Study acting and discover Shakespeare on BADA’s Midsummer Conservatory Program for 16 – 18 year olds.

This three week summer programme at the University of Oxford, immerses students in Acting, Voice and Movement classes along with Cultural Studies in Shakespeare’s time. Here, students develop their skills in the acting process, analysis, and critical thinking, which will also help to meet the challenges of applying for college or drama school.

The programme is based in University of Oxford’s St John’s College, which is centrally located on St. Giles’; it’s numerous quads and large gardens offer peace and quiet in the middle of the city.

In 2022, the programme will run from 12 July – 2 August.

  • Applications for the 2022 Midsummer Conservatory Program are closed. Applications for the 2023 Program will open in January 2023.

    If you’d like to be notified about future MCP sessions, please sign up for our mailing list.

  • About the Audition

    Auditions for the 2022 Program will be held live in-person or live via Zoom and will take place in March.

    Please prepare two monologues to be memorized:

    • One from Shakespeare (please make sure that your Shakespeare piece is in verse)
    • One from a contemporary play of your choice.

    You have four minutes in total for the two monologues. You will also be given a Sonnet to read cold during the audition.

    For a list of Audition dates, click here.


  • We guarantee an admissions decision by early April.  Please be patient as this year presents some added difficulties.  You will absolutely hear from us one way or another.  Admissions decisions are distributed via the Get Acceptd messaging system.


About the Midsummer Conservatory Program

  • The Midsummer Conservatory Program is an intensive three-week programme of Acting and Shakespeare Cultural Studies. Classes are held 9:00 AM -6:00 PM five days a week. Most evenings will be used to learn lines and rehearse with their scene partners.

    Students will explore:

    • Acting Shakespeare Through Text This class focuses on how the language works to develop and support the character through looking at sonnets and in-depth scene study
    • Acting Shakespeare Through Character This class explores Shakespeare’s characters from a range of perspectives using both modern and traditional techniques. ‘Character’ is examined through action, physicality and psychology whilst experimenting with interpretation and style
    • Cultural History Discover the Age of Shakespeare and the origin of Elizabethan text. You will see performances at The Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon and Shakespeare’s Globe in London
    • Movement Provides insight into the body’s responsivity & dynamism. Work links movement to voice & breath, ensemble work & the importance of stillness, simplicity & generosity in performance
    • Voice Each class will start with group work, leading on to individual work within the class. Students will learn not only their own development but that of their fellow students by exploring the breath, projection and communication – all of the fundamentals of safe voice production in order to aid being fully supported on stage
    • Tutorials one-to-one sessions with Faculty
    • Meetings with the Dean

    For information about applying or any questions regarding the Midsummer Conservatory Program, please contact:

    Jennifer Rockwood
    T: 212203 6956

  • Weekends
    Throughout the programme, students on the Midsummer Conservatory Program will have a variety of excursions, master classes and group activities planned for them, including at the weekends.

    The weekends will also provide students with some free time to explore the historic sights and museums of Oxford as well as for learning lines, rehearsing together and preparing for the week ahead.

    Meals will not be provided in St. John’s College on Saturdays and Sundays giving students the opportunity to try the wide variety of shops, cafes and restaurants around Oxford.

    For the planned day excursions to London and Stratford, students are provided with a food allowance and suggested cafes and restaurants (where BADA staff will also dine).


    Open Day
    The work on the Midsummer Conservatory Program course builds to an Open Day where the students share their new found knowledge and work developed throughout the 3 weeks. Families and other guests are welcome to attend Open Day.

    The Royal Shakespeare Company at Stratford upon Avon and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London are just two of the theatres visited during the programme – each including a day trip for exploring.

    Students have Masterclasses in Physical Theatre and Stage Combat delivered by leading British practitioners in these fields, along with actors and directors.

  • Accommodation

    Accommodation is provided within the St. John’s College Campus and consists of a private room for each student with shared bathroom facilities on each floor.

    Students are supervised by two experienced chaperones who also reside in St. John’s College for the duration of the Midsummer Conservatory Program; they are on call night and day to ensure the students have the best possible experience.

    Students attending the Midsummer Conservatory Program must adhere to BADA’s code of conduct at all times and follow the instructions given by the Deans of BADA, the Programs Manager and the chaperones.

    BADA runs a strict no alcohol policy on this programme. No participant, regardless of age will be allowed to drink alcohol while attending the programme.


    BADA’s Midsummer Conservatory Program is based at Oxford University’s St. John’s College, which was founded in 1555 and lies in the heart of Oxford. The college is ideally located and only a 10 minutes’ walk from the Oxford Railway Station and 5 minutes’ walk from the Gloucester Green Bus Station.
    Oxford is one of Europe’s great university cities and contains many of England’s most sublime and beautiful buildings and hosts some of its finest and most historic museums as well as beautiful parks and meadows for our summer programme participants to explore.

