How to Have a Hot Summer for Theater Kids

Photo of Ata Ebem via Pixels

The sky is blue, the sun is shining and theaters all over the country are empty, which can only mean one thing: it’s summer! Now that you’ve finally survived the finale, written your final essay, and handed in your final test, you might be wondering – what am I supposed to do now? After all, during the school year, your average college drama major does an entire day of classes, rehearsals, or an evening show, and stays on top of their homework on top of that! Well, if you’re wondering how to use your precious free time, keep reading to find out how to host a Hot Theater Kid Summer.

Expand your theatrical horizons

With all that free time you have now, it’s only natural to devote it to your one true love. But this summer, consider using it to dip your toes into a new realm of the theater world! Do you consider yourself a straight person? Listen to musical theatre! If you’re struggling to find a starting point, consider listening to some of the recent Tony nominees and winners: Six, Dear Evan Hansen, Hadestown, and Nasty are good starting points. For a more classic vibe, you can look at pieces like The Sound of Music, South Pacific, and Oklahoma! And if you’re looking for something in the middle, Godspell, in the woods, and A chorus line might be more your style.

Likewise, if you’re a musical lover, read some direct plays! If you’ve done mostly contemporary work, get a complete works of william shakespeare and start reading! Having the Shakespeare canon in one place will save you time and money sifting through dozens of Folger editions when you need a monologue. (I have to admit that I own way too many with my Complete Works. The covers are just too pretty to resist!) Are you terrified of tackling the verse? Then start with a well-known piece, like Dream of a summer night Where Romeo and Juliet, and work your way from there. If you’re feeling a little crazy like me, an experienced Shakespeare reader might want to try reading the full canon this summer. Will I achieve my goal? Maybe, maybe not, but I will definitely have found a new appreciation for the Bard (and some new monologues)!

Look for non-theatrical topics

A theater teacher once told me that well-rounded actors are able to draw from a variety of disciplines, not just theater. After all, the very plays we read are inspired by the same topics you would study in a history class or an art class. So if you need a break from acting, you might want to study ancient mythology, for example. If you were raised by Rick Riordan novels like me, pick up a copy of the Iliad or the Odyssey. Homer may sound scary, but there are plenty of good translations floating around; for what it’s worth, the version of these stories I have was translated by Samuel Butler. If you’re more visual, head to a museum and check out the artwork it displays, or just walk around your town and see if there are any plaques to read.

You could also take a more active role in your creative horizons and start writing. You don’t have to follow a particular writing style; just keeping a journal of your daily life is enough to keep your mind stimulated, and you might discover a new hobby or self-care habit. Personally, I started writing poetry during the winter break and found it to be a great way for me to maintain my creativity and express how I felt in a safe way. You also don’t need to share what you write. If you do, great! If you don’t, that’s great too! The important thing is that you do something that enriches you, helps you.

Learn a life skill

Finally, it’s always a good idea to prepare for life on your own, no matter what career you’re headed into. While it’s certainly tempting to keep yourself solely on Doordash, the importance of learning to cook on your own is too important not to mention. Nobody says you have to become a Master Chef in three months, but learning to cook is a great way to spend your summer. It is best to start at the very beginning – this is a very good starting point. Instead of microwaving your ramen, for example, take a packet that needs to be cooked and learn how to operate an oven. If you can, help your parents prepare meals by chopping vegetables or preparing a simple breakfast, such as toast and fruit.


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