Arena Stage The Mead Center for American Theater MY ACCOUNT
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Just for Parents

“It feels like my kids have attended every camp in the Washington area. After last summer, Camp Arena Stage went straight to the top of the list. What makes it stand out? The activities are not your run-of-the-mill camp offerings. Where else can you try your hand at fashion design and your feet at South African gumboot dance? Arena Stage’s counselors are not only talented and full of energy but they know how to bring out the best in the campers, even tweens and teens! You could see that at the end-of-camp show, in which every performer was given a standing ovation by his or her peers.”

- Parent Janice Kaplan
Washington, D.C.

Is Camp Arena Stage only a theater camp?

No! Camp Arena Stage is a multi-arts camp. We offer activities in visual arts, music, dance, media, writing, and theater.  We have skilled faculty in each arts area to offer a wide range of quality, creative arts activities.

What are the differences between sessions?

Both sessions have the talented and caring staff, excellent arts instruction, commitment to camper choice and the spirit of Camp Arena Stage. The 4-Week Intensive has a few special features that we can offer because there is more time.
In the 4-Week Intensive, campers go on a field trip and share their work in a final evening Arts Extravaganza. Scholarships are only available for the 4-Week Intensive.

Campers are welcome to register for both sessions – and, because they choose their schedules, they can decide how similar those sessions will be.

How do the activity schedules work?

Campers choose their own schedule of five activities from a long list of options. They attend those same five activities each day at the same time. So, if your camper has Costume Design in the First Daily, she will take Costume Design during first period every day of the camp session. Click here for a more detailed look at the schedule

Each camper’s schedule is unique!  So they do not travel to all of their activities with the same group of campers.  Instead, we change classes at the same time and everyone goes their own way, like high school. The staff makes sure that everyone gets where they need to go.  After the first few days, everyone is a pro, and the campers love the independence.

How are schedules determined?

In May, we email the list of activities and an activity request form to registered campers. Campers rate their top four choices in each activity period. Campers must choose activities for their age group unless special permission is given by the camp director. Exceptions are made at the camp director’s discretion. Activity request forms are due by June 1.

At the end of May, we begin scheduling all campers who are paid in full and have returned all their paperwork (camper information, physician’s report, etc.). Our goal is to give as many campers as possible as many of their first choices as possible. We also take into account the class size set by the instructor, the age distribution of the campers who have selected the activity, and requests to have activities with friends.

Schedules are not assigned on a first-returned, first-served basis.

Can my child and his/her friend have the same schedule?

Yes! Just note this when selecting activities.

When does my child receive his/her schedule?

All campers get their schedules at the same time on the first day of camp.

What if my child wants to change his/her schedule?

In the first three days of camp, they are welcome to change their schedule if space allows. This empowers campers to be decision makers. After three days, though, their schedule is final. This encourages discipline and dedication – both important qualities for art and life.

Group leaders help campers change their schedules at camp beginning the second day.  We encourage campers to change their schedule on their own (with their group leader’s help).  However, if you would like, you can call or e-mail the camp office and we can talk it through with you.

When can I see my child’s work at camp?

For the 4-Week Intensive, we hold an Arts Extravaganza that is dedicated to showing parents, family and friends what Camp Arena Stage is all about. Campers will provide demonstrations and perform and display their work. All are welcome and encouraged to attend.

In both sessions, some activities will have a final sharing during the Noontime Shows on the last two days of the session. Many parents plan to attend these Noontime Shows.  We announce this schedule in our weekly parent newsletter.

Can I visit my child at camp?

Parents are also welcome to visit camp at any time. Many parents like to attend the Noontime Show. Please call the on-site office if you intend to visit and sign-in as a visitor upon your arrival.

How qualified is the Camp Arena Stage staff?

Very! Most of our instructors are professional artists and educators with expertise in their fields and extensive experience working with young people. Though most of our instructors have completed college, we hire a handful of exceptional undergraduate and graduate students as instructors. The CITs (counselors-in-training), who assist the instructors, are rising high school juniors, seniors, college freshmen or sophomores.

All staff members undergo a careful interview process, including background checks and classroom observation. We have done our utmost to hire accomplished artists who, first and foremost, care about and excel in working with young people.

We are one of the only day camps in DC to require a full week of camp staff training. The staff to camper ratio is 1 to 5.

What measures are in place to ensure the safety of my child?

