as Minnesota!

The Intensive Program is a two-week, full-day program for high school and college students providing foundational training in all the major disciplines of theatre performance and production, including:

  • acting
  • musical theatre performance
  • technical design
  • audition technique
  • stage combat
  • dance

Those who have completed the Intensive program may enroll in the Advanced Intensive Program. The Junior program is also offered, which is a two-week, full-day program for students in grade 4 through middle school.

Two options for submitting your registration

Paying online
Register and pay online

Paying by check
Download registration form

Mail registration form and payment to:
Summer Theatre Institute
DeSales University
2755 Station Avenue
Center Valley, PA 18034

Summer Theatre Institute Information

  • Director's Welcome

    It is our pleasure to invite you to join us at the Summer Theatre Institute (STI) this summer.

    For years, we in the Performing and Fine Arts Department received phone calls asking if we could share the well-known strengths of our undergraduate theatre program through summer courses and workshops. We were very pleased to respond to that need with STI.

    Our promise to you is that the same high standards that have made the DeSales University Theatre program a regional leader and a recipient of national recognition for excellence will be in full force at STI.

    Come spend the summer with us or give your child the benefit of this incomparable opportunity. We know you will be glad you did!

    Amy Best, Director

  • General Information

    The Institute

    The Summer Theatre Institute (STI) at DeSales University, in association with The Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, offers professional theatre training to high school and college students, educators, and members of the community, as well as the best in drama education for younger students. In the young adult programs, STI offers a broad range of specialized theatre training typically available only to theatre majors in a university curriculum.

    The staff is comprised of performing artists and teachers at the top of their fields, including Broadway professionals, university professors, and drama educators.

    Mission

    STI exists to create access to unparalleled professional theatre training and theatre education for the residents of this region and beyond. Ultimately, STI seeks to enrich participants’ lives.

    Residential Option

    Students in the Intensives and Tech/Design programs have the option to live on campus for the duration of the program. (See Finances page for costs.) The Residential Option includes additional evening and weekend activities.

    The DeSales University Theatre Program

    The DeSales University Performing and Fine Arts Department is home to one of the premier theatre programs on the East Coast. Located in the beautiful Labuda Center for the Performing Arts, which houses three theatres, rehearsal and dance studios, a television studio, and excellent technical facilities and equipment, the theatre program balances excellence in professional training, academics, and performance. The program provides students with the most thorough foundational education in theatre available to undergraduates anywhere. The faculty is comprised entirely of dedicated working professionals committed to the development of the total person and to offering the highest quality theatre education possible. In the summer, the University produces The Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival (PSF), an Equity theatre company that provides professional internship opportunities for theatre majors. DeSales University Theatre alumni lead successful and fulfilling lives, and many now grace stages, screens, backstages, and management offices at the highest levels of American theatre, dance, television, and film.

  • Programs

    Acting/Musical Theatre Intensive 

    Residential Option Available
    *College credit available for students with a high school graduation date of 2020 or prior. 

    High School/College Students (and up) 3 credits*
    July 9 – July 20 , 2018 • Mon – Fri, 8:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

    The Acting/Musical Theatre Intensive component offers each student individualized training in acting, musical theatre performance, dance, voice/speech, and movement. Performing artists at the top of their fields, including Broadway professionals and university professors, staff the program. Students will attend Shakespeare in Love at PSF, and will also benefit from interaction with PSF artists. 

    Tech/Design Intensive 

    Residential Option Available
    *College credit available for students with a high school graduation date of 2020 or prior. 

    High School/College Students (and up) 3 credits*
    July 9 – July 20, 2018 • Mon – Fri, 8:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

     This is a course in the fundamentals of the art and craft of theatre technology and design, which offers exercises and techniques, a glossary of industry-standard terminology, and an introduction to design concepts and skills. Activities will include attendance at Shakespeare in Love and Alice in Wonderland, as well as opportunities to observe professional technical rehearsals. The 2016 Intensive Tech/ Design program included working with innovative materials used by the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival to make masks.

    Acting/Musical Theatre Advanced Intensive 

    Residential Option Available

    High School Jrs./Srs. & College (and up) 6 credits*
    July 9 – July 20, 2018 • Mon – Fri, 8:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

    Prerequisite: Acting/Musical Theatre Component

     An advanced extension of The Intensive, this two-week, full-day program deepens the exploration of disciplines such as musical theatre, stage combat, advanced acting situations, mask work, and acting as a profession. There will also be an increased emphasis on performance. Students will attend Shakespeare in Love at PSF, and will also benefit from interaction with PSF artists. 

