Texas Arts Project | The Long Center for the Performing Arts

Texas Arts Project Exclusive — Q&A With Instructor Nick Mayo

With the summer coming up quick (look out, April—it’s practically May!), the Texas Arts Project sleepaway camp for performing and media arts is waking up from its deep sleep and excited to welcome talented young performers, actors and filmmakers back to its stage. We caught up with this year’s head of acting, Nick Mayo, for a little update. A Broadway actor himself and Juilliard School graduate, Nick has a lot to say about TAP camp. Spots still available—register now!

Nick Mayo | Texas Arts Project | The Long Center for the Performing ArtsWhat was your first theatrical experience?

My first theatrical experience was a production of Peter Pan  at the local community theatre in San Antonio, TX. I was eight years old and it was magical. My first (professional) theatrical experience was the Broadway production of The Ritz by Terrence McNally.

You also teach with the College Audition Program students. Is there any advice you would give to younger students interested in theatre?

Study technique. See as much theatre as you can. Read tons of plays. Listen to tons of musicals. Know the history of your craft.

MOST IMPORTANTLY: Become curious about many different subjects. Read books, study world history, have deep and meaningful friendships, ask your grandparents tons of questions, eat spicy food, and travel. You are your instrument and can only be as interesting as the experiences and life you’ve led.

What is a typical day for a camper at TAP camp?

Acting, singing, dancing, filmmaking… The students at TAP camp are trained in multiple artistic disciplines by industry professionals and thought leaders in the field of arts education.

Being at TAP camp is like stepping into an alternate universe. The students enter a world where they are surrounded by like-minded, talented, passionate, driven, and compassionate peers and instructors. They are motivated to work harder, dig deeper, push themselves further, and stretch their skills. Each student receives a conservatory-style training program that is focused on the growth of the individual artist.

Each student can expect to receive a great deal of technique through their training in multiple disciplines. They are asked to implement these techniques into their rehearsals. The students are treated like professionals and are held to extremely high standards.

Students should expect to work hard, play hard (!), make lasting friendships, and leave the summer with a greater appreciation for their individual artistry and an expanded confidence in their craft. The transformation that I witness in the students from day one of TAP camp to the end of the summer session is truly remarkable. The students stand taller, are more confident in their skin, speak clearer, and greet challenges with bravery after their time at TAP camp. It is an absolute joy to witness.

And… the process is so much FUN. The joy and laughter in the room is outrageous!!!

Why is something like TAP camp important?

Oh, my goodness. Opportunities like TAP camp are so important to the development of great artists and good citizens. Programs like TAP camp stress the importance of two very vital skills–Commitment and Community.

The students are asked to commit fully to the work in the studio and rehearsal room. They work together to inspire commitment and push each other further. They work outside of class together on scene study, choreography, and musical parts. Each time they approach the work they are investing in their commitment to themselves, the work, and each other. Practicing this muscle of commitment is such an important part of development.

Seeing the students discover and embrace the power of community is one of the most important parts of TAP camp. Students start the summer nervous to perform in front of their peers and a bit hesitant to open themselves up to the new friendships that await them. Over their time together they realize that they are stronger together and that this safe place for discovery comes from creating and nurturing community. They become a community and see the value of themselves within the community of campers. It’s a stunning thing to watch and leaves the students with an elevated understanding of the potency and power that comes from building communities.

Texas Arts Project (TAP Camp) has quickly become a proven leader in the world of performing and media arts education. Learn more about how an amazing faculty of nationally recognized experts guides our young artists on the path to excellence in musical theatre, acting and filmmaking. Financial aid available—please visit here for more information.

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