Five. Six. Seven! Why Texas Arts Project is THE Place to Be This Summer

I attend­ed TAP camp the sum­mer of 2014 before my senior year of high school. The expe­ri­ences I had and the peo­ple I met while there, have stuck with me to this day. It’s a great way to meet kids just like you all over Texas while spend­ing almost a month hav­ing great sum­mer fun as well as learn­ing some­thing new infor­ma­tion in the thing we all love to do!

For me, I was on a mis­sion to get pre­pared for col­lege. Senior year is either titled the “Easiest Year of My Life” or for any arts major: “The Most Stressful Nine Months of My High School Career”. Not only do we have to wor­ry about get­ting in aca­d­e­m­i­cal­ly, but we must also pre­pare 3 – 5 dif­fer­ent songs with dif­fer­ent require­ments for more than 7 schools as well as fly all over the coun­try and wait two months longer than every­one else to see if we’re going to col­lege. Going to TAP camp allowed me to keep a mod­er­ate­ly sane mind­set while going through such chaos. I was taught to be pre­pared for any­thing that could hap­pen and any sur­pris­es that may throw me off bal­ance. I was also giv­en care­ful advice from those who had already gone through the process, not to take on too much. It seems easy to apply to so many schools so that you’re guar­an­teed an admit­tance but that brings a lot of expens­es and a lot of 16-bar cuts.

The most impor­tant thing I learned at TAP was to be myself. I’m sure that sounds incred­i­bly cliché but it’s also very true and so impor­tant. I was audi­tion­ing for the next four years of my life, so why would I present the peo­ple behind the table with a char­ac­ter? No mat­ter how many times I rehearsed my slate and songs, as long as I walked in there with con­fi­dence, I still aced the audi­tion.

Being at TAP camp also helped me learn what I want­ed to get out of a school. The sched­ule is very intense: get up, work­out, break­fast, work, lunch, rehearse, din­ner, maybe some fun, sleep and do it all again the next day. This assured me I was not inter­est­ed in a con­ser­v­a­tive school. When we went off-cam­pus or had free days, that made me think that I was inter­est­ed in a big school full of kids who weren’t only inter­est­ed in the arts. Thanks to TAP Camp, I’m at my dream school, the University of Oklahoma, and lov­ing every minute of it. If you’re unsure of how to take on this career, go to TAP Camp and soak up all that you can because it’s worth it.”

-Lena Owens (Musical Theatre Major, University of Oklahoma)


What Campers Say About TAP

College is the unknown. It’s daunt­ing. Texas Arts Project gave me con­fi­dence in myself. I start­ed col­lege know­ing I could suc­ceed. It seems small, but hav­ing a safe place to grow makes a sub­stan­tial impact in a young actor’s life. TAP Camp gave me excel­lent train­ing in per­for­mance aspects, but also allowed me to fall, know­ing I’d get back up again.
-Coy Branscum (TAP Camper 2010 – 2011) is a grad­u­ate of Millikin University’s BFA Musical Theatre Program
Thank you to TAP camp. It was absolute­ly amaz­ing and I can’t express how grate­ful I am for the expe­ri­ence. It real­ly made a dif­fer­ence for me, and I just want­ed to say thanks.
-Gretchen Hahn (TAP Camper 2011) is study­ing Acting at the University of Oklahoma
I have grown as a film­mak­er and have learned so much about process and time man­age­ment.
-Madison Calicchia (TAP Camper 2012, Filmmaking Major from Houston)
TAP Camp is amaz­ing. It has uncon­scious­ly made me become more ambi­tious, hard­work­ing, deter­mined, and has giv­en me the abil­i­ty to be more opti­mistic about life.
-Ryan Breuer (Musical Theatre Major 2008 – 2010) is study­ing Astrophysics at the University of Colorado-Boulder.

