“This is the only program that I found in the DC area that was as serious as I wanted it to be. Still it was so much fun.”
Summer Acting Institute Student Evaluation

Summer Acting Institute

A challenging four-week acting conservatory for ages 13-19.


SAIT 2018 - Polaroid Stories

Mondays-Fridays, 1pm-6 pm; July 23-August 17
Performance: evening of August 17
(full day of rehearsals August 15-16)

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Classes and rehearsals take place in our downtown home

733 8th St NW, Washington DC 20001 
(Gallery Place Metro - Red, Yellow and Green lines)

The final performance is at Theater J, a renowned professional venue

Summer Acting Institute for Teens

The Theatre Lab’s Summer Acting Institute for Teens is designed to immerse young adults in the art of acting—from mastering the essential principles of the craft to participating in a public performance of at the end of the four weeks.

The curriculum includes audition seminars, improvisational workshops, voice and speech training, movement training, and scene study, as well as special programs designed to give interested students insight into the workings of the professional theatre community.  In addition to the daily training, students will present a full production at Theater J, a renowned professional theatre venue.


Admission to the Acting Institute for Teens is by application and audition. Applicants will be accepted on the basis of their commitment to exploring the theatre craft, their willingness to collaborate in a group process of discovery with other young artists. All applicants must complete a written essay expressing their interest in the program. Applicants must also prepare a 90-second monologue for auditions that will be scheduled upon receipt of completed application. Due to the limited nature of our enrollment, admission is competitive. You will be contacted shortly after we receive your application to schedule an audition. Applications submitted after the deadline will be considered only if space becomes available.


Tuition for the Acting Institute is $1,070. Please note: If you audition and are accepted into both The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Polaroid Stories, your total tuition to participate in both programs will be $1,950 (a $255 discount). Partial financial aid is available through our Work Study program. In addition, a limited number of scholarships will be awarded annually through the Harvard Class of 1985 Scholarship Fund and the Kathy Angelakos Memorial Fund. (Criteria: exceptional community involvement and financial need.)  

Polaroid Stories

by Naomi lizuka

Directed by Randy Baker

A visceral blend of classical mythology and real life stories told by young people living on the streets, Naomi lizuka's Polaroid Stories journeys into a dangerous world where myth-making fulfills a fierce need for transcendence; where storytelling has the power to transform a reality in which characters' lives are continually threatened and devalued. Inspired in part by Ovid's Metamorphoses, Polaroid Stories takes place on an abandoned pier on the outermost edge of a city, a way stop for dreamers, dealers and desperadoes, a no-man's land where runaways seek camaraderie, refuge and escape. Informed by interviews with young prostitutes and homeless teens, lizuka's language mixes poetry and profanity, imbuing the play with lyricism and great theatrical force.

Please note: This play contains mature themes and language. Most often done in college settings, Polaroid Stories asks young actors to take on difficult issues including drug abuse, sexual trafficking, and violence against women.

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Acting Classes

Summer Acting Institute participants take all of the following courses:

The Drama Workshop: An improvisational workshop designed to explore core acting skills, including: creating a character, activating needs, developing spontaneity and focus, and communicating effectively with others on stage.  Students will be challenged to discover new ways of thinking, expressing themselves, and creating.

Auditioning:  An intensive seminar designed to prepare students to perform monologues in an audition setting, this course focuses on developing confidence, rechanneling nervous energy into creative energy, and using the body and voice effectively to tell a story.  At the conclusion of the seminar, students use their monologues to audition. All students are guaranteed substantial and interesting roles.

Stage Movement:  Designed to increase the actor’s range of movement and physical expressiveness, this course incorporates elements of mime, dance, and improvisation, as well as training in relaxation and posture development, in order to maximize the potential of the body on stage.

Voice and Speech:  Designed to give students the skills they need for clear, effective speech on stage, this course focuses on developing proper breath control, improving diction and projection, dialect, and maximizing the flexibility and range of the voice.

Scene Study:  An intensive exploration of scripted work, this course focuses on developing the actor’s process through the introduction of powerful rehearsal techniques.  Course culminates in a public performance of Macbeth

In addition to the above classes, students participate in a variety of special workshops—such as acting for film and TV, mask work, and stage combat—led by guest artists from the Washington theatre community.