May 24, 2007


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Putting the camp in camp
Young thespians can choose from a wide range of summer drama camps
By Heidi Masek

Drama camp around here might not mean the quintessential cabin in the woods near a lake. However, there are plenty of choices for stage-crazy kids or serious teens.

The Acting Loft educational theater in Manchester is friendly to families who need all-day kid care. They offer discounts for siblings and for those who sign up for all three two-week musical theater sessions: “The Ugly Duckling,” “Alice in Wonderland” and “Adventures of Peter Pan.” Days run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and the building is open from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Plus, the camps can be deducted as child care expenses. Financial aid is available for Manchester residents. Acting Loft accepts campers from age 5 through twelfth grade, with space for 30 per session. Alex Basbas, Caitlin Ducharm and Caitlin Cole teach.

Majestic Theatre’s summer camps have unique topics because campers from the previous year help choose them. Hence, kids can participate in “Electric Youth: a retro ’80s musical journey,” “Movie Mania: the music of the movies comes to life,” “Mysteriously Majestic: two weeks of mystery, music and magic” or “Rock Star: be the next idol rock star.” Last year, kids helped pick Disney, Shakespeare and twisted fairy tale themes, Karen Bessette, development director of the Manchester community theater, said. Kids ages 8 through 17 can apply for the mostly two-week sessions which run from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. They break into age groups to work on improv, music and drama. Parents and campers meet at an orientation the Sunday before camp. Faculty includes Michael Phillips, Amanda Pawlik, Candace Glickman and Jeff Caron.

The professional Palace Theatre offers age-specific camps, explained Rebecca Peterson, marketing director. Campers rehearse and perform on the Palace stage and have professional actors as camp counselors. The counselors are also the repertory performers for Palace Professional Productions for Children summer series, which campers watch. Teen assistants help with the camp and perform in teen summer Palace productions.

Peacock Players and Derryfield School use high school or college students as counselors and performers. In Derryfield’s second summer of drama camp, kids age 8 to 15 will study acting, dance, singing, improv and audition techniques at the Manchester private day school’s campus from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Laurel Devino is the camp director.

Peacock has already auditioned for their Young Company of students between 13 and 18 years old who act, direct, produce and otherwise help stage shows. Campers age 7 and up are split into age groups to learn about performance and production at St. Philip Greek Orthodox Church in Nashua in this youth educational theater program. They perform at 14 Court St. Theatre.

Teens who are still looking for a challenging theater program might try the new Spotlight Project at Acting Loft. The series of one-week workshops for eighth- through twelfth-graders grew out of Storytime Theater. Last summer, teens put on plays each week, for which nonprofits and daycares were offered discount tickets. Spotlight Project starts with a week of Storytime, but the next five “focus on other areas of theater so their learning base is expanded,” said Leah Belanger, education director. Artistic director John Sefel runs the program; topics include clowning, silent theater, Commedia Dell’Arte, Shakespeare’s comedies and Shakespeare’s tragedies. There will still be shows at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on those Fridays, but not all will be appropriate for three-year-olds, Belanger said. Spotlight groups are limited to 10.

Another option is to sign up for a workshop at Andy’s Summer Playhouse. The 35-year-old summer children’s theater in Wilton auditioned in March for its main shows, but there are still spaces for kids age 8 through 18 in their Conservatory, which covers fundamentals of performing and “Young Directors and John C. Russell Playwrights Labs” in which young writers and directors produce short plays. Their apprentice program is available for ages 12 and up.

In general, these camps all end with a performance, still have space available, do not offer transportation and campers must bring lunch.

