Has your teen or child been bullied?

It’s awful, isn’t it? Your kind, smart, creative teen or child comes home devastated…others are being mean to him or her, sometimes egregiously so.

No doubt: we live in a world where bullying, now weaponized by social media, can scar a young person’s psyche, sometimes profoundly so.

While we don’t have the magic potion to stop bullying (we wish we did!), we do know that activities that shore up a teen’s or child’s true sense of him or herself can make all the difference in their school and social life.

Our Acting Program fosters self-empowerment both onstage and offstage. We witness every summer how young people thrive, grow and become comfortable in their uniqueness when they are in a safe environment where every single participant is valued, nurtured and mentored appropriately. The skills our camp participants build with us resonate in their future and positively affect many aspects of their lives…and that comes close to being a magic potion to deal with the slings and arrows of bullying. Awareness, self-empowerment and humor are great tools to deflect unkindness! So is a supportive group of friends in an acting camp that is creative and fun…so:

If your teen or child loves performing and could benefit from the support of a dynamic, challenging, respectful and artistic, theatrical environment, contact Mary Ann at 973-746-8686. This is the summer to positively impact your child’s or teen’s self-esteem.

Acting Camp Scholarships Available!

We very much seek to support young people who are interested in Acting and the Performing Arts.

This year, we are offering a variety of different scholarships for our Acting Camp Programs to encourage young people to follow their dreams of performing.

To apply, go to the link ACTING CAMP SCHOLARSHIPS on our home page at stagekids.us. Follow the instructions and apply before April 30.

If you have any questions, please feel free to email Artistic Director, Mary Ann Riel at maryann@stagekids.us or call 973-746-8686.

See you On Stage!


Every theatre program has its strengths and specialties. Here are some frequently asked questions about our programs. If you have a question about our program, call 973-746-8686–we love to give you information about our camp!


The environment of our camp is joyful, focused, safe and respectful with an emphasis on creativity through expression. Camp participants quickly find that they can be authentic because we operate in an environment of emotional safety.


You can expect that each participant:

Will gain an true understanding of theatrical protocol; that is, how things operate in a theatrical setting.

Will gain an empowered idea of themselves as a theatre artist because they are engaged in the moment by moment problem solving that goes on in a theatrical setting with caring, supportive staff wholly dedicated to their growth and skill-building.

Will discover friendships with many others who are also interested in learning about acting and excelling onstage.

Will develop powerful life skills that will inform their self-image positively and enhance their ability to work with others successfully.

If these benefits are important to you, please call Artistic Mary Ann Riel at 973-746-8686 to discover which of our acting camps works for you schedule.


Calling all Performers: Acting Camp Season is almost here!

Register Today for Early Bird Discount!

If your teen, tween or 5-7 year old is looking for a focused, friendly and fun theatrical camp, now is the time to register for our small, very individualized acting camp programs.

Our Four Week Main Stage Program features a full day of acting, singing, dancing training and rehearsal for our Final, Fully Staged Original Production!

Our One Week Programs are dynamic and joyful camps designed to quickly immerse participants into theatrical stage work exploring the many aspects of performing: improvisation, audition techniques, movement and vocal work. Designed to quickly build confidence, our one week programs this summer are concentrated on developing lively, believable characters onstage. The environment is friendly, welcoming, dynamic, fun, engaging.

Our 5-7 Year Olds have a special place on the stage in our two week, morning program! Culminating is a delightful Final Play sure to warm the hearts of family and friends…very limited space; call now for enrollment!

We know you want you teen, tween or 5-7 year old to have a great camp experience. Please call Artistic Director, Mary Ann Riel at 973-746-8686 for the information you need to make a great decision regarding camp. Summer time is the time for growth, pleasure and friendship…call today!





What’s Great About Fall? Scene Study Class 2015!

It’s ba-ack! Rustling leaves kicked beneath children’s new school shoes, blazing Mums, portly pumpkins perched on porches beckoning to the warmth within: FALL!

Can’t you feel the racing anticipation in the brisk air? Shakespeare calls this “teeming Autumn, big with rich increase…”

Everything about Fall is grand and Showy, her theatricality peaking in a chaos of scarlet, orange and yellow to rival neon’s boldest palette!

Beautiful and evocative, Fall is the perfect time to be a part of our joyful and challenging Scene Study Class.