Buckner is an awe­some film teacher. Actually, I loved the whole camp.
-Diego Rodriguez (Filmmaking Major 2011 – 2012 from Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico)

It was way different and more better than I expected it to be, from the amazing staff to all of the campers, and activities. I learned so much and still had so much fun. -Nicole Voulgaropoulos (TAP Camper 2012, Acting Major from North Carolina)
From the amaz­ing staff to all of the campers an activ­i­ties, I learned so much and still had so much fun.
-Nicole Voulgaropoulos (Acting Major 2012 from North Carolina)

TAP Camp is so much more intense than other camps like it. I love how much focus is really put on the theatrical aspects of it vs. it being a camp. I love how the counselors are so friendly and cool with you, but also firm and parent-like. At TAP Camp, no one gives up on you or ever believes you can't do something. Korina Lurie (TAP Camp 2011-2012, Musical Theatre Major from Austin)
TAP Camp is so much more intense than oth­er camps like it. I love how much focus is real­ly put on the the­atri­cal aspects of it vs. it being a camp. I love how the coun­selors are so friend­ly and cool with you, but also firm and par­ent-like. At TAP Camp, no one gives up on you or ever believes you can’t do some­thing.
-Korina Lurie (Musical Theatre Major 2011 – 2012, from Austin, TX)
I loved how much they pushed us. It felt like a professional college-level place. Angela Poffenbaugh (TAP Camper 2012, Acting Major from North Carolina)
I loved how much they pushed us. The envi­ron­ment felt very pro­fes­sional.
-Angela Poffenbaugh (Acting Major 2012 from North Carolina)

TAP camp helped so much! I've received many notifications from the schools that I auditioned for, that I am being "highly considered". I would like to thank you! Honestly, I wish I knew about TAP camp sooner. -Zach Teague (TAP Camper 2010) is studying theater at Elon University
TAP camp helped so much! I’ve received many noti­fi­ca­tions from the schools that I audi­tioned for, that I am being “high­ly con­sid­ered”. I would like to thank you! Honestly, I wish I knew about TAP camp soon­er.
-Zach Teague (TAP Camper 2010) is study­ing the­ater at Elon University

I’ve nev­er learned so much about any craft in such a short amount of time. It’s amaz­ing what I’ve tak­en away from this expe­ri­ence.
-Izzy Custodio (Acting Major 2011 – 2012 from San Antonio, Texas) won a schol­ar­ship award and a free trip in an act­ing com­pe­ti­tion.
I real­ly loved direct­ing my own film and learn­ing about screen­writ­ing. The pro­fes­sion­al atmos­phere helped me stay on task. Filmmaking at Texas Arts Project is sweet!
-Andrew Rhodes (Filmmaking Major 2012 from College Station)
TAP Camp pre­pared me for audi­tions by teach­ing me the tech­ni­cal and prac­ti­cal neces­si­ties need­ed to show­case my tal­ents in the the short amount of time giv­en in the audi­tion room. While col­lege audi­tions were daunt­ing, I was calm and sure of myself because I had all the tools I need­ed to suc­ceed – and these were tools I had gained at TAP Camp. I was accept­ed to the won­der­ful pro­gram at Ithaca College, to major with a BFA in Musical Theatre. I was also able to use what I learned at TAP in a recent audi­tion for a pro­fes­sion­al pro­duc­tion of The Fantasticks, and was cast as the Muse and under­study for Luisa – the lead!! Blown away and incred­i­bly grate­ful, I know much of my con­fi­dence and belief in myself to even audi­tion came from the four sum­mers I spent at Texas Arts Project, learn­ing ways in which to refine and bet­ter my craft. TAP Camp pre­pared me for col­lege – as well as life – by pro­vid­ing me with an ever­last­ing reminder to love and nur­ture my work with all of me. TAP Camp taught me that is is worth wak­ing up every day at 7 a.m because life does not run out of oppor­tu­ni­ties: whether it is an excel­lent break­fast with friends, a bril­liant teacher and direc­tor to shape your life for the bet­ter, or a song that makes you love your voice and your life.
–Alexa Cepeda (Musical Theatre Major 2007 – 2010 from College Station) is study­ing musi­cal the­atre at Ithaca University.

Where Our Campers Come From

Over the past four years, our campers have come from 160 different schools.