    Tech/Design Advanced Intensive 

    Residential Option Available

    High School Jrs./Srs. & College (and up) 6 credits*
    July 9 – July 20, 2018 • Mon – Fri, 8:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

    Prerequisite: Tech/Design Intensive Component

     In the Advanced Intensive Technical Design Component, each student can specialize in a specific area of design or technology (Scene Design, Lighting, Sound, Costume Design, or Stage Management). This program also offers the ability for more hands-on interaction with PSF. Students will attend Alice in Wonderland and have the opportunity to observe Shakespeare in Love from a backstage perspective.

    *Students interested in receiving college credit must submit an electronic audition or portfolio/interview.

    The Junior Program

    Grades 4 through 8
    July 9 – July 20, 2018 • Mon – Fri, 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

    This program offers theatre games, improvisation, and technique fundamentals as tools in the creative exploration of musical theatre performance, acting, movement, and voice/speech. Students will benefit from interaction with Intensive instructors and PSF artists. Course activities will include attendance at Alice in Wonderland at PSF. The program will culminate in an informal presentation for family members.

  • Finances

    Intensive Acting/Musical Theatre or Tech/Design

    • Tuition: $870
    • Activities Fee: $115
    • Total: $985
    • College Credits: 3 ($1,035)*

    Advanced Intensive Acting/Musical Theatre or Tech/Design

    • Tuition: $870
    • Activities Fee: $115
    • Total: $985
    • College Credits: 3 ($1,035)*

    Junior Program

    • Tuition: $525
    • Activities Fee: $50
    • Total: $575

    Room $600 + Board $600 + Residential program fee $250 + Security deposit $100 (+ above total $985)=$2,535

    * COLLEGE CREDIT
    Those students interested in receiving college credit will need to pay an additional $50 for the 3 credit course. College credit is available to students with a graduation date of 2020 or prior.

    STI REFUND POLICY
    Students who withdraw before May 9, 2018 will receive a full refund, less a $25 fee.

    Students who withdraw between May 10 , 2018 and July 6, 2018 will receive a refund less a $125 fee.

    NO MONEY will be refunded FOR ANY REASON after July 6, 2018.

    Need-based Scholarships

    A limited number of need-based scholarships are available for students who meet the criteria.

    Please apply using the need-based scholarship application.

    Please note: this form requires the first page of your parents’ 2017 Income Tax Return. For security purposes, if there are any Social Security numbers on that form, please black them out as we do not use that information to determine your eligibility.

  • Faculty & Guest Artists

    Amy Best

    Director, STI—Costume Designer and Faculty, DeSales University
    Ms. Best has taught at summer camps for more than 15 years. She has designed the costumes for 57 productions at DeSales University and 25 productions at PSF. Her designs have also been seen in and around Chicago, Texas, Kansas, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and England.

    Jessica Bedford

    Jessica Bedford is a Philadelphia-based actor, playwright, director, and teacher. Her most recent stage credits include A Christmas Carol at the McCarter, The Revolutionists at Theatre Horizon, and Don't Dress for Dinner at The Lantern Theatre Co. She has taught at Montgomery County Community College, Villanova University, Temple University, University of the Arts, and DeSales University, as well as for the Performing Arts Project at Wake Forrest University. 

    John Bell

    Musical Theatre Instructor, Performing Arts Division Head, DeSales University
    A professional director, choreographer, conductor, and actor, Mr. Bell’s professional credits include the Old Globe Theatre, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Meadowbrook Theatre, the Orlando Shakespeare Festival, the Virginia Opera, and the Michigan Opera. Mr. Bell is a published scholar on the life and work of composer/lyricist Stephen Sondheim, and he interned on the world premiere of Sondheim’s Into the Woods.

    Steven Dennis

    Acting Instructor & Faculty, DeSales University
    Mr. Dennis' television work includes a recurring role on Star Trek: Voyager as well as guest-star roles on NBC's Profiler, ABC's MiraclesThe Young and the Restless, and two episodes of Enterprise. He has appeared in over 30 equity stage roles at award-winning regional theatres and in New York, and he has directed in New York and Los Angeles as well as regionally.

    Heather Feeney

    Technical Director, DeSales University
    Ms. Feeney has worked at the Tony Award winning Utah Shakespearean Festival, most recently as the Assistant Scenery Supervisor in the Adams Theatre. At Play Makers Repertory Company, she was Production Assistant Technical Director on several shows as well as Production Technical Director for Stones in His Pockets.

