Summer Camps & Conservatories FAQs

From picking an ensemble, to auditions, applying for financial aid, what to pack,
and more, find answers to all your questions about summer camps and theatre programs at Traveling
Players Ensemble.

703 - 987 - 1712

Hours: 11 am - 6 pm

Click below to send us a message.

Contact Us

Picking an Ensemble

Check out our Dates & Rates for Summer 2024!

Which ensemble is right for me?

Students who have been at Traveling Players before know the power of a strong and well-balanced ensemble. But how do you create a cohesive and effective ensemble? You need a mix of experiences and backgrounds – students of different ages, genders, and leadership experience — all of whom are eager to support and challenge each other to do their best work.

Our Swing Year students are eligible to perform in different ensembles, which will offer them different experiences.

Please audition only once – for the program that you are more interested in. We will take your preference into consideration when deciding ensemble assignments, but will place you in the ensemble that we feel is most appropriate for your growth as a performer.

6th Grade Swings: Audition for either the Mythology Ensemble, the Thespian Ensemble, or the Comedy Ensemble.
8th Grade Swings: Audition for either the Thespian Ensemble, the Shakespeare Ensemble, the Comedy Ensemble (2 wk), or the  Comedy Intensive (3wk). You can also interview for Technical Theatre. If interested in both acting and tech, please audition AND interview.

Still not sure? Call us! (703-987-1712). We love talking about camp and crafting the best summer for your child. 

Please do not be discouraged if you are placed in a different ensemble than your preference. It is likely because we think you will receive a better challenge or more leadership opportunities in the other ensemble.

Auditions & Interviews

Do I have to audition/interview?

Day Camp:  No, this program does not require an audition.

Sleepaway Camps & Shakespeare Troupe:  Yes, all of our residential programs are by audition or interview only.

What if I can't attend in person?

Unable to audition/interview in person? We still want to see you!

If you live outside the DC-metro area, you can still apply for our summer programs – and we hope you do! Here’s what you do: email Emma Mearns ( for a registration link. Once we have received your registration, we will organize a time to meet with you via Zoom. You may be scheduled to audition with other students or you may be solo. Technical Theatre Interviews will be solo.

In the audition Zoom room, you will perform your monologue, play theatre games, and discuss what the summer will look like for you if accepted. For the interview, we'll discuss your portfolio, interests, current skills, what you want to learn, and how summer can help you achieve your goals. You’ll have a chance to ask us questions, too!

Can I audition/interview even if I don't know if I can participate this summer?

No, sorry. We accept a very limited number of campers, meaning every spot must be filled by someone who is committed, so as to not take away an opportunity from someone else.

If after the audition/interview, you realize this is not the community for you, simply email us within 48 hours and we will not follow up with your results.

Do I need an audition slot?

Nope. You’ll be in the audition room the whole time. We’re equally interested in how you play with others (and with whom you play particularly well), as we are in your performance skills. Additionally, we will be playing improvisational games. So plan to spend the whole time with us!

I'm a returning Traveling Player. Do I still need to audition/interview?

Yes. We select new actors & technicians each year. Usually, this means returning members will be re-accepted, but not always. Plus, for casting purposes, it’s important for us to see how you’ve grown or changed over the year. The audition/interview isn’t just to determine if we’ll use you, but also how.

How do you decide who gets in?

We accept actors into our programs by considering the needs of the individuals and the needs of the play. We have to cast the plays with actors who are right for the roles. We also have to find roles that will challenge the individual actors.

We accept technicians considering the technical aspects of the season's plays. We need to make sure each technician has a challenging project to work on, so they can grow their skills.

We also select people based on how they work in the group and what kind of energy they bring in.

What happens at the auditions?

You will perform the monologue that you memorized, but that is just one section of the auditions. You will be given lots of opportunities to display your skills through improvisation, readings from scripts, and group discussions. The audition is an opportunity for the director to get to know you and to see how you work and play with other potential members of the ensemble. It is also an opportunity for you to get to know your potential castmates. You will have your best audition if you relax, have fun, and connect with your fellow performers! We have been told that our auditions are significantly more fun than the average audition. We plan to keep it that way.