A&M Consolidated High School College Station TX
Adams Middle School North Platte NE
AHB Community School Austin TX
Alamo Heights Jr. School San Antonio TX
all saints Episcopal Fort Worth TX
Artie Henry Middle School Cedar Park TX
Austin International school AUSTIN TX
CedarRidge High School Round Rock TX
Chanute High Seguin TX
Chapel Hill HS TYLER TX
Clayton Austin TX
Cockrell Elementary Pearland TX
Comfort High School Comfort TX
Communications Arts High School San Antonio TX
Coppell High School Coppell TX
Cornerstone Connection Round Rock TX
CPHS Cedar Park TX
Cy-Ranch High School Cypress TX
CyFalls High School Houston TX
Cypress Grove Intermediate College Station TX
Davis ele Austin TX
Dickerson Middle School Marietta GA
Dripping Springs HS Dripping Springs TX
Dripping Springs Middle Dripping Springs TX
Durham Intermediate Southlake TX
Eanes Elementary Austin TX
Elgin Middle School Lawton OK
Emery Weiner Bellaire, TX
Faubion Middle School McKinney TX
Fern Bluff Elementary Round Rock TX
Forest Trail Elementary Austin TX
Fort Worth Country Day Arlington TX
Friendswood Jr. High School Friendswood TX
Giddens Elementary Cedar Park TX
Good Sheperd Austin TX
Gordon ISD Gordon TX
Gorzicky Middle School Austin TX
Grady Middle School Houston TX
Grady Rasco Lake Jackson TX
Haggard Middle School Plano TX
hcc­sa austin TX
HCCSA Cedar Park TX
Herod ES hous­ton TX
Highland Park Austin TX
Highland Park MS Dallas TX
Hill Country Christian School of Austin Cedar Park TX
Hill Country Middle School Austin TX
Hill School Mansfield TX
Hyde Park Austin TX
Hyde Park Round Rock TX
Hyde Park Baptist Austin TX
Hyde Park High Austin TX
insti­tu­to san rober­to mon­ter­rey Mexico
ITESM Monterrey Mexico
Jasper High School Plano TX
JJ Pearce Dallas TX
Karen Wagner High school Kirby TX
Kinkaid Houston TX
Konaweana Honaunau HI
Kopperl ISD Kopperl TX
Labay Middle School Houston TX
Lake mal­oney School North Platte NE
Lamar High School Houston TX
Laura Bush Elementary School Austin TX
Laurel Mountain Elementary Austin TX
Leander HS Cedar Park TX
Lincoln Southwest High School Lincoln NE
Los Fresnos High School Brownsville TX
Lubbock High School Lubbock TX
Lutheran South Academy Friendswood TX
LWBE Austin TX
M.B. Lamar Houston TX
Madison Acedemic HS Jackson TN
Magnolia High School Magnolia TX
Manzano High Cedar Crest NM
McCallum High School Austin TX
McCollough Intermediate School Dallas TX
McNeil High School Round Rock TX
Mead Elementary San Antonio TX
Mills Elementary Austin TX
Montgomery Jr High Montgomery TX
Morris Middle School McAllen TX
Mountain View Elementary Harker Heights TX
Murchison Middle School Austin TX
New SW Middle School Austin TX
Newman Smith High School Carrollton TX
Nichols Sawmill Elementary Houston TX
North East School of the Arts at Lee High School San Antonio TX
Northland Christian Houston TX
O’Henry mid­dle school austin TX
Oak Grove High School Oak Grove LA
Oak Hill Austin TX
Paragon Prep Austin TX
Pearland High School Pearland TX
Pearland Junior High East Pearland TX
Plainview High School Plainview TX
Plano East Senior High School Garland TX
Port Isabel High School South Padre Island TX
Port Neches-Groves High School Port Neches TX
Prepa tec Monterrey Mexico
RBMS Cedar Park TX
Regents school of Austin Autstin TX
Revere High School Richfield OH
Richard King HS Corpus Christi TX
River Ridge Elementary Austin TX
Riverplace Austin TX
Rooster Springs Elementary Austin TX
Rosehill Christian School Tomball TX
Rosehill Christian School Cypress TX
Running Brushy Middle School Leander TX
saint gabriels Austin TX
San Saba High San Saba TX
San Saba Middle School San Saba TX
shi­mot­su mis­sion TX
Silve Elementary Weslaco TX
Silver Lake Elementary Grapevine TX
Sloan Creek Middle School Fairview TX
Small Middle School Austin TX
South Texas Prepatory Academy McAllen TX
Southlake Christian Academy Mooresville NC
Spicewood Elementary Austin TX
Spring Branch MS San Antonio TX
St Augustine lare­do TX
St Mary’s, Temple, TX Harker Heights TX
St Peter’s, Lincoln NE Lincoln NE
St Stephens Austin TX
St. Andrew’s Austin TX
St. Francis School Austin TX
St. Gabriel’s Catholic School Austin TX
St. Gregory the Great Catholic San Antonio TX
St. James Catholic School New Braunfels TX
St. John’s College Belize City Belize
St. Mary’s Catholic School Temple TX
Steiner Ranch Elementary Austin TX
Stratford High School Houston TX
TAFT High School San Antonio TX
TAMIU Early College Laredo TX
Tarkington High School Cleveland TX
The John Cooper School The Woodlands TX
The Khabele School Austin TX
The Kinkaid School Houston TX
The Langley School Austin TX
The Woodlands HS The Woodlands TX
Thrall Thrall TX
Trinity Midland TX
Trinity Episcopal School Austin TX
Union Grove Harker Heights TX
United Day School in Laredo Laredo TX
Vanguard Academy edin­burg TX
Vanguard Christian Boerne TX
Veritas Preparatory Academy Phoenix AZ
Vines High School Plano TX
Wagner High School San Antonio TX
Wayside Middle School Fort Worth TX
Westlake High School, Austin, TX Austin TX
Westwood Austin TX
Wilderness Oaks Elementary School San Antonio TX
William Howard Taft San Antonio TX

