Dates: June 11-15, 2017

For students completing grades 6-12

Say YES to Improv and Comedic Acting Camp! A week long course in Improvisation and Comedic acting in the beautiful atmosphere of Shell Lake will provide students with a safe space to develop a new performance skill and actively create each day. Myth buster: improvisation is not about being funny. In fact, that is the most common misunderstanding about the discipline. There are rules to learn and adhere to when studying improv. The most important concept and a major focus of Improv and Comedic Acting Camp is the principle of agreement, or, saying “Yes”. In our week-long class, students will gain proficiency at being able to say “Yes, And…” This honors the idea that everyone in the group has something to offer. Improvisation is a specialized skill that requires voracious reading, a sharp vocabulary, willingness to commit to physical acting, keen listening skills, and the ability to truly play. Students learn to be team players. The art of improvisation is rooted in supporting the person you share the stage with and working for the good of the scene. Amber Dernbach’s Improv and Comedic Acting Camp mantras are that all students will grow to learn and love, “There is no ‘I’ in improv” and “Nothing Can be Anything”. Amber’s students learn to train their brains to focus only on the moment being played. They learn how to cite world events and local politics in the same breath. They learn how to forge a community out of mutual labor and respect. Comedy, or being funny, is a by-product.

Camp Fee: $565 if received by March 1st, 2017

                    After March 1st, Camp Fee is $595

Instructor: Amber Dernbach

See Full Bio Here

Daily Schedule

8:00 a.m. Each morning following breakfast students will begin the day with play.

Creative, cooperative, team-building games.

Large group movement to music.

Teacher-directed brain, vocal, and physical warm-ups.

Commedia dell’ Arte and mask work

9:30 a.m.

Teacher directed close readings of local, state, national, and international headline news. 

10:00 – 10:15 a.m. break

10:15 – 11:00 a.m.

Improv Foundations. Exercises that teach and foster the guidelines of improvisations.

11:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon

Short Form Improvisation (this is the form of improv that has a structured beginning, middle, and end. Short form improv is game-based. Think Whose Line is it, Anyway?) 

Noon -1 p.m. lunch

1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Principles of sketch comedy. Each day we will devote one hour to viewing, analyzing, and discussing classic sketch comedians like Sid Ceaser, Imogene Coca, Lucille Ball, Ernie Kovacs, Carol Burnett, Tim Conway, Harvey Korman, Charlie Chaplin, and more. An academic look at classic sketch will hone the beginning improviser’s sense of timing.

2:00 – 3:00 p.m.

Monday – Wednesday during this time we will work on Short Form Improv. On Thursday and Friday we will explore Long Form Improv, which is narrative based with the potential for recurring characters. During this time each day we will also pay special attention to listening to and working with an audience.

3:00 – 3:30 p.m.

Each day will end with guided journaling in response to questions the teacher will pose to students.


Additional Information

Questions? Feel free to contact us for any additional information.

Accommodations ~ Residence halls are available for the duration of the camp session. The residence halls are supervised by a professional counseling staff on duty 24 hours each day and meals are prepared under the supervision of a state-approved dietitian. If you are interested in a commuter option, please contact the Center. Participants provide their own transportation to and from the camp.

Registrations ~ are accepted until the camp is full. Students may be placed on a waiting list if desired. A camp packet is sent after receipt of registration form. You may register by mail, phone, fax, or online. Please see registration form for more details. All cancellations must be made in writing and received 3 weeks in advance of the start of camp. A $50.00 processing fee will be deducted from your refund. No other refunds will be provided without 3 weeks notice. All refunds will be processed at the end of the camp season.

Fees ~ Our student camp fee is $595.00, which includes tuition, room and board. Please refer to the registration form for complete details on fees. Half payment is due with each application, with the balance due upon arrival at camp.

Scholarships ~ Each year, the Arts Center raises funds for the scholarship program. If you are interested in applying for an Arts Center scholarship, please contact the Center at 715-468-2414 or visit our website at

Check-in/Check-out ~ Students will complete camp check-in the first day of camp. Please refer to your specific check-in times included in the camp packet. A completed medical form report, signed by the parent or guardian, must be presented at registration. This form is included in your camp packet and is available on our website. Camp packets are mailed to you when we receive your camp registration.

Arts Center Bucks (Referral Program) ~ If you attended one of our camps in previous years and plan to register again this year, you are eligible to participate in our referral program. You can receive a $25.00 rebate by referring a new camper. The person you refer will receive a free t-shirt upon their arrival at camp. Past campers, please find your Art Center Bucks enclosed in your brochure. Your referral rebate will be activated once you and your referee both attend camp. All rebates will be processed at the end of the camp season.

Additional Information ~ To request disability accommodations, or other special requests, please contact the Center two weeks in advance of camp. More information about camp and all of the opportunities available at the Shell Lake Arts Center can be found on our website.

Participants are admitted without regard to race, color, national origin, age, or handicap.  Shell Lake Arts Center is an inclusive organization, and we accept all artists and musicians.