Summer Camp Staff FAQs
Summer Camp Jobs FAQ
What is mainstages?
mainstages is a children's theater company that provides summer camps with a fully developed and customizable theater program including our "theater in a box" show kit, complete with costumes, sets, and scripts.
We place teaching artists and theater directors in camps and provide them with a curriculum guide, training, and ongoing support to ensure success.
mainstages believes in creating top notch theatrical experiences designed to grow confidence, increase creativity, strengthen community, build character, and have fun at camp!
What are my responsibilities as a teaching artist or theater director?
Teaching artists and theater directors are expected to run daily acting classes on a rotating schedule, supervise campers in an outdoor setting, and direct one to two shows over the course of the summer.
They are also required to communicate with mainstages and actively participate in training and curriculum development.
What is the difference between a Teaching Artist position and a Theater Director position?
A Teaching Artist is looking to gain experience in teaching and directing children in a school or summer camp setting. At sleepaway camps they generally live in-bunk with campers and take on counseling duties along with overseeing the theater program.
A Theater Director has ample experience in directing, teaching, and producing, as well as the administrative supervision of other staff. A Theater Director at camp will supervise an entire theater program including multiple staff and simultaneous sessions of theatrical activities.
You can learn more by visiting our jobs page.
What's the curriculum like?
There are two core units to mainstages curriculum: a performance track for children who audition and participate in the shows, and an activities track for campers who arrive as part of a rotating schedule.
The activities track is steeped in movement games, focus exercises, character, and improvisation, while the performance track emphasizes ensemble, sensory work, and stage vocabulary.
For each track, you are provided with a daily breakdown of suggested programs and lesson plans.
What are the dates of the contract?
Dates are a little different for each camp but typically range from early June-mid August. Sleep-away camps may require you to arrive at camp up to a week early for orientation.
Camp days typically start at 7am and will end around 5/6pm (day camp) or 9/10pm (sleep-away), with staff free time during the day and after.
You will be asked to attend pre-camp orientations with mainstages, including participation in an online prep course, webinars, phone calls, and in-person.
What is my compensation?
Most teaching artists and theater directors will receive a salary paid directly from camp based on education, applicable work, and previous camp experience. Salary scale will be determined prior to offer of contract.
Sleep-away camp contracts also include room and board for the duration of the summer and travel to camp from the nearest city. Many camps also allow for gratuities from families on visiting days.
While salaries vary depending on experience and the particular position, here is a general range for reference:
Drama Counselors: $1,800- $2,200
Drama Counselor/Theater Camp Specialist: $2,200- $2,500
Theater Camp Directors: $2,800- $3,500+
What camps do you work with?
mainstages consults and collaborates with day and sleep-away camps across the United States and Canada. Partner camps are typically traditional camps that offer a wide variety of programs and partner with mainstages for theater and fine arts support.
Our partner camps are accredited by the American Camping Association and are considered premier in the camping movement.
What are my living arrangements like?
Sleepaway camp teaching artists are required to spend the duration of their contract living at their placement camp, typically in a large bunk area with 3-5 other staff and anywhere from 8-16 campers. Accommodations may vary and some private sleeping arrangements are available.
Teaching artists receive one day off a week and periods off daily. Theater Directors at sleepaway camps generally will have private or semi-private housing accommodations. Day camp staff placed outside of their local areas are provided short term housing or placed with a host family.
How old are the kids?
Kids range in age from six to sixteen at sleep-away camp, though most kids auditioning for the play tend to be between eight and fourteen. Day camp starts at three years old. Our curriculum targets children beginning at age four.
You may be placed with a specific age group for lodging and counseling. That age group will be determined by the camp in collaboration with mainstages, based on your previous experience and personality.
How does a mainstages internship work?
mainstages offers college credits at many theater schools and conservatories. Credits range from 2-6 for the summer, depending on educational institution attending, and may be applied as elective or educational credits.
Schools require communication with a guidance counselor or advisor to determine parameters and measures of judgment. mainstages serves as intern sponsor and works with camp staff to make sure internship goals are reached.
Why do I want to work at camp?
To help make an impact on young lives:
Children can develop and increase their independence and maturity while spending a summer at camp. They look up to their staff and idolize them, so you can have a tremendous impact on them as a leader and a role model. This is also a golden opportunity to get them into the creative arts. A child who learns the love of theater at camp will be hooked forever.
To broaden your own experiences:
Camps offer a myriad of activities from archery to zipline and everything in between. As staff, you will be encouraged to go on the motorboat, swim in the pool, go to amusement parks, and enjoy life! In addition, camps hire staff from all over the world, leaving you a tremendous opportunity to work on accents and gain cultural sophistication!
Are there any more perks?
Absolutely! mainstages teaching artists and theater directors become members of the mainstages network and receive free theater tickets, cheap rehearsal/meeting space, and the opportunity for ongoing performance and teaching opportunities throughout the year. And the perks don't stop there! Click here to see what else a summer at camp has to offer.