Doug's Drama

Operated By: 
Doug Cole
18 participants
dougsdrama65 [at]

Parent Q&A

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  • Experience with Doug's Drama Camp?

    (2 replies)

    Anyone have recent experience with Doug's Drama Camp @ Montclair School? My child is five so this will be her first year in camp. She loves performance art and so I really like that this is a two week long experience. I'm curious about the adult/child ratio, how the day is structured, how the staff do discipline, whether or not it's a loud & chaotic environment...

    Other recommendations are welcome. We're in Oakland. Thank you!!

    We loved it for the following reasons. Doug is very nice and easy going with the kids, the plays are not too serious -- lots of room for fun and silliness which is great at making the kids comfortable on stage -- which is a biggie! Once they've overcome that hurdle, the acting skills then take shape. Doug is great with molding that all. It's a great place for the creative drama types! And it's been great for my kind of shy and easily embarrassed son, who generally doesn't want to do ANY camps unless he knows someone, except for Doug's. He doesn't care if he doesn't know anyone, he just has fun and loves it!

    My 2nd grader has gone for the past two summers and LOVED it. I would describe the atmosphere as relaxed and silly. They have a good amount of free play time but plenty of organized practice and fun storytelling/ drama games. It seems to work well for a range of temperaments. 

Parent Reviews

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'Shake Rattle and Roll' is for 11+ year olds and up in Joaquin Miller Park in Oakland. Both my 15 year old and 12 year old sons started as soon as they were allowed -- at age 11.  They cook their lunch on campfires they make themselves (learning how to start a fire and build a safe one are part of what they learn), learn to carve wood with knives, make bows and arrows from natural materials, learn about local botany and what is edible, learn some archery.  They absolutely love this day camp and insist on participating at least a few weeks every summer still.  I can say it has even changed their lives in terms of them wanting to learn how to make things themselves and to have responsibility and passion for the outdoors. Although a few more boys than girls sign up, there are plenty of girls, too. This camp has an amazing history in Oakland Parks and Rec and is an absolute hidden gem of summer camps. It is also just ~$275 per week, 9 am - 3 pm, so half or almost half the price of many other day camps and yet I feel it is as good or better than almost all the other camps I've sent my kids to (Chabot, Galileo, SummerQuest, Cal camps). And, with so many other camps opening up in the past 5-10 years, it is also quite easy to get a space even at the last minute (or at least this has been the case the past 3 years, except for the advanced bowmaking week, which often fills up early)... I would think one could get there by AC Transit; the kids go throughout Joaquin Miller, Roberts and Redwood Parks but they meet at the Ranger Station on Sanborn Dr for drop-off and pick-up.  Reasonable after-care is also available (but the pick-up for that is up top closer to the Roberts pool).  Sometimes OPR is a little late getting information on the web and it may not show up until March.  If you want, you can call the Rotary Nature Center at (510) 238-3739 (who run it for OPR) to get information before it may appear online.

If the outdoors isn't your daughter's thing, another option our younger son did for several summers was Doug's Drama Camp ( in which campers perform in original plays. Sessions are 2 weeks. Doug is great in directing the children and providing a fun and joyful experience for all. And the price is very reasonable -- again, about half the price of many other camps my kids have attended.  

Archived Q&A and Reviews

May 2011

My 6 yr old daughter really wants to participate in some kind of theatre/drama camp this summer. We are interested in trying out Doug's Drama - - but wonder if anyone else has had an experience with this camp.

My son went to Doug's Drama last summer and had a great experience. He was 6 and the play was just perfect for him. There was lots of comedy, action, adventure and fantasy and he had a ball. The production was terrific and the parents seemed to all love it.

Doug is a marvelous teacher and great with the kids and so was his assistant Jessica.My son also loved the stories that Doug tells. He is a gifted storyteller and my son would come home and tell me his stories from beginning to end.

We are returning this summer for sure! raj

Narnia Playhouse Theater Camp

March 2007

I was wondering if anyone has had any experience with the Narnia Playhouse theater camp as I couldn't find any reviews in the archives. How are the days structured? Were you happy with the overall quality of the experience. How much rehearsing/memorizing did you have to do at home? Would you do the camp again? Thanks a lot! Andrea

My son and daughter (ages 11 and 9) have attended the Narnia Playhouse Theater Camp for the past two summers, and they have also participated in Doug Cole's after-school drama classes at Redwood Heights School for numerous sessions. They have always enjoyed the camps, classes, and plays and have asked me to make sure to sign them up again (except my son is now over the upper age limit). My impression has been quite the opposite of the previous reviewer -- my kids and their friends have had a lot of fun in the classes and plays. The emphasis is on everyone having a good time and participating, so parents looking for lots of professional actor training and super-polished productions may not find it their cup of tea, but I am certainly planning to sign my daughter up again this summer -- and I know she'll keep reminding me until I do so. kjohlson

My son has gone to the Narnia Playhouse Drama Camp twice and has loved it. He also takes classes from Doug Cole during the school year and enjoys these a lot. The plays Doug does are wonderful- funny, creative and meaningful. The bottom line is the kids seem to really have fun and the productions are quite together.

I noticed one posting from a dissatisfied parent. Doesn't even sound like the same camp my son attended! After the performance, I heard many parents saying how much they enjoyed the production and how much their child enjoyed the camp. dre89

Mr. Cole, the director of the camp, is a wonderful, creative, gifted, and very kind teacher. We only have wonderful things to say about him and his camp. Over the years my step-children have attended his camp or taken after school classes. They rave about him and his camp. They've also developed passion for both theater and story telling, thanks to Mr. C, as the children call him. We highly recommend it. rivovo