Summer@The Chateau: High School Acting and Film Program

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About

ENROLLING FOR SUMMER 2022 Plan ahead for summer 2022 and study Acting or Film with Berridge Programs. Live at the beautiful Chateau le Mont Epinguet in Normandy, France and learn your craft from industry professionals as you immerse yourself in one of France's most beautiful and historically rich regions. The Acting Program offers college-level training with classes in Shakespeare, On Camera, Musical Theatre, Directing, Audition, Improvisation and more. The Film Program guides you in making professional quality short from start to finish. The program includes guided excursions to the D-Day Landing Beaches, the medieval town of Bayeux and Mont St Michel and local trips to French markets, café lunches, bakery tours and beach days. Whether you’re contemplating being a theatre or film major, preparing for college applications, or just want to hone your skills, you’ll find a community of like-minded, supportive people at Berrridge.

Highlights
  • Live in an 18th century chateau and experience life in Normandy, France
  • Classes and workshops led by industry professionals
  • Full-length performances and film premieres showcase your work
  • Cultural excursions and optional French language learning
  • Full and partial scholarships are available for this program

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Reviews

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Alex
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A Life Changing and Unforgettable Experience (Film Program Alumni)

I went to this program when I was 16 and it was the first time that I had really done anything on my own, away from my family and everything else in my life. I was also only just beginning to get interested in the art of filmmaking.
Before coming to Berridge I had a very narrow view of the world as I had never had a strong influence in my life that pushed me towards creativity and I had no concept of what the pursuit of art really looked like. I remember being very overwhelmed when I first arrived at the chateau, however, everyone there welcomes you like you are immediately a part of this huge artistic family. By the end of the program I felt that my entire view of the world had completely changed. You are surrounded by such an authentic part of the french countryside and by artists from all around the world, and you are taught to express yourself and to be emotional with everyone there. It opens you up to this extremely profound world that was (for me at least) something that I never imagined could exist. Berridge sparked a beautiful chain of events in my life.
I am now 20 years old, and I am studying filmmaking and pursuing my art in the image of the talented and amazing people that I meant at Berridge. I still look up to everyone one of them.

What was your funniest moment?
When we did one of our trips into the nearby city, one of my friends bought a live chicken at a market. He returned it later.
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Casey
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Magical and Transformative Performing Arts Program

Berridge was such a transformative program for me as an artist and person! Staying in a chateau in the French countryside was the most magical setting to create art, make friends, and memories to last a lifetime. The artist conservatory structure of the program got me super prepared for classes at my conservatory-style college, The American Musical and Dramatic Academy, in Los Angeles, where I am almost done earning my BFA in Musical Theatre. I felt comfortable during my first semester at college because my training at Berridge prepared me for what was being taught. The staff and students are so kind, and professional, and create a strong sense of community where you can just be yourself. I highly recommend this program!

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Sara
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I couldn't have asked for a better acting program

Berridge is the perfect place to grow as an artist and person. You get to try new things every day and learn from professionals that want to help and support you throughout the process. Everyone is so invested in the work that the energy is contagious and inspiring.
The staff is very welcoming, the chateau is beautiful, and the food is delicious! If you want to make friends, act, dance, sing, meditate, sit around a campfire, this is the place to be.
Each class is so different that you will never have a dull moment.

Btw, you also get to go on weekend field trips around Normandy!

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Cheyenne
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A once-in-a-lifetime summer !

I still talk about this summer in Normandy, almost 10 years after the fact. The core classes are incredibly in-depth and rightfully challenging, and the sense of community and camaraderie among me and my classmates was unlike anything I've ever experienced! The teachers and staff are so supportive and earnest, and they are truly invested in each and every individual student. Every class was a delight. Not to mention the surrounding countryside is so overwhelmingly beautiful!! (Please go on bike rides around the area when you attend — I wish I had explored a bit more when I was there!) Spending a month in a chateau in Normandy, while receiving a conservatory-style theatre education and making excursions around the north of France, is an experience I will never forget.

