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Summer Camps

Registering for an Epic Youth Academy 2023 Summer is now closed!


Drayton Entertainment Youth Academy Summer Camps give like-minded youth a chance to have fun, meet new friends, and build life-skills while learning about the exciting world of Live Theatre!

By studying material from age-appropriate musicals each week, performing arts participants gain fundamental training in singing, movement, scene work plus Master Classes, and Special Guest Mentor Workshops. We also offer a Technical Production Week for teens who want to learn more about making behind-the-scenes magic. Technical students will study set design, building and painting along with workshops in stage management, wardrobe, props, lighting, sound and more!

Summer Camps will run from 9:00am – 4:00pm. with complimentary early drop off available at 8:30 a.m. and late pick-up until 4:30 p.m. 

Cost: $395 + tax

Family Discount: 10% discount for each additional member of the immediate family from the same household.

Multi Class Discount: 10% discount for each additional summer session attended by the youth/teen.

The Summer Camps will be held at the Drayton Entertainment Youth Academy at 145 Northfield Dr. Waterloo.



The Drayton Entertainment Youth Acadamy is honoured to announce our 2023 Virtual Mentor,
Tony Award-winner, Ali Stroker.

ALL Summer Camp participants will be invited to attend a Virtual Q&A with
Ali on Thursday, July 20, 2023 at 1:00pm at The Academy.

Ali Stroker is a Tony Award winner for her role as ‘Ado Annie’ in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! She made history as the first actor in a wheelchair to appear on Broadway in Deaf West’s acclaimed 2015 revival of Spring Awakening. She’s a series regular in the Netflix series, Echoes, and starred in the Lifetime holiday film, Christmas Ever After. Ali recurred in the final season of Netflix’s Ozark and is recurring in Hulu’s Only Murders in the Building. She co-wrote the 2021 novel, The Chance to Fly, and she wrote the 2022 children’s book, Ali and the Sea Stars. She played ‘Lady Anne’ in the Shakespeare in the Park production of Richard III. She’s performed her one woman show all over the country, some of her favorites being the Kennedy Center, Town Hall, Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall. Her mission to improve the lives of others through the arts is captured in her motto: “Turning Your Limitations Into Your Opportunities.”



In-Person Mentor – Lee Siegel, currently playing Tom Collins in Rent (Stratford Festival) performed on Broadway in Paradise Square, and previously as Simon Zealots in the Des McAnuff/Stratford Shakespeare Festival production of Jesus Christ Superstar. Drayton audiences will remember Lee as Javert in Les Miserables, Mitch in Spelling Bee, John in Miss Saigon and Big Jule in Guys and Dolls. Other credits include Hawker in The WHO’s Tommy (Stratford Festival), Old Deuteronomy in Cats (Neptune Theatre), and Smokey Joe’s Cafe (Stage West Missisauga). Lee’s Debut Album: “Where’s The Orchestra” is available on iTunes, spotify, and CdBaby. com @Lee_Siegel

WEEK 2 & 3

In-Person Mentor – Jodi McFadden, originally from Kitchener, Ontario, has appeared on Broadway in Moulin Rouge!, The Band’s Visit and Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark. Drayton audiences will remember her as Velma Kelly in Chicago as well as their productions of Little Me, Oklahoma!, Evita and Anything Goes. She spent four seasons at The Stratford Festival and can be seen on screen in Schmigadoon, Bollywood/ Hollywood and the Oscar-winning film, Chicago. @jodimcfadden



Virtual GuestZachary Noah Piser most recently appeared on Broadway as Brad in KPOP after being the first Asian American actor to play Evan Hansen in Dear Evan Hansen (Broadway) and Boq in Wicked (Broadway). He was the original Evan alternate in Dear Evan Hansen’s international premiere in Toronto. Off-Broadway credits include Barrow Street Theatre’s West End transfer of Sweeney Todd (Tobias), Adventurephile, and Mad Libs Live. Regional: Row (Williamstown, world premiere), Heart of Rock & Roll (Old Globe, world premiere), Godspell (Marriott). PBS’s “Camp TV” series. Zach is a Chinese-Jewish Bay Area native and proud Northwestern grad. @zach_piser

Virtual GuestGregg Barnes

Mean Girls, Legally Blonde and Aladdin Costume Designer, Gregg Barnes has just been nominated for his 9th TONY Award for Some Like It Hot and will be joining us as a virtual mentor for our Technical Production Summer Camp week for teens!

Mr. Barnes’ Broadway credits include: Some Like It Hot (2023 Tony nom.) Pretty Woman, Mean Girls (2018 Tony nom.), Tuck Everlasting (2016 Tony nom.), Something Rotten! (2015 Tony nom.), Aladdin (productions in Japan, Australia, London, and Germany), Kinky Boots (2013 Tony nom., 2016 Olivier Award), Follies (2012 Tony Award, Drama Desk Award, Henry Hewes Award), Elf, Legally Blonde (2007 Tony nom., 2010 Olivier nom.), The Drowsy Chaperone (2006 Tony Award, Drama Desk Award, Outer Critics Award, Olivier nom.), Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Flower Drum Song, (Tony nom.), Side Show, Bye, Bye, Birdie, To Be Or Not To Be. Dreamgirls West End (2016 Olivier nom.).