Culminating in a New York City Performance, our Fall and Spring Scene Study Classes have a long and distinguished reputation for turning out fine performances and inspiring young actors to their personal best.

If one is preparing for College Auditions, Scene Study Class provides the strong perspective and focus to compete for a spot in a worthy B.F.A. Acting Program.

Yes, now is the time to commit boldly to one’s own inner drama whilst working with friends to create a warm bonfire of creativity and friendship! Dramatic? You betcha!

Don’t miss out–register today! 973-746-8686

Happy New Camp Year 2015!

Happy, happy, Happiest of New Years to you and yours! This year marks our 25th Anniversary of The Summer Theatre Camp of Montclair!

We are honored, delighted and excited that you are visiting us here to get information about our summer programs. We know that you want the very best camp experience for your child and so do we!

Please peruse our website. As a discriminating parent, you know that knowledge is power. We invite you to call us at 973-746-8686 to ask your specific questions. We promise the phone call will be informative and unpressured.

Early Bird Registration offers a significant discount on all programs, so make sure to register by February 15!

Camp Site tours are ongoing…schedule one now!

Next weeks blog: 10 Things every parent should know about drama camp!

Yes! Camp 2015 Registration is Now open!

Camp 2015 is officially on…and we couldn’t be more excited!  If you are new to our “Camp Site,” we welcome you!  The Summer Theatre Camp of Montclair has a long and illustrious history of providing acting training of very high caliber in a very small and personalized setting.  We are so fortunate and proud that a great many of our former camp participants have told us that their summer camps and acting classes with us have been times of personal growth and transformation while forming long term friendships with other  like-spirited people.

We have dynamic, fun and challenging programs for ages 12-16, 8-11 and 5-7.  As you click through the links, do so by program and age first and then look at our options:  full or half-day, four, three, two or one week.  All of our programs feature free Before and AfterCare, ideally suited for working parents who want their child or children to have a summer full of fun, friends and appropriate challenges designed to build skill and confidence all happening in a safe and beautiful, air-conditioned environment.

When you call us with your specific questions, you will gain clear and useful information about our camp situation to see if we are the right fit for your child’s needs and expectations.  We are a small camp and fill up quickly so we never ‘sell’ anyone.  We believe in providing you with straightforward information.  If you want to take a tour of our Camp Site and ask your questions personally, we will arrange an appointment for you and your child.

More posts to come!  Meantime…Spring is here and we are counting the dates until camp!  We look forward to answering your questions. 🙂



Camp Countdown!

The Month of May is peeking its lovely, flower-adorned head around the corner and the question at hand is:  Where should you enroll your teen, tween or 5-7 year old for camp?  You want an enriching, safe camp experience where they will have fun, learn, and make friends in a dynamic, wholesome environment.   And if your offspring is creative, dramatic, funny, or all of the above–or simply interested in having a great summer of acting, singing, dancing, and rehearsal for a great show,  The Summer Theatre Camp of Montclair just might offer them the sort of excellent theatre experience to make Summer 2013 the time of their lives!

Our camp programs offer training for all ages and levels of experience in a safe, fun and focused environment.  Our camp site is beautiful, secure and air-conditioned conveniently located in downtown Montclair.  Drop off and Pick up is easy and Before and After Care are available at no charge.   Set up a personalized tour with Artistic Director, Mary Ann Riel to see our camp site, learn about our approach and ask your questions!    Call 973-746-8686–space is limited and registration is on a first come; first served basis.

So, You’re Looking for An Acting Camp for your Teen/Tween

The Summer Camp Theatre of MontclairThe Summer Theatre Camp of Montclair’s Main Stage Program for Teens and Tweens has opened doors of acting skill and confidence, artistry and fun for many young performers seeking to elevate their artistry through disciplined and joyful dramatic work.

Creating an artistic environment of honesty, ease, camaraderie and challenge are the keys to the success of The Main Stage Program.  Each day follows a routine of yoga, vocal, dance and movement training along with acting exercises and games designed to stretch the parameters of imagination and skill.  Participants emerge from the program feeling personally and artistically transformed and strengthened.

Set up a meeting with Artistic Director, Mary Ann Riel, to determine if The Summer Theatre Camp of Montclair is the right fit for your tween or teen.  Call 973-746-8686 for an informative conversation in which you can ask your specific questions.


