TAP camper alumnus Donelvan Thigpen, now a graduate of CCM, shares how Texas Arts Project prepared him for college auditions! Watch the video now!
At first, I was reluctant to even consider attending a summer program in-state. My 16-year-old self thought that leaving Texas for a few weeks really meant that I was getting excellent training, but I was so incredibly wrong. TAP Camp is one of the finest summer intensives for musical theatre, acting, and film, something very few intensives offer collaboratively.
At TAP, I found a home; a sanctuary full of other wickedly talented young artists all trying to better themselves. I learned how to trust myself — I learned how to truly be present and in the moment, regardless of the medium I was involved in. TAP camp instills this hunger for knowledge and improvement in every single student — something that you don’t see very often. The young artist’s purpose is challenged and strengthened at this intensive, and we truly got a taste of the business. Everything going on is fast-paced and campers learn to adapt to change quickly, a skill useful in and out of the theatre. TAP helped me understand myself, what I was capable of, and how quickly I can improve if I set my mind to it.
Through TAP, my peers and I gained all the skills necessary to successfully complete our Unified Auditions for BFA programs. In fact, one of my favorite days was when we had a “Mock Unified” experience; it truly gave us a taste of what to expect when the actual auditions came. Through this, I was accepted to The Boston Conservatory for a BFA in Musical Theatre, something that would not be possible without the Texas Arts Project.
TAP Camp does such a thorough job of making sure that each student is prepared for whatever lies ahead of them, and I am so humbled to be a part of this experience. TAP Camp is for everyone, the 16-year-old opera singer, the 14-year-old who wants to make films but has never tried, or the experienced young actor who wants to strengthen his skills — TAP Camp fosters all of these types and helps each of them blossom.
Overall, the summer of 2015 at Texas Arts Project was the best summer I’ve ever had. I will always remember TAP and all of the lessons I learned there. Thank you TAP Camp, I owe you big time!
-Sarah Cosgrove (Starting Boston Conservatory Fall 2016)
“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)
“Upon the completion of my first year of college at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, I am feeling incredibly grateful. I would not be where I am today without the theatre education I received throughout my summers spent at Texas Arts Project.
I started going to Advanced Camp when I was 14 years old, essentially preparing for college auditions since that age. I have received various amounts of material over the years there, countless songs and monologues for my repertoire, and it is because of this program that I went into every audition after with utmost confidence in preparation and in my material.
I went on to do senior camp, and it is there when I went from being more of a mover, to considering myself a dancer. I learned essential skills for picking up dance combinations quickly and learning how to act my way through it when I could not pick it up so quickly. On top of that, my dance technique developed, and with that knowledge I went on to be able to choreograph dance pieces of my own. At TAP is where I was involved in my first ever attempt at screen acting, and it is because of that introductory experience I felt confidence in film auditions and acting for the screen.
I honestly cannot think of a more beneficial program with teachers brought in from all over the country who are truly passionate about cultivating the individual artist. On top of all that, I made friends there that I will have for the rest of life, got involved in Summer Stock Austin, and was exposed to more of the Austin theatre scene. Now in attending the #4 undergraduate Drama program in the country, I must thank TAP camp for helping me get here. I recommend anyone interested in theatre, acting in college, or just looking to have a great summer register for TAP camp while you still can.” — Korina Lurie
Texas Arts Project has become the most-looked-forward-to event of the Summer in our house. This summer will be the 4th year that our daughter Josie will attend TAP camp. Her love for musical theater was catapulted after her first summer at TAP. Her experience there has given her the skills to audition, to memorize lines, and to perform on stage, all with confidence of a pro. She has made lifelong friends from all over the United States. Ginger, Kelly, and their team are all professionals with open hearts and open minds — determined to showcase your child’s talent, whatever it may be.
-Carrie Turlington (Josie’s Mom)
Katie and Stevie had a GREAT time at TAP camp. Many, many thanks to you and to all of your wonderful staff and counselors, for putting together such a great week for our kids. They had a ball and we absolutely LOVED the showcase.
-Lara Gibson (Katie and Stevie’s mom)
I am very impressed with the whole experience. Thank you for such a professional, well-run creative experience.
-Kelly Hood (Devon’s Mom)
Kathryn has already been in “you’re a good man Charlie Brown” and also made Fiddler on the Roof – the big winter musical at her HS…think only 4 freshmen made it. She is doing so well thanks to her excellent TAP training!
Thanks to Katie McDowell for this awesome video.
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|
|Chapel Hill HS||TYLER||TX|
|Comfort High School||Comfort||TX|
|Communications Arts High School||San Antonio||TX|
|Coppell High School||Coppell||TX|
|Cornerstone Connection||Round Rock||TX|
|Cy-Ranch High School||Cypress||TX|
|CyFalls High School||Houston||TX|
|Cypress Grove Intermediate||College Station||TX|
|Dickerson Middle School||Marietta||GA|
|Dripping Springs HS||Dripping Springs||TX|
|Dripping Springs Middle||Dripping Springs||TX|
|Elgin Middle School||Lawton||OK|
|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|
|Gorzicky Middle School||Austin||TX|
|Grady Middle School||Houston||TX|
|Grady Rasco||Lake Jackson||TX|
|Haggard Middle School||Plano||TX|
|HERITAGE HIGH SCHOOL||FRISCO||TX|
|Highland Park MS||Dallas||TX|
|Hill Country Christian School of Austin||Cedar Park||TX|
|Hill Country Middle School||Austin||TX|
|Hyde Park||Round Rock||TX|
|Hyde Park Baptist||Austin||TX|
|Hyde Park High||Austin||TX|
|instituto san roberto||monterrey||Mexico|
|Jasper High School||Plano||TX|
|Karen Wagner High school||Kirby||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|
|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|
|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|
|O’Henry middle school||austin||TX|
|Oak Grove High School||Oak Grove||LA|
|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|
|Regents school of Austin||Autstin||TX|
|Revere High School||Richfield||OH|
|Richard King HS||Corpus Christi||TX|
|River Ridge Elementary||Austin||TX|
|Rooster Springs Elementary||Austin||TX|
|Rosehill Christian School||Tomball||TX|
|Rosehill Christian School||Cypress||TX|
|Running Brushy Middle School||Leander||TX|
|San Saba High||San Saba||TX|
|San Saba Middle School||San Saba||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|
|Spring Branch MS||San Antonio||TX|
|St Mary’s, Temple, TX||Harker Heights||TX|
|St Peter’s, Lincoln NE||Lincoln||NE|
|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|
|Trinity Episcopal School||Austin||TX|
|Union Grove||Harker Heights||TX|
|United Day School in Laredo||Laredo||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|
|Wilderness Oaks Elementary School||San Antonio||TX|
|William Howard Taft||San Antonio||TX|
Thanks to Katie McDowell for our awesome new videos!
Thanks to Katie McDowell for our new videos!