The Traveling Players Difference

The Traveling Players Difference

outdoor theater camp

“A life-changing organization.”

— Former Student & Faculty

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) selected Traveling Players as one of 25 “Summer Schools in the Arts” – recommending that other institutions follow our comprehensive and intensive curriculum as their model.

As a nonprofit, we want every dedicated performer to be able to join us.  That is why we charge parents only 70% of the cost of a Traveling Players summer and have the most generous artistic scholarship program in the area, with no annual or lifetime caps.  We seek donations and grants to cover the remaining 30%.

Individual attention matters.  At Traveling Players, we limit cast size to 13 performers, and then surround them with three directors, making our faculty to student ratio an unparalleled 1:4.  At Traveling Players, we can break out into three rehearsals simultaneously.  For example, a typical rehearsal looks like a director blocking the movement of one scene with 6 students, while 1 assistant director reviews yesterday’s language intensive scene with 4 students, and another assistant director is working with 3 students playing comic roles on making power entrances and exits for their individual scenes.  By working this way, we ensure each student gets personalized attention all day, every day.

Directors are master teachers with many years of experience in both professional theatre and theatre education.  Along with their professional achievements, our faculty is trained in First Aid & CPR and Leave No Trace outdoor ethics.  Every director is supported by two assistant directors, who are working on or have received their BA, BFA or MFA in theatre.

Daily transportation is provided from pick-up points in the DC metro area (DC, Maryland, and Virginia), including several metro stops. Each exciting day of Traveling Players begins and ends on our signature purple buses, driven by a trained commercial driver. Each bus includes a bus counselor whose job it is to ensure a safe and fun ride by organizing games and bonding our community of young performers.

All costumes, sets, and props are designed and built by our talented design team, consisting of professional designers and construction artists.  Students participating in our technical theatre apprenticeship program work one on one with our designers and construction artists to bring our shows to life.

Theatre began around a campfire, where people told stories in the dark.  Their stories were of identity– origin myths, their challenges, accomplishments, trials and triumphs.  We continue that trend at Traveling Players, keeping theatre wild, singing around a campfire, telling our own stories and connecting with nature.  Time spent off stage and out of role allow campers to bond, forming friendships that will last a lifetime.  The trust that is built on the weekly campouts translates to the stage as compelling performances.

Our Mythology Ensemble and Thespian Ensemble tour the local community and perform for scouts, camps, public libraries, and children’s hospitals. 

Our Shakespeare Ensemble tours to residential senior centers and Shenandoah National Park. 

Shakespeare Troupe and Commedia Troupe go on tour for one to two weeks, performing at venues like state parks, the Lime Kiln Theatre, and Colonial Williamsburg. Traveling Players provides most meals on the longer tours, in addition to taking the campers rafting, hiking, and seeing plays.

Traveling Players summer rehearsals at the Madeira School overlook the greatest view of the Potomac River in private hands. Our tours take us across the scenic state of Virginia up into the mountains of Skyline Drive and down the coast into Colonial Williamsburg where we regularly perform on the oldest stage in America. 

Good performance is predicated on real connections and complete presence with the ensemble.  To this end, we do not allow the use of cellphones during program hours-including bus rides.  Unplugging allows our students to bond with their peers and form meaningful relationships that last a lifetime.

Climbing mountains, pitching tents, creating characters – at Traveling Players we craft age-appropriate programs designed to challenge our students.  Our students know that the successes they have off stage allows them greater success onstage.  The result: pride in their accomplishments, trust in their abilities, and confidence to tackle more in the future.

With only 13 performers, everyone is essential to the show.  Our actors also assume technical roles while on tour, like maintaining the costumes, setting up the sound system, or chopping vegetables for dinner.  The ensemble ethos that permeates Traveling Players allows our students to grow their leadership skills – and often gives them great material for college essays! 

In our 17 years of operations, Traveling Players has maintained a spotless safety record.  In addition to standard liability insurance for educational theatre, Traveling Players’ insurance policies cover our fleet of six purple school buses, care of students overnight (like a residential camp), challenge courses, and swimming. We also carry additional medical coverage in case our student’s policy is not sufficient.

Read more about safety at camp here.

Traveling Players programs are built around the values of creativity, inclusion, self-sufficiency and cooperation that are taught through outdoor ensemble theatre.