Virtual GuestVanessa Sears, originally from Deep River, Ontario is currently on Broadway as the Francine Evans Standby in Kander and Ebb’s smash hit musical, New York, New York. She is a multi-award-winning artist known to Canadian audiences for her appearances in King Lear (Queen Goneril), Is God Is (Anaia), Caroline, or Change (Emmie), Passing Strange (Edwina), Mary Poppins (Mary), and Kinky Boots (Nicola). At the Stratford Festival, she appeared in Troilus and Cressida (Cressida), Little Shop of Horrors (Ronette), Billy Elliot (Mum), and Why We Tell The Story and the Shaw Festival in An Octoroon (Zoe), Grand Hotel (Flaemmchen), and The Magician’s Nephew (Polly). Vanessa holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Theatre Performance from Sheridan College. @vanessa_sears


“Because of the acceptance and inclusivity he experienced at the Academy, we really felt that we had gotten our son back after a long season of very difficult times. The Pandemic was particularly hard on him and we believe he finally found his place and his people. Thank you for your leadership and passion.”

“The building is such a welcoming space and really feels like a second home to my child! Everyone was so friendly and kind throughout the weeks and super welcoming to the parents too. We’ll be back! Also, very fair price for the program provided.”

“Thank you for doing a technical theatre camp!! My teen loves the world of theatre but has always known that their place of comfort is not centre stage! We will be back and continue to spread the word about what a wonderful place it is.”

“My child loved each and every one of the virtual guest speaker workshops. Learning from these incredible, professional actors and hearing their journeys and advice was really inspiring. All of a sudden, things seem possible for her in new and exciting ways. I can’t thank you enough.”

“Learning from different choreographers was an incredible experience. Each of them has their own way of teaching and engaging with the students. Different dances on different difficulty levels really challenged the kids in the best way. I feel the cost reflects the fact that you have professionals teaching the kids. So it may be higher than other programs, but it’s totally worth it.”

“As a parent… WOW on the well thought out, executed spaces! The wardrobe room was the our favourite…made our jaws drop to the floor many clothes and time periods. Like learning in a museum. Bravo!”

THANK YOU to everyone who attended our 2022 Drayton Entertainment Youth Academy’s Summer Camps. We were thrilled to offer over one hundred students the chance to have fun, meet new friends and gain skills in the performing and technical arts. 

Performance students, aged 8-18, built on the fundamentals of singing, scripted acting, improv and movement by learning production numbers, solos, scenes and monologues from a different, age-appropriate musicals each week. 

Technical students received hands-on training in sound, lighting, painting, carpentry, props, stage management and wardrobe with highly experienced specialists in each field.

All of that, plus a stellar line-up of virtual mentors including Jason Robert Brown and many Broadway stars.

Our 2022 Summer Camp Virtual Mentor and Speaker Series

ALL students enrolled in ANY of our three weeks of Summer Camp will be eligible to participate in ALL of the following extraordinary virtual Q&A events.

Jason-Robert-Brown Headshot

2022 MENTOR: Jason Robert Brown
Friday, July 8 2:00pm via Zoom

JASON ROBERT BROWN is best known for his dazzling scores to several of the most renowned musicals of our time, including the generation-defining The Last Five Years, his debut song cycle Songs for a New World, and the seminal Parade, for which he won the 1999 Tony Award for Best Score. Jason’s dynamic performances as a pianist and singer have gained him a worldwide following, and his solo albums have positioned him as a trenchant and heartfelt voice for our time. His other musicals include the Tony Award-winning score of The Bridges of Madison CountyHoneymoon In Vegas, and 13, which has been made into a film debuting this summer on Netflix.  Jason’s songs, including the cabaret standard “Stars and the Moon,” have been performed and recorded by Ariana Grande, Jennifer Nettles, Audra McDonald, Kristin Chenoweth, Billy Porter, Betty Buckley, Renée Fleming, Jon Hendricks and many others. His newest musical, Mr. Saturday Night, written with Amanda Green, is currently playing on Broadway at the Nederlander Theater, starring Billy Crystal.

Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy


Our Speaker Series includes Karen Burthwright (Paradise Square), Benjamin Pajak (Winthrop in The Music Man), Hailey Lewis (Rose Granger-Weasley and young Hermione Granger in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child), and Claybourne Elder (Andy in Company).


Karen Burthwright
Tuesday, July 12 at 11:00am via Zoom

KAREN BURTHWRIGHT is currently appearing on Broadway in Paradise Square. Previous Broadway/ New York credits include Jesus Christ Superstar (Ruth), Disenchanted (Princess Who Kissed The Frog US/ Dance Captain), I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change (Woman 2), and Play Like A Winner (Janet).  Karen won the Best Supporting Actor Merritt Award for her portrayal of Shug Avery in The Color Purple at Neptune Theatre and was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Evie Award for playing Shug Avery in a subsequent production at the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre.  Chicago: Sweet Charity (Nickie), Ragtime, Hot Mikado, and Aida. Regional/Canada/1st National Tours: Sousatzka (Swing/Dance Captain), Cabaret, Smokey Joe’s Cafe (Brenda), Jesus Christ Superstar (Soul Sister), Dirty Dancing (Featured Female Vocalist), Hairspray (Dynamite), Mamma Mia! (Lisa.)