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5/10/2007 Curtain Calls
5/3/2007 Curtain Calls
4/26/2007 Still going strong
4/19/2007 Vietnam the the Palace
4/12/2007 Confluence
4/5/2007 First look
3/29/2007 Reluctant star
3/15/2007 In a town far away
3/8/2007 Curtain calls
3/1/2007 Into the future
2/22/2007 But will it play in New Hampshire
2/15/2007 Curtain calls
2/8/2007 Family affair
2/1/2007 Curtain calls
1/25/2007 Curtain calls
1/18/2007 Curtain calls
1/11/2007 Curtain calls
1/4/2007 Fork in the road
12/28/2006 Standout performances of '06
12/21/2006 Curtain Calls
12/14/2006 Players remember Peter Bridges
12/07/2006 Young talent
11/30/2006 Lighthearted farce for the holidays
11/23/2006 Curtain Calls
11/16/2006 Good theater
11/9/2006 Preview roundup
11/2/2006 Access to the ancients
10/26/2006 Aida on a Nashua stage
10/19/2006 Children of a Lesser God brilliantly played
10/12/2006 A true love triangle
10/05/2006 Curtain Calls
09/28/2006 Bringing people back to life
09/21/2006 Getting judged
09/14/2006 Long strange journey
09/07/2006 Curtain Calls
08/31/2006 Curtain Calls
08/24/2006 Putting kids in charge
08/17/2006 Curtain Calls
08/10/2006 All theater, all summer
08/03/2006 A Jesus musical, reworked
07/27/2006 A match made in Maine
07/20/2006 Variations on a theme
07/13/2006 I Hate Hamlet
07/06/2006 Serious theater
06/29/2006 L.A. in Peterborough
06/22/2006 Da Vinci to Rube Goldberg
06/15/2006 Peter Bridges remembered
06/08/2006 From Hairspray to monkeys
06/01/2006 Special Theatrics
05/25/2006 Live Brit-com
05/18/2006 Evil stepsisters earn the yuks
05/11/2006 A message to mom
05/04/2006 Meet the cast
04/27/2006 'I hope i get it'
04/20/2006 Find yourself in Yonkers
04/13/2006 Nashua rocks The Wiz
04/06/2006 Nashua rocks The Wiz
03/30/2006 Cabaret is Mnchester bound
03/23/2006 A 42nd Street detour
03/16/2006 Actor-director wants your ideas
02/23/2006 Yellow Taxi's Theater Festival opens March 1
02/16/2006 Herding CATS
02/09/2006 An actors' studio
02/02/2006 A thing about love
01/26/2006 Spring theater season warming up
01/19/2006 Gearing up for the big night
01/12/2006 This Phantom is not a menace
01/05/2006 Jim Kelly, sci-fi writer and alternate historian
10th anniversary at Capitol Center
10 Ways To Survive The Audition
A Chorus Line
A Figaro Worth Cheering
A 'Living Newspaper' on stage
A tale of two wives
A Tribute To Music
Actorsingers Deliver On Superstar
Beauty and the Beast
Bedford Off-Broadway Gets Spooky
Being The Beatles, 1964 The Tribute
Bringing NYC to Wilton
Creating the venue from antiques
Crimes Of The Heart
Curtain to rise on Dana Center
Dana Center Takes Center Stage
Ensemble elevates Palace’s Godspell
From stage to the silver screen
Great play, too bad it’s over
Greater Tuna
Humble Boy
It’s cabaret, hear it sing, joke, tease
It's Child's Play
Jesus Christ Superstar
Kids Tackle Edgar Allan Poe
Local boy hits the big time, doesn’t lose his head
Lowell theater opens with a winner of a satire
Madco welcomes Boston actor-director
Meet John Sefel, Director
Meet Suzanne Delle, Yellow Taxi’s driver
Music Man to run three weekends
New Thalian Players
Palace announces 2005-06 season
Peterborough Players’ Solidarity is solid gold
Plaid (II)
Playing with man’s best friend
Proud of the Peacock
Racy, crazy blast at the Palace
Reviving His Passion
Robert Dionne, The man behind the Majestic
Rosemary Dann
Secrets Every Smart Traveler Should Know
Short-Attention Span Theater
Side Show
Sideshow slips sideways
Spending The Summer On Stage
Stages of learning
Steel Magnolias
Suessical: The Musical
Theater Of The Imagination
Theater Kids Without A School
Theater in the park draws big
The Drawer Boy
The Festival
The Five best shows of 2005
The Prisoner Of Second Avenue
The Russian/American Kids Circus
The Senator Wore Pantyhose
The Tony Awards, they're grrrrreat
The Warmth Of The Cold
Three nights, three shows at the Palace

Under the Caribbean with the little mermaid

Wake up to ‘night Mother