By Zach Dunkin
From the 3-year-old who wants to hear fascinating stories and enjoy snacks with other 3- and 4-year-olds to the 6-year-old who wants to memorize a few lines and play a role in a short performance to the teenager who wants to hone his and her skills for a possible career in dance, song and theater, Junior Civic’s summer camps offer youngsters the opportunity to learn a few things about this thing called “show biz.”
“These camps are for anyone and everyone,” said Holly Stults Haas, Civic’s education program director. “We get kids who are novices – maybe they’ve done a school or church play, but nothing formal. We get kids who are new to this and aren’t overwhelmed. And we have seen kids who hone their skills in classes every summer. Somehow you can put them all together and it works. It’s the magic of theater.”
The June and July camps are divided into three age groups:
- There’s the Fairy Tale Players camp for 3- and 4-year-olds. In the 1 ½ hour, four-day morning classes, the youths bring a snack for story time and spend time indoors and out using their imagination to bring stories to life.
- In the Storybook Players for 5- and 6-year-olds, the children are exposed to music, art, and theatrical activities prepared just for them. During the four-day, 2 ½-hour classes campers create props and costumes that will help them create their very own adventures for a “show” in the last class.
- The all-day, weeklong Junior Civic Musical Theatre class is the most advanced. Sixty campers start and end the day together, but in between they are separated into their specific age groups of 20 by ages 7-9, 10-11 and 12-14. They spend equal time, singing, dancing and acting. At the end of the week, the entire group performs on the Tarkington stage for family and friends.
“They learn that they really can do great things without being the Broadway star,” said Stults Haas. “We talk about the fact that somebody has to design the lights, design the costumes, and sew the costumes and more. Theater is more than about acting. You learn certain life skills.
“All of the camps provide an opportunity for the kids to think as individuals, to become better listeners and to develop creative and communication skills.”
Registration begins on March 1, and Haas says the camps fill quickly. For more information about specific times, dates and costs call 853-6317 or visit www.civictheatre.org.