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Time to act

Carry on camping

Where?

Anglia Summer Schools Theatre Performance Holidays.

Who goes?

Eight to 19-year-olds who want to see their names up in lights.

Amenities?

There are two venues, both boarding schools during term time: New Hall in Chelmsford, and Essex and Holmwood House in Colchester. They each boast a theatre, sound and lighting systems, movable auditorium and tiered seating. And if treading the boards gets too much, campers can tread water in the swimming pool or play on the tennis courts.

What will they learn?

Far more than they thought, probably, and increased self-confidence not least of all. Although many youngsters come wanting to act, they will also find themselves dancing, singing, or learning skills such as mime, voice projection and improvisation.

There are classes on stage craft and management, make-up and how to get through auditions. And everyone gets the chance to contribute to the end-of-week show which is performed before a live audience.What will they live on?

"Plenty of good food", according to the brochure. Three meals a day, plus snacks. Most special diets can be catered for, but only if requested at the time of booking.

What goes on when the sun goes down?

One evening will be spent on a theatre trip, when the budding starlets will find themselves in the audience of a professional production. Studies normally carry on until late in the day, and students are then left to their own devices, to relax and watch a video.

Lodgings Small dormitories, some with cubicles, grouped by sex, age and any existing friendships.

Keeping in touch There are telephones throughout the premises, and parents can call when they want to. A course administrator has a 24-hour mobile phone for emergencies; children can phone home at any time.

Getting there Anglia Summer Schools don't make travel arrangements as a rule, but they will meet a train or coach and provide free transport to the centre. Alternatively, they can arrange for an escort for a student from any London mainline station or airport. But this costs extra and needs to be booked at least a month before the holiday.

What does it cost?

There are three six-day courses, which each cost Pounds 295 (all inclusive) and are grouped according to age: 8 to 12-year-olds (August 17-22); 12 to 16-year-olds (August 10-15) and 16 to 19-year-olds (August 17-22).

And if they hate it...

They won't. In 17 years only two have gone home early. But if yours happens to be one of them, there are no refunds.

janette wolf Contact: Anglia Summer Schools, 15 Inglis Road, Colchester, Essex CO3 3HU. Tel: 01206 540111

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