What do I need to prepare for auditions?

For all auditioned programs you will need to prepare some material to present. You can find the required material below. Please choose ONE (1) to perform at your audition.

For Shakespeare Troupe, please prepare a Shakespeare monologue of your choice, 14 - 18 lines in length, from any show other than Hamlet.

What do I need to prepare for interviews?

Please bring a portfolio to your interview to discuss. You can find the guidelines below:

Can I apply for overlapping programs?

Yes, you can! However, you can’t participate in both, as they overlap. But, this will allow you to be placed in the program that will give you the most challenge. Here’s how it works:

1 - Figure out which program you’d prefer, since we will take that into consideration. We genuinely care about what you’re interested in learning, particularly since the disciplines are so different.
2 - Audition/Interview for your first choice as early as possible. If interested in two acting programs, you only need to audition once. If you specify a preference, then the director of that ensemble has first dibs on you if they think you would do well in their play. The staff will discuss how they would potentially use you in either production, and accept you into the program with the greatest challenge for you as an actor (meaning the largest substantial role).

When will I find out if I'm accepted?

The notification goes out about a week after the audition/interview. Students are accepted, declined, or called back. All parents & students are emailed at the same time.

Actors are called back so that the director can see how the actor plays with other auditionees. (For example, if we’re considering you for the role of Romeo, but no Juliets audition this round, you’ll need to read together at the next round of auditions. The same is true of comedy duos.) If called back, then you will not be charged another audition fee.

While rarer, technicians will sometimes be asked to do a second interview if we feel the need to further discuss your skills and/or interests. We want to make sure we are best serving you and that you will get the training you want out of the program.


What are my discounts for Day Camp?

  • Multiweek - $25
  • Sibling Discount - $25
  • Referral Rebate - $25
  • Early Bird (enroll by Jan 31) - $35 

What are my discounts for Sleepaway & Troupe?

  • Multisession - $200
  • Sibling Discount - $200
  • Referral Rebate - $250
  • Early Bird (enroll by Jan 31) - ensemble dependent:
    • Mythology Ensemble - $200
    • Thespian Ensemble - $300
    • Comedy Ensemble - $200
    • Comedy Intensive - $300
    • Shakespeare Ensemble - $300
    • Technical Theatre (3wk) - $300
    • Shakespeare Troupe - $500
    • Technical Theatre (6wk) - $500

Are discounts stacking?

Yes! You can have one, two, or all of the discounts, if applicable. Our discounts are also stacking, meaning if you have 3 children enrolled, you will receive the sibling discount twice.

I have one child in Day Camp and one at Sleepaway. How does that affect my discounts?

The sibling discount will be applied to the Day Camp enrollment. For the referral rebate, it will be applied to the camp the referred student enrolls in (i.e. your friend enrolls in Sleepaway, we would apply the $250 rebate to your Sleepaway reservation).

Financial Aid

What programs are eligible for Financial Aid?

Traveling Players is committed to making arts education accessible to everyone. We are proud to offer need-based financial aid for all of our programs with no annual or lifetime caps. Once approved for financial aid, you can be extended aid for a full calendar year before needing to reapply. 

What makes me a candidate for Financial Aid?

Anyone who believes they are in need is encouraged to apply, but those who usually receive significant amounts of aid are families with a combined annual income of $110,000 or less, or those with extenuating circumstances (i.e. medical bills, parents/guardians on deployment, changing family circumstances).

I was given Financial Aid last year. Do I need to apply again?

Yes. Financial Aid lasts for a full calendar year, then you must reapply. For example, if you first applied for aid for Summer 2023, you would need to reapply for Summer 2024.

However, you will not need to provide us with a teacher recommendation or interview as we already know you.

How much Financial Aid can I receive?

This varies family to family and year to year. We can offer anywhere between 10% - 95% of tuition as aid. The amount offered will depend on funding from donations & grants, number of applicants, and need of applicants from year to year.

I don't live in the DC metro area. Can I still receive Financial Aid?

