Training Theatre Artists to Make a Difference

Summertime in the City with the High School Drama Institute

An overview of the successful High School Drama Institute at the Catholic University of America.

The perfect blend of educational and enjoyable, the High School Drama Institute is the perfect program for any aspiring actor. From classes such as “Voice for the Actor” to seeing a show at D.C.’s famous Kennedy Center, every student will learn the fundamentals of a successful actor. Sixteen talented high school students, from all over the U.S., attended the HSDI for the summer of 2015.

Classes were taught by a variety of talented CUAdrama alumni and current faculty. Professor Brandon McCoy (CUA M.F.A. in Acting) and Professor Gary Sloan (current CUA Acting Professor) instructed scene and monologue work. Professor Laura Giannarelli (CUA B.A.) taught “Voice for the Actor,” Professor Elena Velasco (CUA B.A. & M.F.A) instructed “Movement for the Actor,” and countless guest artists taught stage combat workshops and many more. The students experienced a rigorous daily scheduled in preparation for their final showcase performance.  Attached is the typical schedule for the two-week program: Schedule 2015 FINAL

Despite the busy class schedule, students were able to enjoy all that D.C. has to offer. On their two weekends off, students explored the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, Chinatown, and the famous D.C. monuments on the National Mall.

Additionally, the students were exposed to the amazing DC theater scene. The students visited the distinguished Folger Shakespeare Theatre. One evening, they attended the DC Fringe Festival show INTERSECTIONS at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, where they saw some CUAdrama alumni in the professional show. Scott Waara, Tony-award winning actor, visited the students before they saw his performance as “Da” at the Kennedy Center in the Tony-award winning musical Once.

The HSDI allows for students to hone their performance skills in a safe, professional environment. While attending, students live in a college dorm on Catholic University’s campus, and can experience some of the independence that college provides. By collaborating and learning from some amazing theatre professionals, they are gaining advantageous performance skills, as well as building connections and in the collegiate and professional theatre world.

Overall, this summer’s High School Drama Institute was a magnificent success, thanks to the direction of Dr. Rosalind Flynn and the rest of the CUAdrama department.

“CUA provides a great place to learn theatre and grow. The professors were great, and the other students were as committed to the program as myself.”- HSDI Summer 2015 Student

CUA HSDI exceeded my expectations because of how much was packed into the two weeks. The program was very well rounded and was able to teach me more than I ever thought I could learn in just two weeks.”- HSDI Summer 2015 Student

I am considering attending CUA, so now I know that I enjoy and have fun in this supportive environment.” – HSDI Summer 2015 Student

For more information on the High School Drama Institute at the Catholic University of America, visit:



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This entry was posted on July 23, 2015 by and tagged , .
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