Summer at the Center

Celebrating its 32nd year, Summer at the Center has been designed to empower high-risk high school students through active participation in a rigorous two-week program of musical theater classes conducted by professional artists. This unique, nationally recognized program was founded in conjunction with the late Dr. Maurice Allard, who believed in the power of the performing arts as a critical and authentic means to developing self-esteem and building confidence. This extraordinary program continues using the same basic model, achieving its original goals which make a profound and memorable impact on the lives of hundreds of youth in our community.  

One of the strongest outcomes of the program is the strong influence it has had on participants' lives. Many participants have become new peer role models for other students. One school official observed a student's experience at Summer at the Center provided the motivation to succeed in other subject areas and go on to graduate high school.  

Summer at the Center has been presented by Segerstrom Center for the Arts' Education Department as an ongoing collaboration between the Orange County Department of Education and its Alternative, Community and Correctional Education Schools and Services (ACCESS) division for the past 31 years. As part of this five-unit high school fine arts course, students receive instruction and coaching in vocal training, dance, improvisation, audition techniques and stagecraft, with a special emphasis on how these presentation skills translate into success in life outside of the theater.

Upcoming performances

Summer at the Center 2024 performance dates and times coming soon!

Summer at the Center performances are FREE and open to the public. 

Summer at the Center 2023 Performance

Watch the 2023 Performance

Enjoy a performance by the cast of Summer at the Center 2023, many of whom had never sung or danced in public before. 

Watch the 2021 Documentary

To celebrate 30 years, Segerstrom Center for the Arts produced a new, documentary short film. This film gives you an in-depth look at the 2021 rehearsal process, allows you to hear from the participants themselves in exclusive interviews, and features a portion of their performance.

Summer at the Center celebrates 30 years

Summer at the Center participants are selected through the Orange County Department of Education's ACCESS program and participation is not open to the public. If you have questions regarding the program unrelated to participating, please contact us at


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