    St. John’s becomes BADA’s home away from home during the Midsummer Conservatory Program and offers a comprehensive range of facilities as well as easy access to Oxford’s rich and historic attractions, including the world-famous Ashmolean Museum just up the street.

    The BADA Office is located in St. John’s College’s Campus, close to the student accommodation and classes and masterclasses take place in several rooms across St. John’s College.

    Breakfast, lunch and dinner, Monday to Friday, are provided for all students at St. John’s College. There will also be an afternoon tea on Open Day and the Farewell Dinner which will be held in St. John’s College’s Hall.

    The College also has extensive gardens and numerous quadrangles including the stunning Canterbury Quad, and acres of gardens which are perfect for a relaxing walk or quiet reading of your Shakespeare texts.



    Please note that BADA is an organisation which contracts with St. John’s College for the use of facilities for the duration of the Midsummer Conservatory Program, but which has no formal connection with The University of Oxford.

  • The Midsummer Conservatory Program’s faculty features distinguished artists from British theatre. To learn more about our Faculty, please visit our Faculty page.

  • We welcome applicants ages 16 – 18.

    Participants must have turned 16 prior to the start of the course (no later than July 1). Prospective applicants who will turn 16 after July 1 should wait to apply until the next application cycle.

  • The 2022 Midsummer Conservatory Program fees were:

     Application Fee
    (non refundable)
    Tuition $3,250
    (including a single private room and breakfast,
    lunch and dinner Mondays-Fridays at St. John’s College)


    Students will be notified within four weeks of their audition whether or not they have been accepted. On acceptance, in order to hold their place, applicants will need to pay a non-refundable deposit of US$500, which is deductible from the fees payable.

    All fees are payable in US dollars. Please note, in addition to the fees payable to BADA, participants are responsible for their own airfare, ground transportation to and from the airports and spending money while on the program (including the purchase of meals at weekends).

    Please contact Helen Ainsworth at  hainsworth@bada.org.uk should you wish to settle the fees in UK Sterling so that an appropriate rate can be agreed.

    Midsummer Conservatory Programs Refund Policy

    A deposit of $500 is required on acceptance, which is non-refundable. Fees paid in excess of the $500 deposit are refundable if BADA is notified prior to 15 May 2022. No fees are refundable after this date.

    If the program is canceled by BADA due to circumstances beyond our control, all fees, with the exception of the application fee, will be refunded. BADA accepts no responsibility for personally incurred expenses such as flights or pre-booked ground transportation.

    Financial Assistance

    In a typical year, funding from the BADA scholarship fund is available to assist accepted applicants in defraying the costs of attending the Midsummer Conservatory Program.  These awards are based on need, as indicated on the application, and merit, as shown in the audition.  Unfortunately, due to the ramifications of COVID-19, awards for those applying in 2022 will be extremely limited.

    Although BADA by no means wants to discourage applicants from applying, we do feel it is important that applicants for summer 2022 understand the realities of the current situation.  If you would like to discuss scholarship funding prior to submitting an application, please feel free to contact our Summer Programs Admissions Coordinator, Jennifer Rockwood: jrockwood@bada.org.uk.

    BADA is a not-for-profit organisation committed to attracting as broad a range of students as possible and so we encourage students to apply to us directly for financial assistance.

    Awards from the BADA Scholarship Fund are allocated on merit, as shown in the audition and IF the applicant has expressed a need for financial assistance to attend one of our summer programmes in their application form.

    Allocation of these awards will not be made until AFTER all admission decisions have been finalised.
    While BADA is committed to making its training accessible to all students, the BADA Scholarship Fund may not, in all cases be able to provide the award that matches the exact expressed need of each applicant.

    Fees for BADA’s summer programmes are not eligible for payment under the federal loan system nor do they qualify as higher education expenses under the 529 plan. Unfortunately, BADA is not in a position to assist in the retention of any additional outside grant or loan assistance.

    Fee Protection Insurance

    BADA suggests that, if you are offered a place on this program, you should seriously consider the benefits of taking out a fee protection plan. If for any reason you cannot start or complete the course, insurance would alleviate if not eliminate your financial loss.

    Various insurers offer Fee Protection Insurance; BADA does not recommend one above another nor does BADA recommend a particular type of coverage.

  • Each year, BADA offers two scholarships to the Midsummer Conservatory Program donated by the Norman Ayrton Scholarship Trust. Established by the bequest of BADA’s first Dean, Norman Ayrton, the Trust works to advance education in the arts. Norman believed that all talented students should have access to the highest-quality drama training and established the Trust so that financial need is not an obstacle to attending the Midsummer Conservatory Program.

    The scholarships underwrite both the Tuition and Accommodation fees for the program.

    To apply, MCP applicants must express need for financial support on their application. All students who do so will be considered for a Norman Ayrton Scholarship. Scholarship determinations are made based solely on the audition.