French Woods Festival of the Performing Arts

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French Woods Festival of the Performing Arts is a performing arts summer camp owned by Ron Schaefer and co-owned by his daughter, Beth Schaefer and Isaac Baumfeld, and founded in 1970.

It is located just outside Hancock, New York, on a private lake known as Sand Pond in the western Catskill Mountains. The camp is approximately two and a half hours from New York City and is between Monticello and Binghamton. French Woods offers summer camp programs in dance, theatre (including technical theatre and musical theater), music, rock and roll, circus, magic, visual arts, skateboarding, sport and horseback riding, and in 2008, 2,400 children attended the camp, over some 12 weeks. According to New York Times,"Stagedoor Manor and French Woods, along with the Interlochen Center for the Arts, in Michigan, are considered the gold standard of theater camps."[1]


Each camper designs their own schedule, with 3 major activities and 3 minor activities each day. Majors are done every day for three weeks at a time, whereas minors are chosen daily.

The winter office is located in Coral Springs, Florida.

Notable alumni[edit]

Notable parents of French Woodites[edit]

In popular culture[edit]

  • Camp'd Out: I'm Going to Performing Arts Camp is a documentary television movie running on MTV that debuted April 25, 2009. The film follows several aspiring Broadway stars as they endure nine weeks of competitive drama at French Woods Performing Arts Camp. The movie was filmed Summer 2008.[1]
  • Scenes of Episode 17 (Season 9) of MTV's MADE were filmed at French Woods during the summer of 2008. The show featured Alex Mills, who wanted to be made into a skateboarder.


Coordinates: 41°55′02″N 75°11′04″W / 41.917112°N 75.184400°W / 41.917112; -75.184400