We thank you for entrusting your child with us, and his/her safety is our priority. First, in the interest of preventing emergencies, we maintain a high level of supervision: a staff-to-camper ratio of 1 to 5. Each camper has a group leader that they check in with at the beginning and end of the camp day for attendance. This is also the camper’s point person in case of emergency. We have procedures in place for any type of emergency and all staff members are trained in these procedures. If your child is in need of medical attention, staff members are trained in CPR and First Aid. We are also located adjacent to Georgetown University Hospital.

Should camp be closed due to unforeseen circumstances or should an emergency arise, parents and guardians will be contacted. A detailed message will also be available by calling 202-600-4064 and on Arena Stage’s website.

What is the procedure for regular drop-off and pick-up?

Click here to see the drop-off and pick-up map

Campers may begin to arrive at 8:45 a.m. Immediately upon arrival, a staff member will open your car door and see your camper safely to the Field of Dreams. There, campers will check in with their group leader, a special counselor assigned to a small group of campers, for attendance. Pick-up begins at 3:50 p.m. sharp and must be complete by 4:15 p.m. Campers will only be released to persons authorized by their parent/guardian and cannot leave camp grounds without being signed out.

Campers with parent/guardian permission are dismissed at 3:50 to walk off the grounds and catch public transportation.
To make drop-off and pick-up less congested, we encourage campers to carpool. Please indicate your interest in forming a carpool on your child’s registration form.

What is the cost and procedure for early drop-off/extended day?

Early drop-off and/or extended day are now available in both sessions. Sign up at registration or pay by cash or check in person. Campers who have registered and paid for these extra services may be dropped off as early as 8 a.m. and must be picked up by 6 p.m. During their extra time at camp, they will be supervised and led in activities by camp staff. We consider these times an extension of our camp day. Your child will not just sit around and wait. Click here for rates.

What about lunch?

Due to special diets, allergies, cost and general pickiness, Camp Arena Stage does not provide lunch. Each camper is to bring a well-marked lunch and water bottle to camp each day. That way all campers can eat what they like! Camp Arena Stage will provide a healthy morning snack.

My child has severe food allergies. Is Camp Arena Stage peanut-free?

Camp Arena Stage is not a peanut-free environment. Please contact us to discuss any food allergies your child may have.

What if my child has special needs?

Please call us at 202-600-4064 and we can talk about how to make sure your child has the best possible summer at Camp Arena Stage.  We are able to make adaptations!  We cannot, however, provide one-on-one aides to individual campers.

What is Camp Arena Stage's policy on cell phones?

Campers are not permitted to have cell phones at camp. They are a distraction and easily lost. We are happy to discuss any extenuating circumstances that would necessitate your child having a cell phone while at camp.  During camp hours, you can reach your child by calling the camp office.

How can I contact Camp Arena Stage?

If you have questions before the start of camp, please call 202-600-4064. Your call will be returned promptly. You can also e-mail us at

What if my child is too old to be a camper?

Camp Arena Stage employs a select group of rising high school juniors, seniors and recent graduates as counselors-in-training (CITs) and volunteers. CITs and volunteers undergo a full week of staff training and, during the camp session, assist in activities and serve as group leaders. Ideal candidates for these positions should be mature, responsible, energetic, and have arts interests and experience working with young people. Interested students should e-mail a letter of interest/introduction and résumé to Interviews are conducted in early Spring.

If your child is a rising high school sophomore, junior, senior or college freshman interested in musical theater, consider the Arena Stage Academy Musical Theater Training Company

Camper playing guitar

Quotes from past parents

Our daughter flourishes and relaxes here. It is the only place in the world where she is totally surrounded by her own tribe!

I appreciated the support and conversation with the director when my daughter suddenly balked at coming to camp. And when my daughter arrived, the counselors warmly greeted her and the director came over to take her around. Thank you! You did a great job! My daughter loved it!

My son was happy here, made friends, felt safe and basically loved being able to do improv and play music and be accepted. Thank you!

Camper in music class

We loved the freedom it offered our children to exercise their creativity, follow their special interests and try new things.

Camp Arena Stage seemed to inspire her creative juices; the diversity was wonderful.

Camp Arena Stage was a place where my daughter felt respected, appreciated and loved.

Campers working together

The variety and quality of the activities was excellent. My daughter improved skills while learning new things in a very supportive environment

Campers goofing around