Workshop sparks young thespians

Summer theatre camp provides training and skills to young participants

The cast of Kids on Broadway

Participants  aged 8 – 18 entered the West Fraser Timber Room, July 7 and 21, very excited to be a part of the Musical Theatre Summer camp – Kids on Broadway, the Return of the Glass Slipper.

Once name tags were handed out, the clinician Katherine van Kampen began a series of theatre games, to hear voices and give out roles, some  specially written for the younger participants; everyone had a line to say.

A bit of drama ensued when the Prince was not found; how could Cinderella function without a Prince? But one showed up to Tuesday rehearsal, knuckled down and learned lines and choreography (even how to waltz) and saved the show.

Costumes were started; offerings from local Tickle Trunks, frantic searchings at the thrift stores and back home, gradually the villagers and various characters took shape. Of course the Royalty should have lovely crowns and tiaras, the Fairy Godmothers needed wands and the stepsisters needed goofier stockings.

Lines were memorized in a hurry, reminders of where each character was to stand were whispered; volunteers helped back stage, a handy dad painted Cinderella’s chimney and an obliging brother hung a backdrop, assistants Katie van Kampen and Danielle Nicholsen helped with learning lines and songs, dance steps, making sure everyone got on and off stage at the right time and then Katie had to become one of the characters when illness prevented Sir Edward from continuing in his role.

The West Fraser Timber Room was turned inside out to create the stage; the audience sat at the far end and the foyer and hall and kitchen space became the backstage/green room – worked very efficient.

New friends were made, experiences shared, the older participants were great role models for the younger ones, helping with lines, tucking in and pinning costumes where necessary. Then the excitement of dress rehearsal on day five, in the morning. A good run-through and the director was pleased.

Then it was time for the performance. Emily Eggert-Botkin played piano and the music swelled, a grand audience sat in awe as the small company presented a fine version of the Cinderella story in one hour.

The Quesnel and District Arts and Recreation Centre is an excellent facility to use for such projects, accessible by bus and for wheelchairs. Dunrovin Lodge and Maeford Place had special invitations and the residents really enjoyed their outing.

The week finished up with a pizza party for all the participants and helpers (one small boy “N” ate seven pieces, thanks Panago) and the clean-up was all done, the room quiet and dark again by 3:30 p.m.

The Quesnel and District Community Arts Council, Children’s Concert Committee is celebrating the successful completion of the first part of our Theatre camp project. Thanks to the B.C. Touring Council’s grant, the cost to participants was greatly subsidized and with in-kind donations of labour, food and lodging, the budget is in good shape to proceed to the second installment planned for Spring Break of 2015.

– submitted by

Cathy Heinzelman

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