Press Release

PlayMakers’ award-winning Summer Youth Conservatory returns for 2016

PlayMakers Repertory Company announces the Summer Youth Conservatory for 2016. The Conservatory will feature Theatre Intensive, Theatre Quest and Theatre Tech programs for high school and middle school students, and culminate in a production of the award-winning Broadway musical “Violet.”

Beginning June 20, a cast of high school actors will have the opportunity to train, rehearse and perform in a professional theater space — PlayMakers’ Paul Green Theatre in UNC’s Center for Dramatic Art — as part of this award-winning program.

The Summer Youth Conservatory has been honored by the North Carolina Theatre Conference (NCTC) with the Constance Welsh Youth Theatre Award for excellence in performance, service of mission and community outreach. NCTC recognized the Conservatory as having “become a model program for youth theater in North Carolina,” saying that the Conservatory has made professional theater training more accessible to the youth of the Triangle.

The Conservatory is a unique theater experience for young people: an educational and performance opportunity that includes working with professional directors, choreographers and musical directors at PlayMakers Repertory Company, the premier resident professional theater of the Carolinas.

In addition to training young actors, the Conservatory offers TheatreTech – an in-depth program in scenic, costume and lighting production. This program includes technical classes followed by a month-long apprenticeship with PlayMakers’ professional staff.

PlayMakers also offers a series of week-long classes for middle school students called Theatre Quest. This program gives students the opportunity to train with professional artists in a variety of subjects: Principles of Acting, Musical Theatre I: Solo Showcase, Musical Theatre II: ShowStoppers, Musical Theatre III: PopStars!, Acting for the Camera, and Monologues and Scenes. Students can participate in one week of training or all six. Teachers for Theatre Quest include DeeDee Batteast, John Dreher and David McClutchey.

Matthew Steffens will return to direct and choreograph, having worked on hit Conservatory productions of “Guys & Dolls” (2015) and “Hairspray” (2014). Most recently, Steffens served as associate choreographer for the Broadway production of “Doctor Zhivago.” He appeared on Broadway in “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown” and “Promises, Promises” and served as associate choreographer and resident director for the immersive Off-Broadway hit “Queen of the Night.” His television and film credits include “Across the Universe,” “Clear Blue Tuesday,” “Black Box” and “Smash.” He was seen in the movie “The Last Five Years” (2015), for which he also served as assistant choreographer.

Theatre Intensive and “Violet” will be cast by audition only.
TheatreTech enrollment is based on application and subsequent interview and is open to high school students.

For the young actors cast, five weeks of intensive training and rehearsal begin on June 20, 10:00 am-5:00 pm, Monday through Friday. Eight public performances of “Violet” will take place July 20-24 and 29-31. Cast members will be expected to attend all rehearsals. Tuition is $1,500/actor, with scholarships available based on financial need.

TheatreTech students will begin classes on June 15. Apprenticeship appointments run through August 3. Tuition is $750, with scholarships available based on financial need.

Theatre Quest students can enroll by contacting PlayMakers education manager Jennifer Wales at (919) 962-2491, Tuition is $300 per week.


Auditions for Theatre Intensive actors (rising 9th graders through recent high school graduates) will take place throughout the day on March 5 and 6 at PlayMakers, located in the Center for Dramatic Art, Country Club Road, on the campus of UNC-Chapel Hill. Callbacks are scheduled for March 7, 4:00-9:00 p.m.

To apply for Theatre Intensive auditions or a TheatreTech interview, students must complete and submit a Summer Youth Conservatory Registration Form.
To request a registration form, please contact Jennifer Wales at (919)962-2491,
The registration form must be submitted to PlayMakers no later than March 3.
Audition and interview applicants will be contacted after receipt of their completed registration form to confirm the call time for their appointment.

About PlayMakers
Based in UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences, PlayMakers is the professional theatre in residence at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Carolinas’ premier resident professional theatre company. New York’s Drama League has named PlayMakers one of the “best regional theatres in America.”

Web site:

PlayMakers press contact: For media questions about this exciting summertime youth program, contact Connie Mahan, (919) 962-5359,
Photos from previous Summer Youth Conservatory sessions are available upon request.