Where are our former campers now?

We are extremely proud of the success of our former campers.

Where Are They Now?

CurrieWood_Wallis_picWallis Currie-Wood — The Juilliard School ’14

After her time at Texas Arts Project, Wallis went on to study at The Juilliard School, per­form­ing in pro­duc­tions of Twelfth Night, The Cherry Orchard, and Buried Child. After grad­u­a­tion, Wallis appeared in The Intern (star­ring Anne Hathaway and Robert De Niro) and can be seen as Stephanie “Stevie” McCord on Madam Secretary on CBS.

Phipps_Grace_picGrace Phipps

After grad­u­at­ing high school, Grace starred in Teen Beach Movie and Teen Beach Movie 2 with The Disney Channel, and as Bee in the 2011 remake of Friday Night, the 1985 hor­ror film. She can also be seen on the ABC Family series The Nine Lives of Chloe King and in ten episodes of sea­son four of The Vampire Diaries.

Brendle_Travis_picTravis Brendle — Cincinnati Conservatory of Music — BFA Stage Management ’10

Upon earn­ing his degree in Stage Management, Travis served as a Production Manager for Norwegian Cruise Line from 2013 – 2015, and as Production Supervisor for the mind blow­ing, Broadway spec­tac­u­lar, The Illusionists from 2015 to 2017. He is now work­ing as the man­ag­er for Shows and Entertainment with Virgin Voyages, the new­ly launched cruise line by Richard Branson.

Nicole Gehring — Point Park University — BFA Musical Theatre ’10Gehring_Nicole_pic

Nicole is cur­rent­ly a free­lance gen­er­al manager/​consultant for the­atri­cal pro­duc­tions in New York City. She has worked on the nation­al tours of A Christmas StoryDirty Dancing, and Pageant: The Musical, and served as the com­pa­ny man­ag­er for Davenport Theatrical Enterprises and  PUFFS, Or: Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic and Magic.

Coy Branscum — Millikin University — BFA Musical Theatre ’15
Alexa Cepeda — Ithaca College — BFA Musical Theatre ’16
Jenna Carson — American Musical and Dramatic Academy ’16
Jacob Scott — Webster University — BFA Musical Theatre ’17
Donelvan Thigpen — 
Cincinnati Conservatory of Music — BFA Musical Theatre
Christopher Washington — 
University of Michigan - BFA Musical Theatr
Korina Lurie 
 - North Carolina School of the Arts — BFA Acting
Jenna Scott — 
Belmont University — BM Commercial Music
Lena Owens — 
Oklahoma University — BFA Musical Theatre
Keith Gruber — 
Oklahoma University - BFA Musical Theatre 
Kate Brimmer — 
Oklahoma University — BFA Musical Theatre 
Renelle Wilson -
Boston University — BFA Acting 
Jacob Oderberg - Texas Christian University - BFA Acting 
Matthew Moore - Elon University — BFA Musical Theatre
Madison Calicchia — 
New York University, Tisch - BFA Filmmaking 
Hannah Roberts — Otterbein University — BFA Musical Theatre
Matthew Kennedy — Texas State University — BFA Acting
Evan Hays — Texas State University — BFA Acting
Bailey Kearns — Roosevelt University — BFA Musical Theatre/​Voice

What do Campers Say About Scott Thompson?

