Valley Session

June 21st-23rd ran the session in Orderville for 2016 with the important theme: “telling the story.”

We played games like “Three Headed Monster,” “What Are You Doing?,” and “Big Booty” (all explained in my Youth Theatre Program), that taught kids how to interact with others on stage. The theatre is a place were all parts/people should work together to “tell a story.” It is important that the team is united and listen to one another in order to show the art in the performance.


The kids also enjoyed playing a game where the group had to work together in counting to twenty. This may sound ridiculously simple, but it proved to be a very difficult task. You cannot tell others when to say a number, and if a number is said more than once or out of turn, the count is restarted. We used this game as a metaphor for the stage by explaining that it is no fun when one person says all the lines, and that you have to listen in order to interact with others to achieve the overall goal. We ended the game by going in order and listening to our teammates, comparable to saying one’s lines in a performance.

Staying with the storybook theme of the camp, the kids received parts, practiced, and perf8ormed skits spoofed off of The Frog Prince, The Tortoise and the Hair, and Goldilocks and the Three Bears that can be found in Justin McCory Martin’s Fabulously Funny Folktale Plays, Scholastic Teaching Resources.



The kids learned choreography to We Tell the Story from Once On this Island  and I Won’t Grow Up from Peter Pan. 

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Both our songs and dances involved using many differe77nt emotions to tell the storyso we had the children practice using their bodies and voices in order to  display their emotions. To better explain this, we showed the kids the Make ’em Laugh scene from Singing in the Rain, in which the main character uses all of his energy to tell the audience what he is experiencing.


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 The children created masks to show expressions for their own characters, and then we had them stand in front of the mirror to practice showing a variety of emotions with their whole bodies because their faces were covered by their masks. We taught them that the audience needs giant movements and large expressions given with purpose for portraying their character.

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It was an amazing experience for the children and adults involved. With the addition of all the fun props and costumes for the performance, I truly believe that the kids learned an astonishing amount and were given great opportunities for parts to play in this camp. We are so happy to share this videotape of the performance to show all that these children have achieved during the “Stages of Summer” camp.


Kanab 2nd Session

IMGThe image to the left was taken during the camp session in Kanab, Utah that ran June 15th-17th, 2016 with a theme highlighting what fun it is to be kid.



We began the camp by explaining attributes that good actors have, including: MorePics7expression, exaggeration, and annunciation, to name a few. Putting on a little skit called “Cindy and the Wolf” demonstrated this lesson as we performed twice for them – once lackluster, and another time with the quality acting previously described. The children told us that when we were distracted and unenthusiastic about the performance, the audience did not enjoy watching it.

The class learned about the fun that acting can be with stage make-up, costumes, and interesting characters to portray.

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We taught them how important each of these topics were so that they could display their true character for the audience on performance night.

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We taught choreography and sang to the following songs: Pinocchio’s “I’ve Got No Strings” and Peter Pan’s “I Won’t Grow Up”.

To see more pictures from the dance practices, see “Pinocchio Gallery.”
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The children learned all about puppets to help them truly get into character for the Pinocchio dance. We showed them two of Jennifer’s marionettes, the “Puppet Show” video clip from The Sound of Music, and discussed with them the different kinds of puppets and how they work.

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The kids also practiced and performed three skits entitled: “Three Silly Goats Gruff,” “The Pig Who Cried Wolf,” and “The Prince Frog” from Justin McCory Martin’s Fabulously Funny Folktale Plays, Scholastic Teaching Resources.

The class even created some fun animal masks to learn that they could be anything they wanted with the magic behind theatre productions.

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In both sessions we showed all about stage directions and how different spots on the stage show how some character’s roles are more important than others. For example, a king would stand downstage center, and it would not be appropriate for a peasant to be “upstaging”  – standing in front or closer to the audience than this important character. The image below shows the kids playing a game following stage directions.

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The Kids!

The students in our camp enjoy learning many songs and games that help teach confidence on the stage. These skills not only help students in theatre, but the kids also benefit from these lessons in numerous situations throughout their lifetime.

Many kids that began the camp very reserved were seen center stage in the performance, showing self-awareness that truly demanded respect and attention.

The ability to speak before an audience and present one’s self on stage is a tremendously useful skill for the real world as well as theatre. These kids will have great advantages during job interviews and presentations as they grow to become responsible, confident adults.

Enrolling kids in camps like “Stages of Summer” also helps them to step outside their comfort zone and get exposed to different career options. We talked to the children about how awesome it is that people in the Performing Arts industry get payed to “play” their whole life. The secret of the stage and the magic behind it is that the fun careers help people to enjoy their work and the amazing opportunities that come with them. We taught the kids that not only is it tremendous fun to be an actor, but also about the many other professions that take part in the behind-the-scenes aspects of theatre, like make-up and hair artists, stage hands, and directors, not to mention the designers for lighting, sets, and costumes.

These children have bright futures ahead of them, and we are here to help them make the most of their youth. Introducing them to the astounding options ahead is important to do now while they are discovering true passions that they will follow over the course of the rest of their lives.