Benjamin Pajack

Benjamin Pajak
Friday, July 15 at 2:00pm via Zoom

BENJAMIN PAJAK is currently playing Withrop Paroo in The Music Man on Broadway, with Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster. Early theatrical credits include Charlie Brown, in You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, (UPAC)  and The Magic Mirror, in Mirror, Mirror (BKA productions).  He has enjoyed a leading role, Christopher, in the short film, Where It’s Beautiful When It Rains (2022), written and directed by Harley Chamandy.  A highlight for him personally was when his E*trade commercial was featured in the 2021 Super Bowl, and his football team, The Buccaneers and Tom Brady,  won!  Benjamin has been nominated for Best Breakthrough Performance for and Best Featured Actor, for All 21 debut performers, including Benjamin, were honored with the Best Ensemble Award, at The Theater World Awards, 2022.  This September, he will appear in a cabaret performance at the acclaimed, @Feinsteins/54 Below, entitled, When I Grow Up.  Benjamin is blessed to have the two best teachers around, Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster, to help navigate this new world. He credits his team – his acting coach, Keith Grumet, and agents Barry Kolker and Bonnie Shumofsky Bloom, with his success. 


Hailey Lewis

Hailey Lewis
Tuesday, July 19 at 11:00am via Zoom

HAILEY LEWIS is currently playing Rose Granger-Weasley and young Hermione Granger in the Mirvish Theatre production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Hailey grew up in Burlington, Ontario which sits on the Territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit, Treaty 3 ¾. She trained in various styles of dance, both recreationally and competitively, for 15 years at Burlington Dance Company, as well as performing in Burlington Student Theatre’s Summer Performing Arts Camp. She is a graduate of the Sheridan College Musical Theatre degree program and a two-time Triple Threat Award recipient. A proud member of CAEA and ACTRA, Hailey has performed in musicals such as: Hairspray, Grease, Sousatzka, Anne of Green Gables, Mamma Mia! and more, in theatres across Canada. She loves working with kids and has taught at her home studio (BDC) for the last 9 years, was a dance tutor at Sheridan College as well as Associate Choreographer for their production of Spring Awakening. Hailey feels that teaching is truly a selfless act, and is her way to give back, inspire and spread love and light.


Summer Camps Faculty

david connolly

David Connolly
Director of Education

David Connolly is the Associate Artistic Director of Drayton Entertainment and Head of the Youth Academy. He is a Director, Educator, and Disability and Inclusion Advocate who is deeply committed to changing the statistic of being the only amputee to have performed on Broadway. He has collaborated with artists including Katy Perry, Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, Elton John, Sarah Jessica Parker, kd lang, Patti LaBelle, Sarah Brightman and many others.

As an Educator, David has been an Adjunct Professor and Advisor to the Musical Theatre Performance Programs at Sheridan College, Randolph College, Fanshawe College, St Lawrence College, VanderCook College and most recently, the Hopkins Centre for the Arts at Dartmouth College. While on the faculty at the famed Stagedoor Manor Performing Arts Training Centre in New York, his students included Natalie Portman and Bryce Dallas Howard.

David holds an Honours Bachelor Degree in Musical Theatre Performance from Sheridan College, is a recipient of The Ontario Premier’s Award of Excellence, The Waterloo Region Arts Award for Lifetime Achievement, and an Ambassador for both The War Amps’ Child Amputee Program (CHAMP) and The Shriners Hospitals for Children.

For Drayton Entertainment, he helmed over thirty productions including the Canadian regional theatre premieres of Kinky BootsPriscilla Queen of the DesertMamma Mia! and Newsies. For the screen, David has directed and choreographed several series for CBC Kids including their newest live action series, “Ukulele U.”

Darryn deSouza

Darryn deSouza
Music Director

As the Music Director for the Canadian vocal supergroup, The Tenors, Darryn has shared the stage and worked with many legends: Paul Anka, David Foster, Celine Dion, Michael Bolton, Harry Connick Jr., Kenny G, Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, and Stevie Wonder, to name just a few. He also has spent time with and performed for many world & creative leaders, including Barack & Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

As an educator, Darryn has pioneered vocal and theatre programs around the province including the Milton Youth Theatre Productions, the Studio School of Dance, Brampton Theatre School, Yellow Door Theatre, and Centre Stage Conservatory, pushing creative programming and a teaching method for student toolkit and confidence building.

Besides being a gifted communicator, Darryn connects and builds strong rapport with young artists looking to grow and understand how to improve their craft through meaningful and responsible mentorship.

Conduct Policies

Please refer to our DEYA Code of Conduct to familiarize yourself with our conduct policies prior to the start of camp.