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Best Summertime Theater Activities For Kids In San Francisco

Whether the kids have a theatrical calling or you're looking to keep them busy with a full week of creative challenges, these Bay Area venues offer rewarding theater sessions for children and teens. Look no further than these, the best San Francisco summertime theater programs.

American Conservatory Drama
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American Conservatory Theatre
415 Geary Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 749-2228

Click here for prices and schedule

For the creme de la creme of arts, students head to A.C.T. The young conservatory is a petri dish of talent, ambition and drive where future stars grow. Accepting students ages 8 to 19, its one-, two- and four-week sessions offer curriculum designed to develop acting and voice techniques as well as sharpen and expand performing skills. Students in the Tony award-winning conservatory have gone on to pursue dreams throughout the acting industry. Famous alums include Chelsea Peretti, writer of Emmy-nominated "Parks and Recreation," Beth Behrs of the CBS comedy series "2 Broke Girls," and Darren Criss, star on the critically acclaimed Fox television show "Glee."

Kids Acting Rehearsal
Photo Credit: ThinkStock

California Shakespeare Theater
701 Heinz Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94710
(510) 548-3422

Price: Lafayette: $1375 five week/$600 two week/Oakland Hills:$825 three weeks/$600 two weeks
Lafayette June 18 to July 21 Mon to Fri – 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.; performances Fri and Sat July 20 and 21; July 23 to Aug. 3 Mon to Fri – 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; performances Fri Aug 3
Oakland Hills June 25 to July 7 Mon to Fri – 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; performances Sat. July 7; July 9 to 27 Mon to Fri – 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.; performances Fri July 27

Studying the Bard is a time-honored tradition for all acting enthusiasts. Because Shakespearean stories tend to be the most complex, students explore a variety of characters while learning the fundamentals of acting and theater. California Shakespeare Theater offers sessions at Bentley Upper School in Lafayette and Holy Names High School in Oakland Hills. Due to increasing popularity, Lafayayette has added tech/design track to the curriculum, introducing kids to lighting, sound and set design.

Related: Best Bay Area Summer Camps

Young Actors Theatre Camp
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Young Actors' Theatre Camp
P.O. Box 461324
West Hollywood, CA 90046
(925) 858-3548

Price: $1,690
Dates: Session I – July 11 to 21; Session II – July 23 to Aug 2; Session III – Aug 4 to Aug 14

The Young Actors' Theatre Camp is an overnight theater training program for kids ages 8 to 18. Taking cues from industry professionals, campers delve into scene study, monologue workshops, vocal and on-camera technique as well as costume and stage make-up. Camp Sempervirens, located in the Santa Cruz Mountains just 45 miles south of San Francisco, hosts all three sessions, each consisting of eleven days and ten nights during which campers are divided by age and gender.  Meals, lodging and entertainment are included in the camp fees.

The Marsh Youth Theater
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The Marsh Youth Theatre
1062 Valencia St.
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 641-0235

Price: from $65 to $650 on a sliding scale
Click here for schedule

In 2012, the Marsh Youth Theatre celebrates its 10th anniversary as a theatrical community fostering creativity in its young members through performance art. Productions available this summer include the ensemble work Theater Creations will explore. The group welcomes students entering grades first through fifth in its Junior Performance Workshop. Older kids entering grades sixth through ninth and alums of the MYT program are welcome to join the mainstage summer workshop, Occupy Broadway. Open to late teens and students in their early 20s, the Teen Troupe will tackle "Jip, His Story," directed by the Bay area's Ellen Sebastian Chang. No auditions necessary, just the determination and passion to perform. All classes are available with sliding scale tuition. MYT's faculty of esteemed teachers include highly regarded vocal teacher Shannon Day, award-winning educator and director Cliff Mayotte, choreographer, drama teacher and playwright, Russell Wright, and "Tell It On Tuesday" co-creator Rebecca Fisher.

Kids Acting Bow
Photo Credit: ThinkStock

BATS Improv
B350 Fort Mason Center
San Francisco, CA 94123
(415) 474-6776

Price: $299 June 25, July 9/$319 July 15, 23
Hours: June 25 to 29 Mon to Fri – 9 a.m. to 2 p.m; performance June 29 at 12 p.m.; July 9 to 13 Mon to Fri  – 9 a.m. to 2 p.m; performance July 13 at 12 p.m.; July 16 to 20 Mon to Fri  – 9 a.m. to 4 p.m; performance July 20 at 2:30 p.m.; July 23 to 27 Mon to Fri  – 9 a.m. to 4 p.m; performance July 27 at 2:30 p.m.

Mastering ad-libbing techniques allows students to thrive in diverse areas of artistic, scientific and physical forms of expression. Improv has shown to stimulate brain activity linked with self expression, no future hip hop artist, comedian, actor or high-tech guru can afford to skip this one. Five-day weekly sessions are open to students ages 11 to 17. They conclude at the Bayfront Theater with showcase performances for friends and family.

Related: Best Bay Area Performance Art For Kids

Robyn Chelsea-Seifert is a freelance writer living in San Francisco. Her work has appeared in The Miami Herald, Creem, Hit Parader, The South Florida Sun-Sentinel and International Musician. Her work can be found at


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