Virginia Commonwealth University
Virginia Commonwealth UniversityVirginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts
VCUarts is ranked #1 among public art schools by US News & World Report


VCUarts SUMMER PROGRAMS presents Theatre Arts Intensive (TAI), a three-week residential program offering the finest professional training of its kind. Designed for high school students interested in developing their passion for theatre, students will spend seven to eight hours daily swashing swords, belting out showstoppers, acting for TV and film, and learning make up design techniques.  Under the watchful eye of some of the nation’s most renowned master teachers, TAI provides training for the curious, the interested and the professional yearning to develop their talent in a safe and nurturing environment. Instructors are selected for their professional success as well as their ability to inspire and teach their passion to the next generation of theatre artists.


July 13th – August 1st

  • Acting for the Camera” 9:00 – noon
  • Lunch 12:00 – 12:45 pm
  • Musical Theatre” 1:00 – 3:15 pm
  • Stage Combat” 3:30 – 5:15 pm
  • Make Up Design” 7 – 9 pm
  • July 21st, 23rd, 24th, 28th and 29th.


      Acting for Camera
      Barry Bell – Instructor

      • Please prepare one monologue (2 minute limit) from a contemporary play. Select a piece that is in your age range and life experience. Be prepared to present your monologue to the class the first day.
      • You will start working on camera during the first class. Please dress in a professional manner.
      • Please bring something to access U-Tube.
      • Bring warm up clothes.


      Musical Theatre
      Patti D’Beck – Instructor

      • Please bring sheet music from Broadway musicals for a ballad, an up tempo piece and a song of your choice to work on in class.
      • Bring a tape recorder and a tape, or some type of a recording device.
      • Bring a water bottle and dress to move.
      • Wear either tennis shoes or dance shoes.

      Physical Movement/Stage Combat
      Brad Willcuts – Instructor 

      • Please dress to move.
      • Close fitting gloves and tennis shoes are necessary.
      • Do not wear jewelry.
      • Bring water bottle.

      Five Evenings:
      Make Up Design
      Maura Cravey– Instructor

      • This course will explore basic character make up for the stage. Students will learn about color, texture, and line as it pertains to changing the look of the face, i.e. old-age make up or twin likenesses.
      • Students are expected to come to class with little or no “street” make up.

      Instructor Bios:

      David S. Leong is chairman of the Theatre Department at Virginia Commonwealth University. He currently holds the title of Certified Fight Master, a distinction held by only ten other people in the United States. Feature films include Titus starring Anthony Hopkins and Jessica Lange, and Alien Resurrection starring Sigourney Weaver and Winona Ryder. David’s fight direction and movement coaching has been seen on Broadway in Carousel, The Rainmaker, The Civil War, King Henley II, Company, Picnic, Hamlet, Macbeth, Solitary Confinement, Sex and Longing, A Delicate Balance, The Homecoming, and In the Summer House. David has also choreographed or directed fights and/or movement for Val Kilmer, Marisa Tomei, Kevin Spacey, Mary McDonnell, Tom Berenger, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Joan Cusack, Tom Hulce, Stacy Keach, Christopher Plummer, and Harry Hamlin among others.

      Patti D’Beck is a veteran of 13 Broadway shows including, Annie Get Your Gun, Bells are Ringing, Grease!, The Will Rogers Follies, My One and Only, Evita, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, A Chorus Line Pippin, Seesaw, Applause, and pre-Broadway original musicals Busker Alley and Easter Parade. Patti also choreographed the opening number for the 1997 Tony Awards for Rosie O’Donnell. Patti has worked with many Broadway directors and choreographers including Tommy Tune, Bob Fosse, Michael Bennett, Jeff Calhoun, and Graciela Daniele. She has personally coached Brooke Shields, Reba McEntire, Jon Secada, Bernadette Peters, Tommy Tune, Sandy Duncan, Susan Lucci, Keith Carradine, Marla Maples, Lucy Arnaz, Rosie O’Donnell , Lucy Lawless (Xena the Warrior Princess), Liza Minelli,, and Marilu Henner, to name a few.

      Barry Bell has been a member of the Screen Actors Guild for the past twenty-seven years. He has worked in Feature and Independent Film, Television Series and Film, Commercials and Industrial Film. His resume includes; guest-starring roles on Matlock, Walker Texas Ranger, I-40 Paradise, Dawson’s Creek, Legacy, American Gothic, HBO’s From Earth to the Moon, John Adams, The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles and the British Television show The Professionals. On film he has appeared in Maximum Overdrive, Morning, Bruno, Reuben-Reuben, Doomsday Man, Radioland Murders, Trick or Treat, One of Her Own, The Perfect Daughter and three dozen other TV and Feature Films. Barry is currently an Assistant Professor in the VCU Theatre department where he teaches Acting for Stage and Film, and Directing for the Stage. Mr. Bell is also a member of Actor’s Equity.

      Maura L. Cravey teaches Costume Design, Theatrical Makeup and Wig Design in VCU’s Theatre Department.   She is a graduate of VCU Theatre Department with an MFA in Costume Design and Technology.  Her teaching experience in costume design and makeup includes Virginia Commonwealth University, Murray State University, University of Virginia, and Fashion Design at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College.  In addition to designing all of Swift Creek Mill Theatre productions, her designs have been seen at the Nevada Ballet, Las Vegas, NV, Dogwood Dell, Firehouse Theatre Project, African American Repertory Theatre, Ft Lee Playhouse, Yellow House Productions (film), Sibiu Theatre Festival in Romania, Theatre IV, Barksdale Theatre, Virginia Union University, SPARC, Richmond Shakespeare Festival, Blue Ridge Theatre Festival, and the Richmond Community Theater Guild.   She has received a Phoebe Award for Best Costume Design from the Richmond Times Dispatch Newspapers and the award for Best Costume Design in a Musical for the United States Army’s World Theatre Festival.  Her designs for Urinetown were nominated for Best Costume Design by Richmond Theatre Critics Circle.  Maura is an active member of SETC and USITT.

      Brad Willcuts is a current MFA graduate student majoring in Movement Pedagogy at VCU. A long time musical theatre performer, Brad has been performing professionally all over the United States and England for the past 14 years as a singer, dancer, actor, choreographer and director. Before graduate school, Brad worked as Education Director of the Power House Theatre in Washington State, where he facilitated, created and ran a Shakespeare workshop featuring multiple stage combat classes for over 5,000 high school and middle school students. Most recently while at VCU, he has played Corny Collins in Hairspray, worked with theatre department chair David Leong as assistant movement director for Mother Courage and her Children with Kathleen Turner at Arena Stage, and choreographed VCU’s spring main stage show Arabian Nights.

      Comments from 2013 Students:
      “I’ve refined my stage combat and dancing techniques and learned some of the various intricacies of acting for the camera.”
      “I’ve improved my audition skills and now know how to connect with my emotions.”