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  • Writer's pictureIan Soares

It's Time to Create

Updated: Oct 3, 2022

Learn to harness your full creative potential through conservatory style programs. Welcome to Berridge.

Musical Theatre students performing ensemble number on stage
Musical Theatre students from Berridge 2013 perform in their final showcase.

The Beginning

It started with a barn in France. In 2008, Berridge Artistic Director Andrea Mardon created a summer program geared towards high school students who were preparing for a career in the creative arts. Inspired by a recent trip to Chateau Le Mont Epinguet in France, she decided that the sprawling French countryside of Normandy would be the perfect setting for a four week conservatory-style theatre and film program.

Framed by two palm trees and a heart shaped lawn, an elegant 18th century Chateau awaits - the ultimate sanctuary for young artists to immerse themselves in a cultural and creative "renaissance." During a students time at the Chateau, they will be given the opportunity to study with professional artists brought in from all over the world. Not only are the faculty actively working in their respective fields, they each carry heavy experience in what they're teaching. For example, Simon Purse, our resident Shakespeare specialist, was a longstanding member of the original Shakespeare Company and carries several Globe credits on his resume. Film instructor Brian Dwyer currently runs his own production company and has worked on over 60 professional projects, two of which have won substantial awards. We are excited to fully introduce you to each faculty member in the near future, but for now check out our meet the faculty section!

Weekdays at the Chateau include a rigorous batch of classes that range from on-camera technique to various styles of dance. For the film program, expect hands-on instruction in nearly avenue of film production, from storyboarding to editing. The goal is to expose students to as many different techniques and styles within their field of study so that they can be prepared for collegiate level arts programs and more importantly, a professional career in the arts.

The Now

While the COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly altered many plans for those looking for a substantial arts education, we have been working hard to ensure that our programs and experiences will still be available to students.

With that being said, we are pleased to announce that Berridge Programs is now in it's second year of offering summer experiences in the United States!

We currently offer two summer arts programs for students interested in the performing and visual arts.

The first program, "Spotlight" offers students an immersive experience, most similar to our six-week France program. Students will be asked to choose between four different majors; acting, musical theatre, filmmaking, and writing.

The second program, "Generate" is a one week intensive program that focuses solely on the creation (and premiere) of original work. Students will have access to our entire roster of faculty members to assist and train them in the creation and presentation of their original work. Students of any artistic discipline are invited to join like-minded creatives from across the country to expand their skills, build their portfolio and share their passion.

The big question is; how are these programs different from the original four-week Normandy experience? Am I missing out on something?

The short answer is; no. Our U.S programs offer the same learning experiences that you'd find at our French Chateau. Students will have access to the same faculty members and the same learning materials that make Berridge the life-changing experience that it is. While we can't guarantee the croissants will be as fresh as they are at the Chateau, or the culture as rich, we can promise you unlimited access to the stunning coastal campus of Westmont college in Santa Barbara, California. Not only will students have access to impressive dining facilities, studio spaces, and common rooms, they will truly get a feel for what college life is like- preparing them for their journey on to higher education.

Westmont College Main Campus, Santa Barbara, CA
Westmont College Main Campus, Santa Barbara, CA

Join our Family

Whether you're a prospective student, parent, or teacher, we would love to talk with you more about our programs. If you would like to get to know more about us before applying, check our blog section for weekly articles about Berridge or schedule a zoom meeting with our Artistic Director! We're all excited to welcome you to the family this summer!


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