Summer Theatre Camp | Part 1

I hope you’re prepared for this blog…because it’s going to be a lot of TRASH TALK.

You see, Virginia Stage Company and The Governor’s School for the Arts are joining together this summer to create a fun, exciting, and somewhat TRASHY, Summer Theatre Camp. The two week camp, utilizing the talents of more than twenty young persons ages 12 to 15, will be built on the theme of Tales from a Garbage Dump, and will allow and encourage these students to look at a creative, collaborative theatre-making process in a whole new way.

Each day, the kids will be engaged in hands-on learning, working closely with VSC theatre professionals at the GSA building on Granby. For example, with Jeni Schaefer, VSC’s Resident Costume Designer, students may discover the joy of using “found objects” to design and create a set or costume piece. With VSC’s Resident Artist Tommy Coleman, campers may find themselves discussing “garbage” as a metaphor, perhaps extending their ideas by writing thoughtful monologues using a prompt of, “What’s something someone’s thrown away that they wish they could get back?” Or with ME, Resident Theatre Artist Ryan Clemens, they may encounter playful, physical, and vocal work as they develop characters inspired by a milk carton, a broken radio, or some other forgotten item left to the landfill. 

Apart from the personal instruction from theatre professionals, I hope what our campers will really take away from this experience is the joy of CREATIVE COLLABORATION: working together, from inspiration to production, with a positive flow. Theatre is the utmost of collaborative art, with designers, directors, playwrights, and actors coming together to create a whole that is greater than the sum of its pieces. Our camp works with that notion and takes it a step further.  

Whereas a typical summer theatre camp often offers an enticement of an existing, well-known story…say, the Wizard of Oz for example…then follows a standard, linear process of casting, rehearsing, and finally giving a performance of an end product, our camp is rooted in building creative expression from the ground up. Rather than starting with a scripted play, our ambition is to invite campers to delve into the act of creation. They may draw inspiration from a character concept, a writing prompt, a costume study, or an interesting item pulled from the recycle bin. They may shape this inspiration through discussion with peers, acting exercises, or an idea borrowed from Pinterest. They may take this idea into the rehearsal hall where clever improvisational work can add new ideas with character, plot, and more. They may even see these ideas come to life on stage as a moment of fun, fancy, or poignancy at our GSA camp final showcase. And when is that showcase? On the last day, campers will share their production of Tales from a Garbage Dump with family and friends. That’s 2PM on Friday, July 8.

Well, friends, that’s the scoop on the trashy fun we’re planning for our GSA camp! But don’t worry; there will be future blogs, and we’ll have more dirt for you soon!