Yes, but due to grant stipulations we prioritize local students. If you live out of the area and would like to apply for financial aid, we recommend applying as early as possible.

How do I apply for Financial Aid?

  1. For Sleepaway Camps & Troupe: Register to audition/interview for the program that your student would like to attend.  Please submit all following materials by your audition. Once program acceptances have been sent out based on the audition, we will begin to consider your Financial Aid application.
  2. For Day Camps:  The parent should contact us or 703-987-1712. If we determine you are a good candidate for financial aid, then we will give you a code to temporarily hold a space while your application is being processed.
  3. The student writes a letter to Artistic Director Jeanne Harrison explaining why they want to be a member of Traveling Players’ summer programs or classes and what special qualities they would bring to the ensemble.
  4. The student asks a teacher or coach who knows them well to fill out a recommendation form:
  5. Parents complete the Financial Aid Application Form and provide a copy of their most recent federal tax return to verify your eligibility for financial aid.  Please do NOT email your taxes.  Snail mail them (P.O. Box 1315, Great Falls, VA 22066) or use an encrypted email service.
    • Please block out your social security numbers; we don’t need those.

New this Year! - Financial Aid is being considered on a rolling basis. This means we will be awarding aid as early as December. Please apply as early as possible to give yourself the best chance of receiving the funding you need.

When will I find out if I received Financial Aid?

Our Financial Aid committee meets once a month to review applications and make decisions. You should find out about a month after your application is complete. This includes program acceptance for Sleepaway & Troupe. Once you have received your offer, you have a week to accept and put down a deposit of 30% of what your portion of the tuition. You may then schedule payments as necessary with the full amount being due April 15.


Where is camp?

Freedom Center

  • 1 hour from Washington, DC.
  • Nestled into the foothills of Virginia’s Catoctin Mountains.
  • Freedom Center is private property and spacious (100 acres!)

Address for Directions: 
13951 Freedom Center Dr, Leesburg, VA 20176

Mailing Address: 
<Camper’s Name>
Traveling Players
c/o Freedom Center
13922 Freedom Center Lane
Leesburg, VA 20176

Can I see the campus?

We will have an Open House in May for families and friends to tour our campus before camp starts.

Over the summer, we do a drive-by drop off for students, so this will be the only chance for parents to see everything at camp!

What are the lodges like?

Campers live in comfy, cozy Lodges - with electricity, AC, and bathrooms – flush toilets & showers! 

  • Our campus features 3 Lodges around a central quad. Campers live with near-age peers, expanding their friendships to other ensembles.  
  • Each Lodge includes two sleeping bays of 8-12 beds (4-6 bunk beds).  
  • Campers have the opportunity to take a hot shower every day!
  • Each Lodge is unique, but all include common areas — inside with big comfy couches for relaxing, memorizing lines, and hanging out with your friends. Outside, large porches or pavilions offer even more hangout space. During rest hours, campers can can go between lodges, so you can always hang out with your friends no matter where you live!
  • Staff live in private rooms within the Lodges so that they are nearby, attentive, and available, while still allowing campers an appropriate level of privacy.
  • Artistic Director Jeanne Harrison lives next door to the Lodges in a cottage – always available.

How are the campers divided in the lodges?

The three lodges are divided by grade. The exact ages change every year depending on the breakout of camp, but typically they are grades 4-7, 7-9, & 9-12.  Campers are then divided by gender into separate sleeping bays with separate bathrooms.

What fun areas exist around campus?

  • Adventure surrounds us! There are hiking trails, a challenge course, basketball court, volleyball court, gaga ball pit, canoes & kayaks, lakeside firepits for s’mores and a meadow for stargazing!

Where do the campers rehearse/do tech work?

  • We rehearse outdoors all day, enjoying everything Mother Nature has to offer!
  • Indoor and outdoor rain spaces keep students safe and rehearsing all day long – no matter the weather!
  • Both the Costume & Scene shops have AC and large windows which let in natural light – keeping everyone comfortable while working.


What is the staff to camper ratio?

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 Counselors In Training (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.

How do you care for my child's physical safety?

