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Summer Musical Theatre Camps

Imagine spending the summer acting out stories, and creating sets, costumes, and props! Young voices project song and dialogue, integrating physicality to deliver vibrant characters at UNCG’s summer musical theatre camps. Horton and his Who-Friends come to life, Shrek emerges from his swamp, and Alice takes her journey through Wonderland with camper cast members ages 7-17.

Professor John Poole, Director of the School of Theatre, remembers how much community children’s theatre meant to him as a child. The expertise he has gained since is reflected in his perspective on the summer camps:

“The fundamental gift for young people participating in summer theatre camps goes to the core of developing the whole human being. Summer theatre camps provide a framework for students to socialize in creative ways, collaborate on shared projects, develop strong communication skills, and build confidence.”

These camps reflect a rich tradition in the School of Theatre and the North Carolina Theatre for Young People professional touring company, founded by Thomas Behm, professor and director at UNCG Theatre for 34 years. Rachel Briley is the current artistic director for NCTYP, supervising the master of fine arts program in theatre for youth, directing performances at Taylor Theatre, and conducting school tours throughout the state.

The Theatre for Young People Gift Account, established by Behm in 1989, provides an opportunity for anyone interested in supporting this program to lend a helping hand.

“A helping hand” is exactly what one anonymous donor decided to give. Knowing not all children interested in the camps could afford the cost, this thoughtful individual paid for several camp scholarships. More children in our community will benefit from the transformative power of theatre because of a donor’s kind-hearted generosity.

Neila K. Ettienne ’18 MFA is the director/choreographer of this summer’s camps. Ettienne’s focus is on student participation in the shows as a means of learning about the art of theatre, resulting in an appreciation for all that goes into a production. Theatre games and a few writing activities will be woven into the process as students learn about the elements of theatre and prepare for performance.

An actor, musician, songwriter, and puppeteer, rising senior Jack Pearson will be musical director for the camps this year. His experience with multiple theatre for youth productions at UNCG propels his enthusiasm for further work.

“The authenticity and uplifting spirit of TYA and its immediate impact on the youth of today are what drive me to make great art for the young and young at heart,” Pearson declared. “I’m excited to work with Neila and these awesome kids all summer long!”

With that kind of enthusiasm, campers are sure to enjoy the journey from Whoville, through Shrek’s swamp and into Wonderland this summer.

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Story by Zoe Dillard, Donor Relations


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P. Kevin Williamson

Associate Vice Chancellor