Our son attended Traveling Players Ensemble (TPE) for several years. He made life long friends, gained tremendous confidence, and found a career direction. TPE is a wonderful experience for students. The atmosphere is encouraging, positive, and challenges the students for do their best. TPE truly is a "GREAT Nonprofit."
My son has gone to summer camp at Traveling Players Ensemble for 4 years running. He has gained incredible self-confidence, treasured friendships, and outstanding acting skills. Traveling Players is a wonderfully supportive postive experience for teens and pre-teens. The environment is encouraging and nurturing. The director, Jeanne Harrison, has an uncanny knack for knowing exactly what roles the students need for their growth and success. She and all the employees at TPE are the best! Thanks to the experiences my son has gotten from his time at TPE, he is now cast for major roles in his High School's theatre performances, and it has inspired him to want to continue with Theatre in college. We cannot begin to say enough wonderful things about this program. It is truely a gem!
I have been a student and then a staff member for TPE. As a student, it changed my life: it made me more confident because I was constantly valued by the staff and the fellow students for things I was good at (like cooking for the group on tour and on camp-outs) and encouraged in the things I found hard (speaking loudly, asserting myself). I began to feel less alone at that most isolating of times, adolescence, as I met other students who were interested in the same things as I was. I learned more from TPE about theater than from any other theater program, especially about classical theater. Particularly important was the number of people who were theater professionals with master’s degrees in directing, acting, etc. There are a great number of staff trained from the Dell’Arte institute, and this is probably the most specialized place anywhere for students to learn Commedia Dell’Arte. Our stage combat teacher is probably the most valued professional in that area in the entire DC area. We constantly had visiting artists from various theaters in DC. At the same time, once I became a staff member I particularly appreciated how much the program was designed for the personal growth of teenagers as well as their artistic development. Even the youngest staff receive an entire week of training about how to teach students appropriate to their age level, how to manage the group dynamics of the different troupes, great outdoors skills, CPR, first aid and mandatory reporting, etc.
Ultimately, the best thing about TPE is that the small groups of students bond so closely and deeply. I am still very close with many of the students I met at TPE, many more than from my high school. Part of this is a general ethos of openness and creativity that allows for play in every part of the camp. The students are encouraged to come up with bus songs, campout games, and to improvise new things to add to their performances, so that they soon do these kind of independent creative exercises without prompting. And this combination of having a close group of good friends and the freedom to explore is what made much of my childhood at TPE so memorable and what still influences me today.
I became involved with Traveling Players last year as a board member, before my daughter started attending TPE. I was floored by the enthusiasm, commitment to theatre and the outdoors and the dedication that the creative director and her team has to the kids who attend. My middle school-aged daughter is now in her second summer with TPE and absolutely loves it!
Our kids have taken classes with TPE over the years. They provide excellent acting and team building skills to their students. Our kids have build lasting relationships with the counselors and fellow classmates.
We found TPE through family friends and both of my daughters have absolutely fallen in love with the program, the people and its entire ethos. Heck, their hearts go pitter-patter at the mere site of the purple TPE bus. They have made very close friendships and have grown as people through their summers at TPE.
I became involved with TPE over 7 years ago - working each summer with the students and teaching them Outdoor Ethics. Year after year, I came back and found a group of attentive, talented, and exceptionally supportive kids who cared about others and the world we live in. I joined the board 6 years ago and have continued to volunteer working with the students, watching so many of them grow into thoughtful, capable and inspiring adults. The program at TPE is just so unique and so transformational. It really is one of a kind.
In short, TPE is the best thing to ever happen to me. It's played a huge part in shaping the person I am. The skills I've gained and the friends I've made are more than I ever could have asked for. For me, there's no place I'd rather be. The energy and the people make it the absolute greatest place in the world. I hope it continues to bring others as much joy as it's brought me. Thank you.
My daughter attended for 3 years, was a counselor for 2. My son is going back for his second summer. Both kids also took courses during the year. For both kids, this camp was life-changing. My daughter developed a passion for theater that led her to make her own short films, work as a college sophomore on films about a Ghana non-profit, and will probably include some aspect of theater or film in her professional career. She also gained immeasurable social support from the friends she made, and having a set of friends outside her highschool was really important to her. My son, who has mild expressive language difficulties, has developed the ability to express himself dramatically (I never thought I would see him stand on a chair to make a point!) and gained great social confidence as a result. Both kids also had a blast, and the quality of the performances is amazingly high. My son was in a performance of King Lear which held senior citizens with mild demential spell bound for almost two hours. I couldn't believe that high school students could perform a play so well, to such a difficult audience. The directors and technical staff are all theater professionals with advanced degrees, but the camp also is nuturturing and supportive of youth development. Now that the camp is a decade old, we can also see that many of its graduates are making careers in performace of some sort. Full disclosure--I'm so impressed by this camp that I am also a donor and considering becoming a Board member.
My daughter is a college freshman this year, and she participated in TPE classes and summer programs throughout high school. This experience was fabulous for her, truly life-changing in terms of her self-confidence and leadership ability. She also made some great friends and sees the regularly. Jeanne Harrison and her staff are incredible mentors and excellent role models! And my daughter's college acceptance letter even commented on her involvement with theater.
Traveling Players has been an amazing experience that has changed my life in numerous ways. I have learned so much about acting in such a supportive environment. At TPE I feel comfortable being who I am. On the first day I was really nervous but by the end of my four weeks I had made many friends who I really value. They are all really friendly and understanding. TPE has made me feel confident about who I am and I feel comfortable acting at TPE. Last summer was my first summer at TPE but even in that short amount of time I have grown to be a better actor and a better person.
I have not spent as much time with Jeanne Harrison as many of my fellow campers but the time I have spent with her has been amazing. She directed me in Wolftrap remount when is which we revisited our play from the summer and presented it at the Wolftrap International Children's Festival. Jeanne was a marvelous director and really spent time with each cast member, valuing their ideas and opinions. Toby Mulford, Associate Artistic Director is also great to work with. He is really encouraging and really funny. He is a blast to work with!
The staff at TPE are so dedicated and caring. They seemed so delighted to be at TPE and it showed. It was really great to feel valued at an individual. TPE has been so much fun and a great learning experience.