History & Mission

Over the years, Acting Manitou has maintained its commitment to creating an exceptionally tight familial environment for campers to take great artistic leaps and undergo personal transformations.


Acting Manitou was founded in 2003 by Tim Brownell and Steve Borowka. At the time, Tim and Steve were both teaching artists working for The McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton, NJ. During the summer, Steve worked as Theater Director for Camp Manitou, a boy’s sports camp, while Tim split time directing for The Imagination Stage in Washington DC and running Middle Ground Theater, the day camp that he founded in Middlebury, Vermont.

In the summer of 2003, Tim and Steve joined forces to found Acting Manitou and took up residence at the end of the summer at Camp Manitou. During the first summer of operation, the program had 11 campers most of whom came from Vermont. The following summer the program doubled in size to 22, then 30 campers the summer after that. Its fourth summer of operation doubled again to 60 campers and its fifth summer, the last at Camp Manitou, enrolled 80 campers and produced five shows. In the summer of 2008, Acting Manitou took up residence next door to Camp Manitou, at a brand-new performing arts campsite called Camp Eastwood.


In planning the design of the new campsite’s theater, Tim and Steve created a versatile and intimate thrust stage, capable of putting audience members in close contact with the performers, as well as offering directors a variety of opportunities for flexible staging. These days, the actors perform for standing room only crowds of family, friends, and local residents of the Waterville community.

Our Mission

To produce high caliber theatrical performances in a nurturing, ensemble-based environment that supports each camper’s individual artistry. Our campers put on fantastic shows, with people they grow to care very much about and respect even more. Every camper is an important piece of the production. We believe in compassion for others and passion for theater. We offer campers three OR six weeks ‘unplugged’, where they can make great theater surrounded by nature, in the beautiful state of Maine. We seek to create an artistic haven for our campers and staff, free of external pressures. Campers at Acting Manitou grow as both people and performers, developing confidence in themselves and important skills of collaboration and communication.

The Camper's Job:

  • Support and inspire others
  • Challenge yourself creatively
  • Be a good friend to all
  • Work tirelessly on your performance
  • Take care of yourself and others
  • Commune with nature
  • Fall in love with your play
  • Make lifelong friends
  • And take joy in all you do.