As the days get longer, temperatures rise and school demands end. It’s officially summer, most kids’ and teens’ favorite season, and a wonderful time to decompress, change up routines, pick up skills, form different relationships, and try new things.
Because young working actors carry the burden of both work and school during the academic year, summer is a valuable time to lighten up and actually be a kid, while at the same time developing new skills. Whether your child is enrolled in a theater or traditional camp, traveling, or working at home, summer affords endless possibilities for growth that can’t take place during the school year.
When I see my students in September, I marvel at how they have not only grown in inches but also in maturity. This summer, encourage your kids to get the most out of their time with these tips.
Become a camper.
I attended sleepaway camp from the age of seven. As an independent, active, social young girl, I was happiest at a camp that offered a host of activities. As I developed into a teen, summer camp became a place to blossom and form healthy relationships, some of which I still maintain today.
Listen and observe while traveling.
I love hearing of all the fascinating places my students visited over the summer. With the world as their classroom, encourage them to watch, listen, and learn. If your child wants to work on their dialect skills, consider planning a family trip to another country; the best way to learn a dialect is directly from the source.
If you’re traveling this summer, encourage your child to do a little homework by observing and listening. It can be fun and educational to speak with new people.
Delve deeply into the craft of acting.
One of my favorite sayings is, “Talent and passion are essential elements in an actor’s life. Training is the glue that holds them together.” During the school year, there is limited time to study intensely and consistently between school, rehearsals, and other commitments which makes summer a great time to take advantage of intense training in acting, singing, or dance.
Just like an athlete, your young performer needs to continually improve their skills. Intensive courses that require many hours that just aren’t feasible during the school year, making it an ideal endeavor come summer.
Volunteer and serve your community.
Sympathy and empathy can’t be taught in the classroom, but these qualities are critical to being a good actor and a good human. Being charitable is a beautiful way for kids to give back and have fun. The most successful actors are those who demonstrate the ability to give and support others. A kind and giving person is attractive and always welcome in a cast.
Learn a new skill.
A person with diverse interests who is curious and invests time in acquiring new skills comes across as vital, intriguing, and attractive. Your child’s interests outside of acting can be as essential as learning how to act or sing. The best performers are interesting people first. Casting directors love to see the pieces that make up your child and keep them well-rounded.
Take a break.
Be a kid and have fun. Wash your hair in the rain, catch lightning bugs, go fishing, read a book, lie on the beach! Just as there is much to learn with structured time, learning how to be still is a skill in and of itself. To “just be” is a core concept in acting and requires practice. Encourage your child to carve out time to rest and relax. When they do, they’ll be ready for the fall audition season with plenty of energy and excitement.
Whatever you and your child choose this summer, make sure you include plenty of time to make great memories together.
*This post was originally published on July 5, 2018. It has since been updated.
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and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Backstage or its staff.