All our staff receive American Red Cross First Aid, CPR, and EpiPen training. Several staff are certified in Wilderness First Aid.

Our staff have a high level of physical competency. Many of them have run marathons, hiked the Appalachian Trail, or are certified lifeguards.

If medical services are needed, the INOVA Loudoun Hospital is located less than 30 minutes from campus.

How do you care for my child's emotional safety?

We dedicate a full day of staff orientation to practicing how to keep our students in safe boundaries with our on-call social worker. Zena Carmel-Jessup is a Maryland Licensed Clinical Social Worker with over 20 years of experience training staff and working with children and families.

What is the camp's electronic policy?

Cell phones, iPods, mp3 players, kindles, smart watches, fitness trackers, other Bluetooth devices, etc. are NOT allowed at camp.

Almost all sleepaway/residential camps strictly forbid cell phones and electronics, and we agree with their stance.  The reasons for this are many:

  • According to U.S. News and NPR, smartphone-mediated communication interferes with the positive educational and developmental impact of camp on children of all ages.
    • A 2014 UCLA study of sixth graders at an outdoor camp found that in just 5 days without a screen, students were better able to pick up on nonverbal emotional cues.
  • The rough-and-tumble environment of summer camp is hard on delicate and expensive electronics, which are particularly vulnerable to loss and breakage.
  • Unplugged doesn’t mean disconnected. You can send you camper letters & care packages (we recommend limiting yourself to 1 care package in a 3 week stay, but you can send letters everyday if you’d like!)
    • <Camper’s Name>
      Traveling Players
      c/o Freedom Center
      13922 Freedom Center Lane
      Leesburg, VA 20176
  • You can also email your camper!
  • Some personal electronics (for instance, a single-function white noise generator for kids with sleep disorders) may be acceptable for use at camp. Please contact the office to check in with us before camp.
  • Campers with standing therapy appointments will, of course, be able to attend those. We will provide phones to campers for them to use. Please email with the appointment time and doctor’s phone number. 
  • Campers who are starting college this year will have access to their phones for the purposes of registering for classes, filling out their paperwork, et cetera.
  • Students doing Shakespeare Troupe can bring their phone after the mid-simmer vacation and will have access to it during selected times while on tour. 
  • It’s very important that parents do not rely on their children’s cell phones as being their contact number should something come up.  If something comes up during camp  (family emergency on your end, camper not feeling well on our end), please call the Camp Office at 703-987-1712 (or expect a call from the camp office).  The camp director will make sure your child, as well as his/her staff members, are up to date with anything that’s going on.  By keeping us in the loop, we are better able to care for your child.

We really appreciate your compliance with this policy, and hope your camper can “disconnect to reconnect”!

What about traveling during the program?

We travel with the students for field trips, performances, and tour. Our fleet of six purple buses have a spotless safety record. All of our buses are professionally maintained by our experienced on-call diesel mechanic. We employ a commercial driver trainer to personally train all of our drivers. All of our bus drivers are drug tested before the summer begins and randomly tested throughout the summer.  A bus counselor engages students in games (a mobile improv class!) while the driver focuses on the road. 

Getting to Camp

Is there a bus that takes kids to camp?

No, you will drop off and fetch your child from Tysons (Day Camp) or the Freedom Center (Sleepaway).

I'm flying in from out of state - how do I get to camp from the airport?

Traveling Players offers shuttle service to and from Washington Dulles (IAD) on the first and last day of every session.

There is an $160 fee each way to use the shuttle service. If you are interested in using the shuttle service please email for further booking details.

Shuttle Dates for 2024
Arrival Dates – June 23, July 14
Return Dates – July 5, 12, 26 & August 2

Traveling Players is unable to arrange shuttle service to any airport other than Washington Dulles IAD.

Unaccompanied Minors (aged 14 and under for most airlines) 

Unaccompanied Minor is a term used by the airlines for a fee-based escort service for a young traveler. The airlines charge a separate fee for this service. Each airline has its own specific requirements for transporting young travelers. We recommend that families check with the air carrier to determine what requirements apply to a minor child. See below for unaccompanied minor information for the main carriers for Dulles IAD.

