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Department of Theatre and Dance

  • Logo for USC Summer Drama Conservatory in yellow and magenta surrounded by photos of children smiling and images of hand drawn doodles.

Summer Drama Conservatory

Hone your craft with instruction from theatre professionals at the Summer Drama Conservatory, a summer acting intensive on the Columbia, South Carolina campus of the University of South Carolina. Programs are available for students in grades 1 through 12.

Conservatory Dates: June 12-30, 2023


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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.

Age Divisions

June 26-30, 2023
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 12-16, 2023
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 12-23, 2023
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 19-30, 2023
Mon - Fri only
9am - 4pm*

The High School Conservatory Program is a two-week immersive theatre experience with separate training tracks for freshmen/sophomores and juniors/seniors. Students in both levels will come together to train in the morning and then will have their own rehearsal and production activities in the afternoons, culminating in a complete production that will be performed for younger conservatory students, family, friends and the greater Columbia community on the final day of the conservatory. Morning classes will be offered in acting, movement and voice techniques, and afternoons will be dedicated to rehearsals and production work on the final performance.

June 12-16, 2023
Mon - Fri only
9am - 12pm*

In collaboration with Destination Theatre, the University of South Carolina is happy to announce a new program as a part of our Summer Drama Conservatory. Rooster Tales is an inclusive camp for young actors on the Autism Spectrum ages 10-16. The camp focuses on students who are verbal or non-verbal, as well as students recognized as PDD-NOS 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, 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 Uof SC Faculty/Staff & Military*
Early Elementary (Half-day) $200 $180
Upper Elementary (Half-day) $200 $180
Middle School (Half-day) $300 $270
High School (Full-day plus performance) $400 $360
Rooster Tales $300 $270

*USC Faculty/Staff/Students and Military receive an additional 10% discount. 


Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.