Camden Rep tells the truth no matter how painful or embarrassing.
we strive to be the voice of HER story.
Camden Rep was founded by Desi P. Shelton, a Camden, NJ native, in 2005 and initiated their inaugural season in August 2006. While working on her MFA at Sarah Lawrence College, Desi noticed the urban female voice was missing from the theatrical canon. Upon returning to Camden, residents began building on her premonition expressing to her they were not welcome at the local university venues and did not have an artistic home nor outlet in Camden, thus leaving their stories untold. This prompted Desi to begin Camden Rep. After encouragement from her Executive Director at the Walt Whitman Arts Center, Pamela Bridgeforth, she branched out and launched Camden Rep initially under the umbrella of the Walt Whitman Arts Center. In 2008, the organization stepped out on faith, clipped their wings, and began soaring independently.
The main stage season operates from September-June utilizing the summer months to focus on training and developing serious pre-professional young artists. These young artists also prepare for college auditions and receive assistance with the application process. Although the focus is on Camden City youth our success has attracted students from the entire Camden County region. The company also conducts intergenerational arts workshops during the summer where artists range from 8-80.
Since 2006 Camden Rep continues to successfully make monumental strides: touring in Panama; creating an alliance with Bridgeton’s Youth to Youth; assisting students in obtaining scholarships to two of the top music programs including Oberlin Conservatory and Berklee College of Music in addition to Florida A&M, Morgan State University, University of the Arts and Temple University.
Camden professional and community artists and the citizens are the primary focus of the work of Camden Rep. However the high artistic aesthetic continues to attract people from the Delaware Valley because minority artists can consistently obtain and develop their work at the company.