Welcome to Berridge Programs

Berridge Programs

Why choose Berridge Programs?

Berridge offers gap year and summer high school arts programs in Normandy, France based in an 18th century French chateau. Since 2008, we have empowered young artists from around the world with an expanded sense of self and confidence in their unique artistic voice. We offer small, student-centered programs with individual mentorship from a caring faculty of professional artists across all artistic disciplines including Film, Theatre, Studio Art, Music, Writing and Design. Our programs combine college-level curriculum with a study abroad experience with a view to widening our student's perspective on the world and opening out possibilities around their artistic practice. Whether preparing for college, pursuing a career in the industry, or just wanting to build new creative skills, Berridge offers a community of supportive teachers and peers in one of Europe’s most stunning regions.

Founded
2008

Reviews

Default avatar
Katie
4/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Actor's review of Berridge

Berridge is a great opportunity to figure out if acting for stage is the path for you while you decide on what to do after high school. I can not express how WONDERFUL the acting (including some of the film) staff were. I can only speak on behalf of my acting experience but this is an acting basics program. This is not the place if you are looking for an intense, advanced program. If you're just starting out, absolutely do it, no questions asked. It's a great experience culturally and to make connections. But is not for an actor who is looking for a pre-professional program. I also worked with some of the film students and teachers and would recommend the film program but can't speak on behalf of studio art. Have specifics of what you want and don't want when you do interviews, ask questions, and do your research!

Pros
  • AMAZING faculty! So supportive and encouraging. Make sure to speak up for yourself and ask for want you want, they will try their best to accommodate and execute the best outcome
  • Super cool outings!! Things like coastal views and beaches, a French play and bread making!
  • Great place to stay. The Château has comfortable beds and living rooms and much to be explored
Cons
  • Not challenging
  • Workshops usually fell under the "studio art" category. As an actor that just wasn't something I was too terribly interested in
  • Some outings would be repeats and there was only so much you could do in the same town
Default avatar
Sarah
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Berridge

I had such a good time on this program. The faculty were so fun to work with. They all pushed me to keep learning and trying new things while encouraging me to be more independent. I started the program wanting to experiment with light painting. None of the faculty members had a lot of experience, but a few faculty waited till it was dark and we all experimented together. The results turned out pretty cool. I also was able to experiment with new forms of cameraless photography, jewelry making, developing film, and even making a magazine. This program has helped me create a more experienced portfolio.

Default avatar
Zachary
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Berridge - a fantastic 3-month adventure

The Berridge Program opened my eyes to how teamwork and collaboration not only allows for converging opinions to form a creative project, but also boosts creativity. Meeting friends with similar creative interests, I could not have asked for a better environment to learn, film, and explore - especially in a foreign country. I would recommend the Berridge Gap Year program to anyone who is looking to expand their creative horizons and wants to get out of their comfort zone and learn about various creative fields in a beautiful place.

Default avatar
Levi
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Berridge is awesome

The staff and kids are really dedicated in the projects that they are working on. The food is great, the housing system is really cool. I do wish that the two houses could interact more, as each house only holds 13 students, and we did most of our socializing at night because we were so busy during the day. Overall, I learned a ton and made a bunch of new friends. You also get to be in the middle of nowhere France, which is amazing because you get real French culture and you get to get away from your day to day life. It is definitely what I would search for in a gap year experience.

Pros
  • The staff are dedicated
  • The students are nice
  • You are in France, and get to have a minute to breathe
Cons
  • The houses couldn’t interact much
  • I wish I got to do more morning workshops, being in film you don’t get to do that many
  • I wish they gave us more freedom in Paris
Default avatar
Honora
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Berridge Summer Theatre and Film Program

My summer at Berridge could not have been a more enriching, enlightening, and enthralling experience! Three weeks in a chateau in Normandy, France surrounded by like-minded creatives and artist mentors sounded like a dream, and it was indeed. Despite having done theatre my entire life, I learned a staggering amount of new skills and got insights into the acting business that enhanced my overall understanding of the art and my own performances. Collaboration was a focal objective of the program, and it quickly delivered in the many introduction exercises we did to initiate the program. The trust and excitement between both returning and new Berridge participants made bonding easy, and because of that, the work we were able to present was powerful and uplifted. I learned the importance of feeling empowered as an artist. At Berridge, we could really hone in on our artistry without the cut-throat/ inherent competitive nature of the industry. Of any program I have done this one felt truly like a group effort in which everyone just wanted everyone to do their very best. People were able to bring what they uniquely had to the table and were celebrated for it. It is unusual to be in an environment so supportive. It really enabled everyone to improve and enjoy their work without the pressure to “be the best”. We were given a variety of tools to work with in the classes we took, and it’s nice because there is not one specific approach to it. You are able to take what works for you and implement it into your own process. Again, having this autonomy over your own work and being able to embrace your singularity is vital in a creative environment. In terms of achieving the quintessential summer intensive goals, Berridge hit all the marks. First and foremost, we were procuring new skills for our own acting purposes, and I'd have been satisfied with just this because it is specifically an acting intensive. However, in addition to that we were exploring Normandy, making new friends, making new connections, eating good food, getting a dorm-life experience, managing our time, and so much more. I wasn’t sure what to expect entering the program in late June, and when reflecting on my 3 weeks there I can see that it exceeded anything I could have dreamed. I cannot recommend the program highly enough. Andrea is able to draw in such wonderful groups of people and create a safe and exciting place to be.

