Theatre Camp – Week 1

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This week I started my job at a local theatre camp! It’s my second year working at the camp and I’m so happy to be back. I am one of the three senior counselors in charge of 51 kids ages 5-14. This year the campers will be putting on Willy Wonka, Jr. and Beauty and the Beast, Jr. I’m excited to be co-directing Beauty and the Beast with another senior counselor. Beauty and the Beast is my favorite Disney movie and I’ve always wanted to work on this production!

Monday was the first day of camp and we started off by having the kids do some ice-breakers to learn each other’s names. After that we taught the kids stage directions with a game of Simon Says. By the end of the day all the kids knew the differences between Stage Right, Stage Left, Center Stage, On Stage, Off Stage, Up Stage and Down Stage. Afterwards we listened to the music from each show and selected the music that they’d need to know for their auditions. Girls auditioning for Belle need to sing Something There starting at “New and a bit alarming…” The boys could choose between a section of the song Gaston or the Beast’s part in Something There. Girls auditioning for any part could sing the selection from Gaston.

On Tuesday we had the kids do some scene work. We split them into groups and had the counselors assign them different scenes to read. I was blown away by my group! They were all excellent readers and took direction very well. In the afternoon we started our audition process. We called the kids into the hallway one-by-one to sing the song of their choice. After they sang we had them do cold readings from the scripts. We didn’t get through all the auditions on Tuesday so we had to finish on Wednesday. Our choreographer taught the kids a short dance routine to Be Our Guest while the senior counselors conducted the auditions.

Auditioning and casting 51 kids was way more difficult that I ever could have imagined. The kids are immensely talented, but it is tough to figure out what parts they can handle. The cast list wasn’t sent out until around midnight on Wednesday because it took so long to finalize!

I’m really excited to start blocking the show next week! On Thursday (July 4th) we didn’t have camp, so I spent the day brainstorming how I want to block Beauty and the Beast. I’m most looking forward to blocking the Prologue. Even though I’m not a dancer, I want it to be like a ballet with very exaggerated movements. Our Enchantress is an excellent dancer and I definitely want to take advantage of that.

On Friday our camp took a trip to New York to see Matilda on Broadway and to do a workshop with one of the members of the cast. The kids learned Miracle, the opening number of Matilda, and were taught a short dance routine to go with it. Some of our kids are such great dancers! For lunch we ate at the Hard Rock Cafe and then we saw the 2:00 performance of Matilda. The show was excellent, but I think I liked the London cast slightly better.

Friday was a looooong day, but we had a great time. I’m really looking forward to start working with the kids next week so we can make such a magical show come to life!

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