We also recommend that you schedule flights early in the day. Airlines will not board an unaccompanied minor if any flights of the trip are the last flight of the day.


If you are planning to ship your luggage to camp please allow at least two weeks for items to arrive at Freedom Center from the continental U.S. and Canadian sites and longer from other locations. Place origin and destination addresses, and phone numbers, inside shipped items in case exterior tags become lost. It is recommended to ship belongings in boxes that can be reused at the end of the session.

To ship luggage and boxes in advance use the following address and include the student’s arrival date:

<Camper’s Name>
Traveling Players
c/o Freedom Center
13922 Freedom Center Lane
Leesburg, VA 20176

Shipping Luggage Home

Campers who shipped their luggage to camp can elect to ship their luggage home after camp. Families will be responsible for the cost of shipment from camp and an additional $25 convenience fee.

I want to come for the whole summer, but I'm not local to the DC area. Where should I go during the mid-summer vacation?

If you are coming from out of town, we will help you to find a castmate that you can stay with over the mid-summer break! Traveling Players is fortunate to have a welcoming and interconnected community.  Just let us know that you are interested in being hosted, and we will connect you with other families in your ensemble. 

What to Pack

Download the Packing List

Is it best to pack sheets and a blanket or a sleeping bag?

We recommend that you pack both sheets and a blanket and a sleeping bag. The kids will spend a couple nights in tents so the sleeping bag will be good for that, and the cabins will have AC so sheets and blankets will be good then. The sleeping bag can be used as the blanket if it unzips entirely.

My trunk/tupperware/luggage is too big to fit under the bunk, can I still send it?

Storage space underneath bunks and in the sleeping bays is limited.  Please do your best to pack efficiently.  Luggage that fits underneath bunks (10 inches or shorter) is highly preferred as it will be more easily stored.

Do the kids need a backpack?

The kids will need a small daypack to carry their script, pencils, water bottle, camera, etc., but only Shakespeare Troupe will need a framed camping backpack.

At Camp

How often will the kids do their laundry, and should I send my kid with detergent/pods?

You can bring laundry pods if they are powdered.  We don’t want parents to send liquid detergent since it could create a huge mess. Your student can also buy detergent from the camp store.  Campers should pack about 12 days’ worth of clothes.   We will do extra laundry as needed (i.e. big rainstorm, surprise period, etc.) 

What items are off limits for care packages?

Please do not send food in your care packages.  We like to keep the nature in nature, and food invites critters into the lodges.

Please also refrain from sending items such as electronics and medications (over the counter or prescription). These items should be handed over to camp staff on move-in day. 

What is the food like?

  • Campers eat a delicious, diverse, and healthy menu.  Every meal will offer a vegetarian and non-vegetarian entree. 
  • Students who have food allergies or other dietary needs should contact after they enroll to discuss their meal needs. If your child has a more restrictive diet, we may ask you to send a “safe box” of favorite foods that can be eaten if the entree being served does not fit within your child’s dietary requirements. (Note: This is only for campers with food allergies.)

Can my child attend therapy virtually while at camp?

  • Of course!  We have found that the most effective way for campers to attend therapy while at camp is by phone call – that way they are not distracted by notifications from their personal devices when they log on for their appointments. We will provide phones for campers to use – and a hammock might be available, too! If possible, please move their appointment time to between 4:00 – 6:00 pm on a weekday, which is during their free time. Please email with the appointment time and doctor’s phone number.

I’m going to college in the fall and need to register for classes/check my email etc. What do I do?

  • Students who are starting college this year will have limited access to their phones for the purposes of registering for classes, filling out their paperwork, etc. Please contact the camp director in advance for further information. We’ll make sure they don’t miss any deadlines during their stay with us!

P.O. Box 1315
Great Falls, VA 22066


Traveling Players Studio
Tysons Corner Center – DL01
1961 Chain Bridge Road, Tysons, VA 22102

Traveling Players Ensemble is funded in part by ArtsFairfax and the Virginia Commission for the Arts, which receives support from the Virginia General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.
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