Already tired of seeing your kids lounge on the couch all day? A great summer solution is heading your way and it takes place on a stage. This July, Gilbert Theater is hosting its ﬁ rst ever summer camp for ages 8 to 16. It’s called Broadway at the Crown. The camp starts on July 8. It is a two-week program of classes, Monday through Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Robyne Parrish, camp director, artistic director and co-director of education for Gilbert Theater explained that one half of the day is heavy training in-class training including choreography, acting, improvisation and dance. The latter half of the day is involved with play rehearsal. The kids will be performing the play Fame Jr. for an audience at the Crown Theater. Parrish and Jeremy Fiebig, managing director for the Gilbert Theater and assistant theater professor at Fayetteville State University, are both excited about the opportunity to perform on the Crown’s stage.
“It’s been great having the partnership with the Crown Coliseum and them making the space for us. This is what sets us apart from any other camp. They get to perform on a Broadway-sized stage,” Fiebig said.
Parrish added, “The kids get to be on this huge stage that has professional lighting and sound equipment. This stage has held national concerts and even Elvis Presley performed on that stage, it really is kind of cool.”
The teachers and artists who are working at the camp are another boon for the students. Cameron Wade is the director for Fame Jr. and the choreographer, as well. Her experience includes teaching children from ages 8 to 15 in acting, dance and voice instruction. Wade has also taught at Children’s Theatre of Charlotte for more than ﬁve years.
Guest star Jonathan Hadley is also involved in directing the play. Hadley was recently on tour with the Jersey Boys and has had a great deal of Broadway experience including White Christmas, Fiddler on the Roof and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat. The kids can expect Hadley to come for a day or two and give them feedback on the rehearsals.
“It is intensive training, but we wanted to give the kids exposure to professionals in their ﬁelds and an opportunity to work in the business consistently. Especially if these younger kids want to make it a profession. Here we can offer a way of education,” Parrish said.
Fame Jr. is set during the last years of the High School for the Performing Arts in New York City, during the years 1980-1984. Audiences will watch a group of students balance four years of intense academic and artistic work “… with candor, humor and insight, the show explores the issues that confront many young people today” (mtishows.com).
“I am deﬁnitely excited about the show. I have never seen this version done before. It’s going to be challenging for them, but we deﬁ nitely have the talent put up for a very good show. It will be very fun,” Parrish stated.
Fiebig mentions that putting on this camp has been their goal all along.
“This is our ﬁrst big project to start and I think it will be successful. It is also the ground work for future years” he said.
He also describes the unique qualities of theater camps.
“There are a lot of different people and you get the experience of actually working on a show that makes it unifying and fun. In theater camps, you tend to form a family,” he said.
Performances are Friday, July 19, at 7 p.m. and Saturday July 20, at 2 p.m. at the Crown. It is open to the public and tickets are priced at $10. General camp applications are to be turned in by June 17 but an extension date is available. Kids can now also apply for limited scholarships.
For more information visit www.gilberttheater.com or check out their Facebook page. You can also call the theatre for more information at 910-678-7186.