Theatre Arts Camp Junior

2021 Summer in the Arts Camps Update

We are thrilled to announce that we will be holding Summer in the Arts Camps in 2021. Due to the quickly changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, we cannot state at this time whether these camps will be in-person or online. We will post an update on the camps and open registration for them in early 2021!

Get the latest campus updates related to COVID-19.

July 11-16, 2021
Grades 6-12 (grade completion)


Theatre Camp is going online, join us for a week of exciting theatre content with talented counselors and a very creative community of young artists! Camp Director Kendra Holton and her staff have crafted a full schedule of fun theatre classes and workshops including online rehearsals and a Friday evening online video performance.

Required Materials

  • Campers will need access to the internet and a computer, tablet or laptop with both camera and microphone capability.
  • Camp content will be delivered via Zoom, an online video-conferencing platform.
    • Zoom training will be provided on the first day of camp.
  • Campers will also need a quiet, movement-friendly space in which to work for classes and rehearsals.
    • Camp staff will guide the set-up of this "personal home studio space".

Campers are encouraged to wear a favorite t-shirt (from a show they have been in, or that represents a favorite character) on Monday. Campers are also encouraged to creatively dress up for the dance party/game night on Thursday.



  • Warmup exercises: See the whole camp on one screen as a fun, high-energy warm-up gets us ready for the day.
  • Acting scenes: Work on specific acting techniques and exercises through scene work.


  • Production rehearsals: You'll be assigned to a production and rehearse with the same group and director all week. All rehearsals culminate in an online video performance for family and friends on Friday evening.
  • Workshops: You can participate in a different workshop each day! You'll receive information about choosing workshops about a month before the start of camp.


  • Talent show (optional): You get three minutes to show your stuff!
  • Netflix party: Watch a movie with the whole camp! Bring snacks!
  • Dance party/game night: Take your pick! Dress up to hang out for a fun night with new friends.
  • Counselor groups: Break out into smaller, more intimate communities for decompression after a great day.


Registration fee: $300
Deadline: June 28, 2020

Online Registration Form

Camp Staff

NIU theater faculty member, Kendra Holton, directs our wonderful camp staff. Staff members are composed of talented NIU faculty and students, alumni, guest artists and area teachers. Staff members are assigned to each Zoom classroom and accompany campers through all online activities of the week.

Raja Benz

Raja (she/her) is a community focused theatre maker, cultural theorist, and educator. Raja holds a B.F.A. in acting from NIU, and is currently an adjunct faculty and graduate student at Virginia Commonwealth University working towards an M.F.A. in theatre pedagogy, as well as a certificate in gender, sexuality, and women's studies. Raja's work aims to create theatrical models that center and amplify the voices of historically underrepresented populations through a series of socially engaged practices. Raja is the founder of The Consent Project, a grassroots organization that provides a selection of no-cost socially engaged workshops utilizing forum based theatre practice. Raja's is both a camp alumni, as well as a returning staff member.

Alys Dickerson

Alys Dickerson is a teaching artist from Indianapolis, Indiana. Since moving to Chicago in 2016 she has had the opportunity to create and develop a footing both in her music career as well as acting. Alys is a theatre artist, lyricist and vocal coach and artistic associate with Organic Theatre Company. Chicago credits include:

  • Roe (Goodman Theatre)
  • Little Women (First Folio Theatre)
  • The Father (Remy Bumppo)
  • Melancholy Play (Organic Theatre Company)
  • Everybody (Brown Paper Box Co.)
  • Fear and Misery in the Third Reich (Haven Theatre)

Regional credits include Macbeth, The Book of Will and Twelfth Night (American Players Theatre); Pericles and The Tempest (Notre Dame Shakespeare). Alys holds an M.F.A. from Northern Illinois University and a B.A. from the University of Kentucky. Alys is gratefully represented by DDO Artists Agency.

Vincent Juarez

In the fall of 2020, Vincent will be a third-year B.F.A. acting major at NIU. His past NIU credits include Troilus and Cressida and his upcoming productions for the fall semester are The Time of Your Life, and Gabriel from A Bird in the Hand. Vincent is looking forward to gifting the shared knowledge he has learned at NIU. He is looking forward to translating an actor's process into an online experience. Vincent believes there is much to learn in this online camp experience!

Bethany Mangum-Oles

Bethany is a faculty member at NIU. Learn more about Bethany on her faculty profile.

Jessica Roark

Jessica Roark is a graduate from the NIU M.F.A. acting program, and is absolutely thrilled to get to be a part of camp this year, even if it looks a little different from the past! Jessica resides in Oklahoma, where she moved after spending a year in Chicago as a professional actor/director before COVID hit. Her most recent project was co-directing The Queens of Will at NIU, and playing Angelo in Measure for Measure with Any Other Name Company in Chicago. Other past roles include Guard in Bent (MUSE Theatre Collective), Dolly Madison in Our Lives in Letters: A WWII Perspective (Chipola Arts, FL), Gwendolyn in The Importance of Being Earnest, Tess Moffat in Blue Stockings (Northern Illinois University), Bianca in The Taming of the Shrew (Penny Stinkers Touring Co.), Hermia/Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream and Dorcas in The Winter's Tale (Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park). She is looking forward to a wonderful week of virtual theatre and connection!

Gavin Struempler

Hello NIU campers! My name is Gavin Struempler and I use he/him/his pronouns. I am currently a 3rd-year BFA Acting student at Northern Illinois University and am beyond excited to work and meet with all of you! In my earlier years, I spent my summers at Sitka Fine Arts Camp in the beautiful seaside town of Sitka Alaska (google it, it's ridiculously pretty). Camp for me was an incredible opportunity to not only meet and make art with like-minded folks in high school but was also a unique chance to work with older students and faculty who spent serious time committing themselves to the things I was passionate about. Those relationships and memories motivated me to study and teach not only in Sitka Alaska but at Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan, PACE University in New York City, and lastly here at Northern Illinois University with all of you! I'm crazy excited to get into our Zoom rooms and to cook something up with everyone involved. Let's go make a thing.

A general overview of the camp schedule is below.

Day Time Activity
Sunday 3 p.m. Group tech session with camp staff
3:30 p.m.

All-camp welcome 

4-5 p.m. Production assignments and meet and greet.
5-6 p.m.

Counselor meet-ups

Monday - Thursday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Camp activities (lunch break noon-2 p.m., dinner break 5-7 p.m.)

7-9 p.m. Evening activities - talent show, movie night, etc. (optional)
Friday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Camp activities (lunch break noon-2 p.m., dinner break 4:30-6 p.m.)
6:30-8 p.m. Live performance on Zoom

Contact Us

College of Visual and Performing Arts
Office of External Programs

Music Building 132

Kristin Sherman

Online Office Hours

Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
(lunch from noon – 1 p.m.)

To protect the safety of our staff, students and families, we will operate remotely for the fall semester. Our staff will be available at their remote offices during normal NIU business hours and can be contacted via phone or email.

Join Our Camps Mailing List

Connect with us on