Programs

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Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Duane Daniels

Job Title
Acting Teacher
Duane Daniels has had a professional acting career on stage, TV, and film for over 30 years. He was a series regular on Veronica Mars. Duane has won the Drama-Louge Award, ACT Award, Patte Award, and the Blitz Award. He logged over 3000 performances of Triple Espresso in venues from San Diego to Dublin.

What is your favorite travel memory?

The first time I ever traveled to France was to teach for Berridge. I had done a bit of traveling but hadn’t seen this part of Europe. And then I arrived at the
Chateau le Mont Epinguet! It was a welcoming, vibrant, creative
environment, with amazing food, and a job I could believe in! I only knew a few
staff members before arriving but had made life-long friends by the time I
finished my first year.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

For me, personally, it has given me faith in the future. I came into Berridge after 3 years on a TV show and 10 years and 3000 performances of a stage show so I was tired and maybe a bit jaded. Berridge gave me the opportunity to connect with the future generation of artists and thinkers. These young people were every bit as brave, driven, and aggressively compassionate as I had been when I was starting out as a hungry young artist. It gave me faith that the creative work we do is vitally important and the next generation will carry on changing the world, making it a better place. And do it better than my generation ever did! I am so grateful to have learned that lesson.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

I’ve been teaching at Berridge for twelve years and each year 1/3 our student body returns. So there are a lot of memories of these young performers and creatives. There is one student who attended twice that comes to mind. In her first year, she seemed lost. She was extremely talented but seemed unsure about herself and unfocused. . She returned for a second summer and was completely transformed. She was humble, disciplined, and driven, and showed an amazing work ethic. Her performances had become riveting, fully professional. On the final night, she told me that she had been thinking about the lessons she had learned the first year and that the experience had marinated since she left. She told me she was so grateful and wanted to come back and do it right.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

I would love to go on Creative Semester. A whole 10 weeks in France creating, studying, collaborating, getting work experience and eating French food? Sign me up! There was really nothing like this when I was young. I would have jumped at the opportunity to combine travel with meeting creative people from all over the world and it would have really helped my confidence and career.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

Our company has a wonderful “can-do” attitude. We support the students in
such a variety of ways; through filmmaking, theatre, dance, Shakespeare,
Improv… the list goes on. One of the moments of which I was most proud:
A student wanted to attend our program but wasn’t interested in acting. She
wanted to be a costumer. So, our Director, Andrea - who has professional
experience with costuming - created a costume shop! She dedicated a
large room on the campus and brought sewing machines, mannequins,
fabric, accessories; everything one would need for a costuming major. The
student created costumes inspired by “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and
the whole program attended her Fashion/Design showing at the end of the
program. It was an amazing example of the individual care and attention
offered to every student.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

Trust. Most of the staff at Berridge have been working as a team for over a
decade. The fact that there is virtually no turnover in staffing is a testament to
two things: Andrea’s innate ability to hire the right people, and the
satisfying, fulfilling job we are lucky enough to do in this energetic, magical
place. Another plus is the ratio of students to staff is about four to one. No
student gets lost in the shadows, every student has opportunities to shine.

Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Katie Royer

Job Title
Associate Director
Katie is an actor, writer, and film producer in Los Angeles, CA. She came to Berridge Programs as a student in 2008 and returned every summer until she was hired! She is now Associate Director of Admissions, working hard to give students the amazing experience she had on Berridge.
Katie R.

What is your favorite travel memory?

I remember the first time I ate an eclair in France. It had chocolate pudding inside and I remember thinking, "this is the best thing I have ever eaten!" I thought it was particular to that bakery- but turns out all eclairs in France are made with chocolate pudding! That's the first time I really got what's so special about French food, the care with which it is made, the quality of the ingredients, and the pride they take in preparing it.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

I started at Berridge as a student and anyone who saw me as a sixteen-year-old, and now, always tells me that I have changed! Berridge offered me a connection to my art and myself that has influenced all aspects of my life- from my writing, producing, filmmaking, right back around to my work with Berridge. I definitely would not be who I am today without Berridge.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

It's hard to pick one, but one I have heard quite a lot is "it was the first place I felt like I could be myself". I feel that way about Berridge too so that means a lot to me to hear someone else say that and know that I'm a part of making that happen for someone else. I also hear a lot of stories around students feeling that Berridge transformed their confidence and how they feel about themselves. That means so much to me.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

I would love to go on the film program in Ireland! The filmmakers/staff involved are so talented, and I would love to be able to explore that medium in Cork. It's such a special, unique city and some fantastic film is coming out of Ireland at the moment. It would be such an amazing experience to make films there with Brian Dwyer, our film teacher.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

We really do care about the student's experience as an individual. I think that's something that really sets us apart. We want each student to have the experience they want to have, and we are always curious about finding out who each person is as an artist. I am proud of our team every time the students perform. Especially after the writing workshop showcases, where I can see how the teachers unlocked the inner worlds of each student, helped them find their unique voice, and now they're up there on the stage making me laugh and cry.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

Authenticity, and heart. We really believe in what we do. None of us need to be there, we could all keep on with our professional lives, but we do it, not only because we love it, but because we deeply believe that providing this sort of space for young artists is important. I also think one of our strengths is being so approachable when we are at programs. The faculty and staff live amongst the students and we become like a family during our time there. The faculty are always there to coach, rehearse or work on projects with students, they don't drift away into some staff zone where you don't see them until the next day!

Professional Associations

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