    Anne Lewis

    Acting Instructor and Faculty, DeSales University
    Ms. Lewis has worked professionally in the acting field for more than 25 years. She has enjoyed diverse professional experiences from Cabaret shows, to musicals, to Shakespeare. She has done radio shows and commercials as well as television commercials, films, and video work. Two of her most recognizable film credits are Girl, Interruptedand Let's Talk. She has also taught drama and acting for drama arts schools, Jewish community centers, high schools, and college.

    Jeff McDonnell

    Mr. McDonnell is a Philadelphia-based musician who has performed in cabaret, concert, and theatre venues throughout the Philadelphia area. A versatile singer and pianist, Jeff regularly performs in solo shows and with other singers and musicians, featuring music from The Great American Songbook. Jeff is the co-director of the Philadelphia Cabaret Performance Class and teaches voice and piano in his home in Philadelphia and piano at DeSales University in Center Valley, Pa.

    Tara Madsen Robbins

    Ms. Madsen Robbins is a professional performer, choreographer, and educator based in Philadelphia. She performed with the modern dance company Tania Isaac Dance from 2006 to 2009. Tara has presented her choreography internationally throughout Spain, Guatemala, Italy, Greece, and Scotland where her work received critical acclaim. Nationally, she is an award-winning choreographer and has presented her work throughout the U.S. She has been invited as a master teacher/choreographer to colleges, universities, performing arts high schools, conventions, dance camps conferences, festivals, and conservatories, as well as many private studios along the East Coast. She taught in the dance department at DeSales University from 2006-2016. Tara is currently a full-time faculty member in the dance program at Cab Calloway School of the Arts in Wilmington Delaware.

    Zack Robidas

    Mr. Robidas has appeared in countless PSF productions, including last season’s As You Like It as Orlando, and Porthos in The Three Musketeers. He has worked on multiple productions with The Orlando Shakespeare Theater as well as Flux Theatre ensemble in NYC. Film credits include Empathy, Inc, Better Off Single,It’s Complicated, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Arbitrage, The Humbling, and The Golden Scallop. He has also appeared on episodes of The DefendersBlue Bloods, 30 Rock, CSI NY, Law and Order, L&O Criminal Intent, I just Want My Pants Back, Kings, and can be seen in the upcoming HBO series Succession. He is a proud graduate of DeSales University.

    Marnie Schulenburg

    Mrs. Schulenburg appeared this past summer as Rosalind in As You Like Itand Queen Anne in The Three Musketeers for PSF. Her NY/Regional credits include How I Learned to Drive with Second Stage, South Pacific, The Foreigner, Henry V, Two Gentlemen of Verona with PSF, The Yellow Wood (directed by B.D. Wong) with NYMF, Hearts like Fists, The Angel Eaters, and Pretty Theft with Flux Theatre Ensemble. Her TV/Film credits include Alison Stewart on As The World Turns, The Young & The Restless, Jo Sullivan on One Life To Live, plus guest star and recurring roles on ElementaryManhattan Love Story, Royal Pains, Alpha House, Army Wives, Canterbury’s Law, and Fringe. Marnie can also be seen in films such as Made for Each Other, Penny Dreadful, and The Golden Scallop. She is a proud graduate of DeSales University!

    Faculty and guest artists subject to change.

  • Testimonials

    "I want to thank you for another great STI experience. The change from last summer to last night's performance was amazing. [My daughter] all of a sudden became this confident and sparkling young performer. The instructions and tools she was taught in your program have truly made a remarkable change in her."

    "The opportunity to meet with professional actors was so valuable. It gave me such a wonderful insight into the world of professional theatre." 

    "If you are serious about theatre and are willing to work hard and retain a lot of knowledge about the field, absolutely enroll!" 

    "I treasure the confidence I gained from the instructors and my fellow students. I honestly couldn't find one thing that was ineffective in the program. This is the best thing I've ever done." 

    "I just wanted to tell you that the program really did work wonders. I've been getting really good roles! This program was the best theatre experience I ever had." 

    "I want to thank you for what almost every mother would want for their children — a great summer program that offers not just knowledge, but a growing personal experience. I've been deeply touched by the power of your institute. Thank you again for making such a difference to my daughter's self-esteem." 

    "Thank you for enriching my summer and teaching me many things that I will need to know in the future about art, about life, about theatre."

Contact Us

Summer Theatre Institute
2755 Station Avenue, Center Valley, PA 18034

This site uses cookies to store information on your computer. Some are essential to make our site work properly; others help us improve the user experience.

By using the site, you consent to the placement of these cookies. Read our privacy policy to learn more.

Accept