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A guide to 2023 summer school courses for young performers and graduates

Participating in a theatre-related summer school can be a great opportunity to build skills, try something new, and sample different drama schools. There are a range of training opportunities for performers throughout the UK and Ireland this July and August – as well as plenty of local youth theatres, drama groups, theatres that offer summer schools. Here, we share some of the different ones you can sign up for this summer:

Traditional drama summer schools

Taking a summer school at a well-known drama school can be an excellent way to explore if the school is a good fit for your future training.

  • RADA

In 2023, RADA is going to Manchester for the first time. At the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester, RADA will offer a one-week course on the fundamentals of classical acting for students aged 18+. RADA also runs summer courses in London for students aged 16+ and 18+, including courses in acting, musical theatre, and storytelling.

Michelle Chadwick, Head of Short Course Training at RADA, says, “Our summer schools offer a robust and challenging taste of actor training at RADA in a lively and collaborative environment.”

Book your place or find out more information here.

  • The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama

Many short courses are offered by the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama for both beginners and experienced theatre makers. These include: acting for camera, clowning, devising, audition techniques, directing, creating complex characters, stage combat and Shakespeare.

Book your place or find out more information here.

  • The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s summer school programme has courses for all ages and experience levels taught by leading experts, including courses in acting for camera, directing, musical theatre audition preparation, fundamentals of dance teaching (credit-rated), and filmmaking.

Helen McVey, Director of Business Development at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, says, “Each year, hundreds of people from all over the world take part in our vibrant programme of summer schools, whether in-person or online.”

Book your place or find out more information here.

  • Italia Conti

Italia Conti is presenting a new one-week, intensive pre-vocational summer school, aimed at pushing students to achieve their creative best and prepare them for full-time training in the performing arts. Acting, dance, or musical theatre courses are available and taught by experienced staff and industry experts. This learning takes place in new purpose-built facilities in Woking, Surrey.

Book your place or find out more information here.


If you’re looking for training longer than a week, LAMDA offers two, four, and eight weeklong summer schools to choose from. These longer summer schools are ideal for those new to drama school training, as well as those looking to develop their skills in an evolving industry.

Book your place or find out more information here.

  • The Lir Academy 

The Lir Academy in Dublin offers summer schools for a variety of ages, with courses for 13-15-year-olds, 15-17-year-olds, and for students 18 and over. Many of their courses show students the reality of intensive training and are perfect for those considering a career in the industry. The Lir Academy run a summer acting camp, a young actors programme, and courses in acting, character development, musical theatre, and clowning.

Most of the traditional drama schools offer a variety of different summer courses. However, not all are created equally. So, don’t be afraid to ask who will be teaching. If it’s the teaching staff from the core BA and MA courses, then this is a good sign.

Book your place or find out more information here.

Other types of summer school

It’s not only the drama schools who are offering high quality training this summer. Here are some other options to look into:

  • Free opportunities in London 

The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama are collaborating to offer young people free programmes this summer. They’ll be working with the London Borough of Camden’s youth project where 14-18-year-olds across the borough will be involved with free activities. This includes creating a play in a week, and an introduction to performance design.

Book your place or find out more information here.

Also, for the first time since 2019 – following a pause due to the pandemic – Central is delighted to support outreach partners Generation Arts to bring back their three-week summer school, allowing young people from across the capital to experience a free taster in actor training.

Book your place or find out more information here.

  • Make your West End debut

West End Stage provides a week-long course, led by West End performers, accumulating in a show at Her Majesty’s Theatre. Students aged 8-21 years rehearse at Guildhall School of Music and Drama in central London. Accommodation is available, plus there are multiple different weeks to choose from.

Book your place or find out more information here.

  • Join the National Youth Theatre

The National Youth Theatre is well known for its outstanding summer training courses – and they’re expanding!

Paul Roseby, NYT CEO and Artistic Director, says, “Alongside our intake courses in a record seven locations around the UK, we’re bringing our drama club to Bristol and Manchester for younger people for the first time. We’re also responding to the latest developments in the industry with Acting for Video Games […] and Advanced Acting for Screen, which complements our screen initiatives with Netflix in Wales, West Yorkshire and the Northeast.”

Book your place or find out more information here.

Summer schools for children

Summer schools are a good option if you have younger children. Many parents say drama helps their child with confidence, teamwork, making friends, creativity and more.

  • Sylvia Young Theatre School     

Sylvia Young Theatre School runs two courses in summer: musical theatre for 10-18-year-olds, and theatre classes for 7-18-year-olds.

Book your place or find out more information.

  • Stagecoach     

Stagecoach runs many summer schools throughout the UK for children and teens. Some Stagecoach schools put on a play in a week, others a musical, and some even offer courses in screen acting.

Put in your postcode here to find out what’s on near you this summer.

As you can see, there are many excellent training opportunities for you to explore this summer. Learn something new, add skills to your toolkit, introduce yourself to acting techniques you’ve never tried before, and most of all, have fun!

Take a look at our website for more helpful resources for parentsyoung performers and graduates.

Sam is the author of ‘100 Acting Exercises for 8–18 Year Olds‘, published by Bloomsbury. She worked as a freelance drama teacher for 11 years and ran a Youth Theatre, which grew into one of the largest regional Youth Theatres in the UK. She’s now a full-time writer, writing drama teaching resources, for The Stage newspaper, and fiction for young adults.

Headshot credit: Rosalind Hobley

Main image credit: Alex Evans