Spirits in the Material World: How Acting Camp Can Ground Your Tweeting, Texting Teen/Tween on Terra Firma

Like sirens to sailors, the internet beckons to us every second of the day. Here’s a Wikipedia citation you can trust:  “since the mid-1990s the Internet has had a drastic impact on culture and commerce…” Drastic, indeed…and coming at you and your family with the force of a tsunami.    Open your home page and crises, near and abroad, hover ominously over celebrity fat photos that beg for a peek…or two or three.  (Without make-up?  Yes, please!)  Katy Perry, Kate Middleton, Katniss Everdeen?  Hello!…just a click away, and but a fractious sampling of the multiplicity of tentacles that reach through the internet’s ether to grab your attention.  Why not just give in?

The problem with full out surrender to this dizzying panoply of distraction is that the Internet’s Adventure Land is uncharted terrain resembling both Alice’s Rabbit Hole and Sleeping Beauty’s Maze of Brambles, where neither safe return nor timely awakening are assured nor guaranteed.

You, as loving guardian, cannot gift a shield strong enough for your child to withstand the exponentially proliferating onslaught of the internet’s easily accessed Good, Bad, Ugly and Truly Terrifying.  You can, however, offer a strong Lifeline to  Planet Earth’s physical, present day reality.  As an Acting Coach and Theatre Director, I admit my bias, but Acting–particularly Stage Acting–can serve as that Lifeline.

Yes, art classes, sports, hiking, pottery or pastry-making are noble pursuits that antidote the tendency for kids to tune out amidst their techno-toys.  But, IMAO–and years of experience–a well designed and taught Acting Camp program quickly builds  (1) Focus, (2) Discipline, (3) Critical thinking (4) Leadership and (5) Compassion.   These are the self same tools your child needs to manage the wonders of, and defend against the the dangers of, cyberspace’s ‘brave new world.’

How does a young person benefit from an Acting Camp?  Here are some of the benefits we foster and see gloriously manifested every year at The Summer Theatre Camp of Montclair:

 Focus:   While our campsite is clean, beautiful and inviting, our camp program is profound in its simplicity and refreshingly devoid of technological distractions.  (I sometimes jokingly refer to The Summer Theatre Camp of Montclair as the “No Bells and Whistles Camp.”)  Young people fall in love with the uncluttered clarity of the environment:  shiny wood floors, scripts, music and Our Own Wonderful Selves.  It’s an exhilarating formula!  Less distractions=more opportunity to concentrate.  Voila!  Our focus is stronger, longer and more consolidated.

  Discipline:  Because our day is built on tasks that are mental and physical, the habituation of these tasks builds strength.  When we develop the habit of performing these tasks at the same time each day, with the support of our cast mates and instructors, we become stronger, more competent and, henceforth, more disciplined with each repetition.

 Critical Thinking:   Along with repetition for memorization, acting involves the effort to understand meaning and to convey meaning to our cast mates, director and audience.    This is done through asking questions, learning word meanings, reading vocal, facial and physical cues and discriminating what is of lesser and greater importance in a scene or play.  Acting requires us to also know the ‘meaning underneath the meaning‘ or, in theatrical lingo, the sub-text…and sub-text is where Truth lies is all conversation, onstage and off.  Critical thinking is an essential life skill professionally, personally and socially.  However, the most important aspect of critical thinking  is the ability to determine how to spend ones’ time–and life–for its utmost most significance.

Leadership:  Each day, camp participants arrive, fresh from sleep and dropped off at our campsite, unadorned and simply clad.  Throughout the course of the day they work with acting coaches, a yoga coach, a vocal coach, a choreographer, and some great assistants. Through this work, we learn acceptance of each other’s strengths and how to shore up the parts of us that need more strengthening.   The problem-solving is rich and of a higher order in Acting Camp because theatrical process is the meeting of challenges of time, space, budget and personality in the most efficient way possible,   This problem-solving, coupled with inspiration, is a formula for confidence and Leadership

Compassion (the most notable of our Life Tools):  Smart phones, gaming devices, ipads, laptops, etcetera, are left at our stage door.  In their absence, the glossy patina of clever-ish snark is replaced by sincere, patient communication.   Instead of peering into our phones or computers, we peer into each other’s eyes to discover that we are all pieces of one beautifully fractured pane of glass.  And when we choose to gather the shattered pieces and hold them up, we can see through to each other.  And wonder of wonders, those same transparent fragments of glass reflect our own identities back to ourselves, piece by lovely piece.