Scott Thompson is a phe­nom­e­nal per­son. I have nev­er worked with some­one as ded­i­cat­ed to their craft as he, and I don’t know if I will again because I have a sneak­ing sus­pi­cion that even on Broadway, peo­ple as pas­sion­ate are some­what of an anom­aly. Scott did more for me than just teach me dance moves and block my scenes: he gave me a dri­ve in every area of musi­cal the­atre includ­ing singing and act­ing. Working with Scott was life-chang­ing, and I am ecsta­t­ic to hear that he is com­ing back. I can only hope that more of his tal­ent rubs off on me. He is one of the most skilled, hard­work­ing, and sin­cere peo­ple you will ever meet.
‑Jacob Scott

What I learned the most from Scott Thompson was that you can hon­est­ly push your­self far past your own expec­ta­tions. Before this past sum­mer I had nev­er con­sid­ered myself to be a dancer, but after 3 weeks with Scott, it final­ly did­n’t feel out of place to say that I was one. I was cast as the lead dancer in my school show this year and I know with­out his help, I hon­est­ly would have had no shot at being cast as that. Not only did my danc­ing improve but over­all per­form­ing improved dra­mat­i­cal­ly. He taught me that you have to always be work­ing for it, and nev­er let your act­ing slip for even a sec­ond when you’re danc­ing. He taught me that act­ing was the most impor­tant part of the dance.
‑Korina Lurie

TAP Camp is a won­der­ful place where the staff takes a per­son­al
inter­est in each camper. If there’s some­thing you feel you’re not as
strong in, you’ll prob­a­bly feel much more con­fi­dent after TAP. Scott
Thompson is a won­der­ful direc­tor full of life expe­ri­ence, won­der­ful
sto­ries, and just plain tal­ent! He makes rehearsals fun and effi­cient.
I learned so much from the TAP Camp staff and Scott Thompson last year
and would­n’t trade it for any­thing.
‑Lizzie Guest

Let me begin by say­ing that I can­not dance, or rather, I could not dance until I met the incred­i­ble Scott Thompson. This man lit­er­al­ly changed my life (as is the nature of every fac­ul­ty mem­ber brought into Texas Arts Project). For the three weeks the camp ran, I watched in amaze­ment as he made girls belt and turned boys into strong lead­ing men, includ­ing myself. However, in addi­tion to all of this, he gave me the oppor­tu­ni­ty I had giv­en up hope on ever receiv­ing — he gave me the chance to dance. Until this point I had been told I would nev­er dance, but “no” and “can’t” aren’t in Scott’s vocab­u­lary. This man was the first per­son to tell me I could be every­thing I ever want­ed to be, he took a chance and trust­ed me and now I am pur­su­ing a BFA in Musical Theatre at Millikin University, where I am being cast in musi­cals as a main dancer. Who would have ever known? I guess Scott did! I’ve heard peo­ple jok­ing­ly say, “TAP Camp changes lives,” but it real­ly does. Do your­self a favor and sign up for this amaz­ing oppor­tu­ni­ty.
‑Coy Branscum

From my point of view, he was the best teacher I’ve ever had the plea­sure of work­ing with. Just by the way he taught he made every­one love and learn the the­atre craft. I’ve learned way more about the indus­try in 3 weeks with him than I have any oth­er way. He real­ly pro­vid­ed the stu­dents a great relax­ing envi­ron­ment to learn the craft. He taught dance as though it was act­ing which is hard to find in some chore­o­g­ra­phers. We stu­dents weren’t learn­ing chore­og­ra­phy, but instead we were act­ing out dif­fer­ent emo­tions that just so hap­pened to have syn­chro­nized move­ment to them! I felt that he made every­one feel like they could do any­thing, if they tried hard enough. If they want­ed to be suc­cess­ful, they could do it. He was a firm believ­er in “if you want it, go and get it”. And he made every­one learn­ing from him try their absolute hard­est each chance they got, with no wast­ed rep­e­ti­tion. “Look the tiger in the eye”!!
‑Hayden Warzek