August 08, 2022


Highschool performing arts college students took heart stage throughout this summer time’s annual performing camp at Catholic College, and for the primary time because the COVID-19 pandemic started, actors are again at dwelling.

The Excessive Faculty Drama Institute gives three full weeks of intensive coaching for aspiring skilled actors, together with vocal, dance and performing masterclasses taught by Catholic College school and theater professionals. Drama professor and head of the Masters in Theater Training program Rosalind Flynn, PhD, who co-directed this 12 months’s institute with Catholic College lecturer Matt Ripa, MFA, 2008, described the expertise as a condensed college-level semester curriculum. which supplies each scholar an opportunity to be within the limelight

“Many different summer time drama reveals are about placing on productions. But when you consider productions it is normally about main roles after which a refrain,” mentioned Flynn, BA 1978. “Our program is way extra egalitarian as a result of each scholar is featured. They’ll sing a solo track, do a monologue, star in a scene, or all dance collectively.”

Highlights throughout this 12 months’s July 11-29 season included an audition workshop with knowledgeable casting director and a subject journey to a touring Broadway musical on the Nationwide Theater in Washington DC. The camp culminates in a night theater efficiency the place college students showcase their abilities over the previous few weeks.

“We work all day and it is one thing I actually get pleasure from,” mentioned Akinel Armand, a 16-year-old junior who attends the Duke Ellington Faculty of the Arts in Washington, DC. “I am going to a performing arts faculty, we do rather a lot there, but it surely’s a conservative program.” Armand, who has an curiosity in performing, performed the lead in a recreation show-inspired scene created by the scholars who carried out at this 12 months’s finale present.

That is the primary time since 2019 that college students stayed in Catholic college dormitories due to earlier pandemic insurance policies. Flynn mentioned that though he was lucky sufficient to have the ability to practice in individual final 12 months, college students needed to come to campus daily. He mentioned a return to normalcy signifies that this 12 months’s class will get a fuller understanding of the school expertise, as dwelling and dealing on campus immerses every scholar of their ardour for efficiency.

The 2022 Excessive Faculty Drama Institute had about 15 college students and the small measurement permits every participant to obtain one-on-one mentorship, mentioned Rising Excessive Faculty junior Elina Viana, 17. She acquired performing and singing teaching in a solo efficiency. “Will He Like Me?”, a track from the traditional Broadway musical “She Loves Me” in scholar efficiency.

“I really like the best way our professors train us. It is rather completely different from the courses I take as a result of it is extremely private. They construct relationships with us and get to know us to allow them to assist us,” mentioned Viana, who attends Bishop Eraton Excessive Faculty in Alexandria, Va.

Flynn mentioned college students inform her that different elements that appeal to them are the establishment’s shorter size than comparable summer time applications, aggressive pricing (together with a restricted variety of partial scholarships), and the requirement that candidates are at the least a rising junior. They supply extra assurance that they’ll work with friends who’re in comparable life levels.

The Catholic College of America first held a highschool performing arts occasion within the Seventies, with well-known alumni together with Julia Louis-Dreyfus of Seinfeld and Veep and Anna Gastier of Saturday Night time Stay. Flynn, who joined the institute as a younger Catholic college alumnus, attracts on the present iteration during which he was instrumental in rebooting his foundational expertise in 2015. He mentioned this system has grow to be the most important recruitment instrument for the Catholic College of Rome Faculty of Music, Drama and Artwork, estimating that about 20 p.c of first-year school college students from every class participated in this system.

Elena Francis, 16, a homeschooled rising senior from Spherical Hill, Virginia, mentioned her expertise on the camp “actually influenced” her postgraduate plans. Francis mentioned that the great schooling she acquired in performing, dancing and singing helped her uncover herself as an artist.

“I actually wished to go to New York and now I actually need to come right here to check,” Francis mentioned. “Professors encourage you to establish your self inside the theater as a result of that’s what it’s – expression. I believe they assist us to return into ourselves as actors.”