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Department of Theatre and Dance

  • Logo for USC Summer Drama Conservatory surrounded by photos of children acting.

Summer Drama Conservatory

Give your young theatre artist the USC stage at our Summer Drama Conservatory!Programs are available for students in grades 1 through 12, as well as students on the Autism Spectrum aged 10-14.

Conservatory Dates: June 10-28, 2024

Application Deadline: June 3!

Apply Today

Click the link above to register your student(s) and pay through our USC Marketplace online store.

About USC Summer Drama

The USC Drama Conservatory is hosted by the University of South Carolina Department of Theatre and Dance. For more than 35 years, the department’s theatre program has sustained a reputation as the state’s premiere resource for theatre instruction, offering undergraduate and advanced degrees in performance, design, directing and teacher training.

Conservatory Instructors

Youth learn from conservatory director and USC theatre professor Peter Duffy along with a company of graduate theatre students. Our instructors are dedicated to providing aspiring theatre artists with a challenging and fun training and performance experience.

Camps Offered

June 10-14, 2024
Mon - Fri only

9am - 12pm*

The Early Elementary Conservatory Program is a one-week program of morning drama activities. Through theatre games, role-play exercises and creative movement, students will further develop their emerging drama skills and learn to work together as an ensemble. A sharing day at the end of the week will be held for family and friends to come and observe the students in their favorite activities. Students will also be invited guests to the High School Conservatory’s final production.

June 10–14, 2024
Mon - Fri only
9am - 12pm*

The Upper Elementary Conservatory Program is a process-oriented, one-week session of morning classes. Students will be guided through scene work and theatre activities that focus on skill building and ensemble development. Students will learn basic choreography, acting technique and physical/vocal warm-ups. Family and friends will be invited to observe their developments on a final sharing day at the end of the program. Students will also be invited guests to the High School Conservatory’s final production.

June 17-28, 2024
Mon - Fri only
9am - 12pm*

The Middle School Conservatory Program is a two-week morning training program for aspiring actors. Classes in acting, movement and voice, along with scene-study and monologue work will prepare students to more adeptly take on auditions and performance work in their future. The program will culminate in an acting showcase for friends and family. Students will also be invited guests to the High School Conservatory’s final production.

June 17-28, 2024
Mon - Fri only
9am - 12pm*

Students in this camp will investigate the art of improvisational theatre and sketch comedy. The students will play theatre games, explore both long and short form improvisation as well as receive training in writing for sketch comedy. Students will get the opportunity to learn and receive feedback from industry professionals. At the end of the two weeks, the students will perform their original sketch comedy pieces and long form improv for friends and family. This camp meets mornings only. There is no audition required.

June 17-28, 2024
Mon - Fri only
9am - 4pm*

Video Audition Required

Click here for submission information


This full-day camp is for students who are passionate about theatre and are looking for intensive training in acting and performance. Students will audition for the camp and will become a select ensemble of between 10 – 15 actors.  In the mornings, students will receive training in acting, voice and movement for the actor. In the afternoons, they will be in rehearsal for a play they will present on their last day of camp (June 28). For their audition, students will submit up to two (2) memorized monologues (no more than 60 seconds each) as well as a letter of recommendation from their drama teacher or community theatre director. If you choose to submit two monologues, please choose monologues of contrasting styles.  This could mean one comedic and one dramatic, or one Shakespearean and one contemporary. We are interested in seeing the actor’s range. They can choose how to show that through whichever two different kinds of monologues they select. Students will be cast in advance of the camp based off of their auditions. The actors will receive their scripts prior to camp and we will jump right in to rehearsals on the first day preparing for the final production. 

June 10-14, 2024
Mon - Fri only
9am - 12pm*

Thanks to a grant from the SC Arts Commission, there is no cost for this camp.

The Department of Theatre and Dance and the Carolina Autism and Neurodevelopment (CAN) Research Center at University of South Carolina are collaborating to offer a new camp as part of the Summer Drama Conservatory. Rooster Tales is an inclusive camp for young actors on the Autism Spectrum ages 10-14. The camp will be open for students with a range of support needs, including students who are minimally-speaking and those with other processing disorders. 

Through interactive theatre activities, improvisation, role-play, imagination, singing, and dancing, students will learn about theatre while practicing social interactions, empathy, movement, conversation skills (as appropriate), and confidence development. 

Class Size: The classes will be no larger than 10 students. The teachers are experienced theatre makers and educators who have considerable backgrounds working with students on the spectrum. There will also be graduate student aids as well as high school helpers. The student teacher ratio will be no larger than 2:1. The small class sizes will allow actors to receive individualized attention as well as opportunities to consistently practice life-skills. We invite family-supported child aids to come to the camp as well.   

Accommodations: Sensory supports, quiet rooms, visual schedules, individualized goal setting, peer and video role modeling. We develop a predictable routine for the students and we invite students and their families to come to the location the week prior to camp so they can see the space and know what to predict when they arrive on the first day of camp.

Curriculum: The camp focuses on a Social/Emotional Learning frameworks that encourages students to communicate, collaborate and celebrate with each other. The theatre is an excellent way for students to learn about a character’s perspectives, what the character wants, and how they can go about getting it. Research shows the tremendous impacts that the theatre can have on students on the spectrum. We hope to see you and your actor at Rooster Tales!

*Lunchtime meals not provided



Division Regular Cost USC Faculty/Staff & Military*
Early Elementary (Half-day) $200 $180
Upper Elementary (Half-day) $200 $180
Middle School (Half-day) $300 $270
High School (Sketch Comedy and Improv) $300 $270
High School (Performance Intensive) $500 $450
Rooster Tales*** Free Free

*USC Faculty/Staff/Students and Military receive an additional 10% discount. 
**2.5% processing fee will be added on at checkout.
***Thanks to a grant from the SC Arts Commission, the Rooster Tales Camp is offered at no cost.


Our Location

The USC Summer Drama Conservatory operates from the Booker T. Washington building, 1400 Wheat St. on USC's Columbia campus.  The building is located on Wheat St. between Sumter and Pickens Streets.  Click here for a map.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.