Do you have an emerging star at home (and a long summer vacation ahead)? Try one of the many performing arts camps New Jersey has to offer. Whether your child is a shy newbie who just wants to build social skills or a junior Lin-Manuel Miranda who's aiming for Broadway, there are a myriad of choices in the Garden State. We've rounded up 20 camps that offer instruction in acting technique, musical theater, playwriting, improv, dance, and beyond.
Look to our Camp Guide and Full Directory of Listings for even more New Jersey summer camps.
The Acting Space – Jersey City
Whether your child wants to put on a show or focus on learning the fundamentals, the Acting Space has you covered. The camp is primarily geared toward ages 5–13, plus one three-week musical theater camp for ages 10–18. An extended-day option is also available.
All Children's Theatre – Parsippany and Watchung
ACT offers two two-week sessions: the Creative Dramatics/Comedy Camp, July 30 – August 10 in Parsippany; and the Broadway Kids Camp, August 13–24 in Watchung. Campers explore acting, singing, dancing, and comedy, as well as staging and scenery design. The camps culminate in one or more public performances and a cast party.
Broadway Bootcamp – Chatham
In this camp for kids ages 10–15, daily classes in acting, singing, and dancing are augmented by audition workshops and visits from Broadway performers. Daily rehearsals culminate with the performance of an original show. There is also a mini camp for ages 7–9.
Class Act Performing Arts Studio – South Orange
This studio offers three summer options for budding performers: Broadway Babies (ages 3–6), Spotlight Sensations (7–13), and iStar in iMovie (10–14). Sessions run June 25 – August 3.
Cresskill Performing Arts Center – Cresskill
Cresskill's dance-focused Born to Perform summer camp offers three five-week programs: Preschool Performers (ages 3–5), Creative Children (6–8), and Preteen/Teen Exploring Artists (9–teens). Campers will explore a variety of genres, including jazz, ballet, tap, hip-hop, gymnastics, lyrical, fencing, silks and hammocks, improv, acting and theater, and more.
Elefante Music and School for the Performing Arts – New Providence
If you really want to know what you’re getting yourself (and your kid) into, check out Elefante's YouTube channel. With a daily structured schedule of skills classes in the morning and electives in the afternoon, followed by a rehearsal for The Big Show (which is the grand finale of the two-week program), Elefante seems to be a well-run, fun, and inexpensive choice for your summer theater camper.
Essex Youth Theater – Montclair
This fun, low-pressure theatrical camp for kids ages 6–12 offers a choice of musicals, plays, or a mix-and-match of both. One- or two-week sessions are available.
Garden Street School of the Performing Arts – Hoboken
Garden Street's summer camp offers preschoolers through teens instruction in ballet, tap, jazz, hip-hop, music, art, and musical theater. Each week focuses on a different show theme, from Moana and Annie to Into the Woods and Willy Wonka. Register by the week or for all nine weeks.
Haddonfield Theater Arts Center – Haddonfield
Haddonfield offers three opportunities for a summer full of theatrical fun: a four-week intensive for ages 9–17 that culminates in a full-scale musical production (this year it's High School Musical Jr.); a two-week Broadway Babies Boot Camp for ages 4–7; and a two-week summer improv camp for ages 8–17.
McCarter Summer Theater – Princeton
Kids in grades 1–8 can choose a two-week program like Page to Stage or Improv and Beyond, while older actors (up to grade 12) can apply to take part in a three-week summer intensive. A couple of workshops are already sold out, so check it out soon.
Musical Theater Conservatory – Livingston
MTC's Broadway Boot Camp is a month-long program that culminates with a performance in NYC. Kids ages 7–18 can study acting, voice, theater dance, makeup, comedy improv, audition technique, and more, and they'll have a chance to meet with agents and Broadway actors.
New Jersey School of Dramatic Arts – Bloomfield
Kids in grades 6–12 can choose between a fun, one-week workshop (comedy improv, musical theater, acting for film and TV) or a four- or five-week intensive culminating in a performance of I, Broadway (an original show where everyone has a leading role).
Next Step Broadway – Jersey City
Kids will be singing, acting, and dancing their way to their own "musical selections" showcase at the end of each two-week session. All performers are welcome, from the amateur to the professional.
OnStage Theater Camp – Clark
This one’s all about the show, folks. Each age group puts on a full-fledged mini-musical or play at the end of camp. Bring it, kids.
Paper Mill Players Camp – Millburn
Perfect for families looking for a lighter summer schedule or those who want to leave time for other camps, Players Camp takes place June 26 – July 19 for half-day sessions on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. No auditions are required, and all classes are held at Paper Mill Playhouse. Students will present a "sharing" for families and friends on the last day of camp.
Performers Theatre Workshop – Maplewood
PTW offers a Junior Camp for kids ages 4–8 and a Senior Camp for ages 9–17. The senior program includes a final performance at a cabaret in NYC, workshops and intensives with industry professionals, and two trips to see Broadway shows.
Porchlight Studio, Stage, and Schools – Glen Rock
Hamilton, Hair, Moana, Madagascar—kids can be the star of these and other shows in Porchlight's camps for kids in K–12. Campers will study acting, voice, and dance, and there's also a technical theater program focused on behind-the-scenes magic.
Premiere Stages at Kean – Union
Camp Premiere at Kean University puts a focus on acting. The camp offers two programs: Theatremakers for kids entering grades 6–8, and Actors Studio for those entering grades 9–12. Both sessions culminate in a public performance and reception.
Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey – Madison
For two (or three, depending on your child’s age) wonderful weeks, your Junior Corp (10–14) or Senior Corp thespian (14–18) will spend five hours a day working on the classics—either a classic piece of literature adapted for the stage, or a work by the man himself, Will Shakespeare. It’s intense, lively, and fun.
Taubenslag Productions – North Brunswick
Held at Middlesex Community College, Taubenslag's theater camp offers a variety of options for kids entering first grade through 16 years old. Campers put on a different show each week, and 2018 selections include Aladdin, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and Snow White. The final two weeks are dedicated to putting on the camp's annual Broadway Spectacular. Each day also includes traditional camp fun like swimming, outdoor games, arts & crafts, and more. All experience levels are welcome!
Top photo: Get to know the classics at the Shakespeare Theater of New Jersey. Image courtesy the theater.
Originally published February 2012; updated for 2018.