The Traveling Players Difference

The Traveling Players Difference

outdoor theater camp

“A life-changing organization.”

— Former Student & Faculty

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) selected Traveling Players as one of 25 “Summer Schools in the Arts” – recommending our comprehensive and intensive curriculum as a model for others to follow.

As a nonprofit, we want every dedicated performer to be able to join us.  That is why we charge parents only 70% of the cost of a Traveling Players summer and have the most generous artistic financial aid program in the area, with no annual or lifetime caps.  We seek donations and grants to cover the remaining 30%.

Jeanne Harrison, Founder & Producing Artistic Director, discusses the importance of arts education.

Traveling Players Ensemble won the 2021 ArtsFairfax Arts Education Award.

Individual attention matters.  We limit our cast size to 13 performers, and then surround them with three directors, making our faculty to student ratio an unparalleled 1:4.  

At Traveling Players, we can break out into three rehearsals simultaneously.  For example, a typical rehearsal looks like a director blocking the movement of one scene with 6 students, while 1 assistant director reviews yesterday’s language intensive scene with 4 students, and another assistant director is working with 3 students playing comic roles on making power entrances and exits for their individual scenes.  By working this way, we ensure each student gets personalized attention all day, every day.

Recognized by the Washington Post as “a little known summer gem,” Traveling Players is committed to giving every student an excellent and well rounded theatrical education.   Read more >>>

  • Selected as 1 of 25 model Summer Schools in the Arts by the NEA
  • Arts Education Award, 2020-21 Winner, ARTSFAIRFAX
  • #1 Arts Camp in the Nation, CampEasy
  • Featured in 2015-16 and 2019-20 Catalogue for Philanthropy, “featuring the area’s best, vetted, community-based charities for high-impact local giving”

Traveling Players maintains a 1:4 staff to student ratio. That means our students are more than just in our sight, but receiving personalized training and attention.  Directors are master teachers with many years of experience in both professional theatre and theatre education.  Along with their professional achievements, our faculty is trained in First Aid & CPR and Leave No Trace outdoor ethics.  Every director is supported by two assistant directors, who are working on or have received their BA, BFA or MFA in theatre.

Our Artistic Director personally interviews every member of our staff and selects them for their proven skills as educators, artists, and role models.

We do not employ CITs. All employees of Traveling Players are rigorously background checked.  All staff attend two weeks of on-site orientation.

Our staff is our biggest asset — comprised of talented artist educators who work professionally in the DC-metro area and around the world. A significant number of our staff are alums of our program, proof that the Traveling Players community remains dear to their hearts.  Read all about them on our staff page!

All costumes, sets, and props are designed and built by our talented design team, consisting of professional designers and construction artists.  Students participating in our technical theatre apprenticeship program work one on one with our designers and construction artists to bring our shows to life.

Climbing mountains, pitching tents, creating characters – at Traveling Players we craft age-appropriate programs designed to challenge our students.  Our students know that the successes they have off stage allows them greater success on stage.  The result: pride in their accomplishments, trust in their abilities, and confidence to tackle more in the future.

With only 13 performers, everyone is essential to the show.  Our actors also assume technical roles, like maintaining the costumes, setting up the sound system, or chopping vegetables for dinner.  The ensemble ethos that permeates Traveling Players allows our students to grow their leadership skills – and often gives them great material for college essays!

Ensembles are founded on the principles of inclusion, diversity, and equality. Because the ensemble is core to everything we do at Traveling Players, these principles are reflected in every part of our community, artistry, and mission.

  • Over 690 performances, 50% donated
  • 25% of all participants in 2020 were students of color
  • 266 students received financial aid, totaling more than $250,000

Read more >>>

Good performance is predicated on real connections and complete presence with the ensemble.  To this end, we do not allow the use of cellphones during our programs.  Unplugging allows our students to bond with their peers and form meaningful relationships that last a lifetime.    Read more >>>

In our 19 years of operations, Traveling Players has maintained a spotless safety record.  In addition to standard liability insurance for educational theatre, Traveling Players’ insurance policies cover our fleet of six purple school buses, care of students overnight, challenge courses, and swimming. We also carry additional medical coverage in case our student’s policy is not sufficient.   Read more >>>

Theatre began around a campfire, where people told stories, in the dark.  Their stories were of identity– origin myths, their challenges, accomplishments, trials and triumphs.  We continue that trend at Traveling Players, keeping theatre wild, singing around a campfire, telling our own stories and connecting with nature.  Time spent off-stage and out-of-role allow campers to bond, forming friendships that last a lifetime.  The trust that is built during campouts translates to the stage as compelling performances.