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Anna
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Berridge Programs

I attended Berridge for three summers, from 2012 to 2014, and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. The first summer, I was only 15 years old, and was traveling overseas by myself for the first time. I had a history of homesickness at other programs, but at Berridge the staff was so welcoming and made sure to seek me out right away to help me feel more at home.

Compared to other theater programs, Berridge is unique in that the faculty and students are truly excellent while also fostering a completely supportive and non-competitive environment. There are no cast lists or cattiness, and the teachers truly believe that everybody is talented and deserve to express themselves. (This is not always true at other high-level theater conservatories!) They also work with you on your own projects and goals. For example, before attending Berridge, people had told me that I was a good actor, but all my characters tended to have very high voices. My voice was high in real life, and it got even higher when I projected my voice as I performed. I acted in a lot of plays in high school, but a busy rehearsal schedule doesn't leave time to work on larger problems like that, and I thought I would have to wait until I could take a voice class in college to figure out how to lower my voice. On the first day of classes at Berridge, one of my teachers gently pointed out that my voice was high because I wasn't breathing enough. Another teacher taught me about five different places I could allow my voice to reverberate from (head, nose, mouth, chest, and belly) and taught me exercises to help me access the chest and belly voices, which had previously been totally inaccessible. I still use those exercises as a warm up every time I act or do any kind of public speaking. As a result, I was able to play a much greater variety of roles in high school and college.

In my third summer at Berridge, I was an artist-in-residence, and got to create my own project. I acted in my favorite play, Proof by David Auburn, alongside a fellow classmate and three of my teachers, one of whom also directed us. It taught me so much and was such a joy to get to act opposite professional actors.

I also was introduced to improv comedy at Berridge and encouraged for the first time to feel like I was good at it. I ended up performing in an award-winning improv group at Yale. I am now in medical school and will likely be teaching medical improv next year.

It is hard for me to express how important attending Berridge was for my growth, both as a performer and a human being. From performing cue-script Shakespeare on the heart-shaped lawn to Saturday talent nights in the barn to twilight walks in the Normandy countryside, my memories of Berridge are still tinged with a warm glow 7-9 years later. It was a time when I felt extremely supported, engaged in my craft, and free to express myself without judgement. I hope to go back someday and I could not recommend it more highly.

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Milan
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A wonderful experience; would highly recommend

The five core classes (On Camera, Shakespeare, Acting Techniques, Contemporary Performance and Movement) were extremely engaging, and I learned a great deal working with a specialist in each subject. The Musical Theatre elective was fun, thorough, and wide-ranging, and, like the electives, it helped me to prepare for productions in the coming year. The community at Berridge is incredibly warm and cooperative, fostered through open mics, campfires, and excursions to Mont St Michel, Omaha Beach, and the Bayeux Festival. This helped to make these classes as enjoyable and instructive as they were, and to make my time with the program so memorable. I'd very highly recommend the program to anyone with an interest in the performing arts.

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Thomas
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A life-changing experience

I have thought about this program everyday since I got home 5 years ago. It is so scary to move overseas for a summer, but the reward is priceless. Not only was I introduced to conservatory-style theatre education, I also made friends that mean so much to me. Also, the staff is the most supportive and loving group. I left Berridge feeling more confident in my ability as an actor and as a person; it was one of the most important experiences of my life. If this program is an option for you, definitely go!

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Beatrice
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

An amazing, life changing experience

Going to France to study what I love has been one of the best opportunities of my life. There is such a variety of acting classes offered, and I still find myself using the skills I learned in them 4 years later. The staff are friendly and super approachable, this environment was such a welcoming learning environment because of this. The teachers take the time to get to get to know each of their students, and truly care about helping you grow as an artist. The people I met at Berridge are some of the kindest, most considerate people ever, and I have remained close with many of the people I met there! Getting to go on weekend field trips around Normandy is another HUGE perk of this experience, you get a well rounded understanding of the beautiful countryside and surrounding towns.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Just do it. I know, for me at least, traveling overseas alone was quite a daunting idea... but I can not recommend this experience enough, you'll be glad you went!
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