The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local news

March 19, 2013

Learning the theater: Gaslight Kids Drama Camp May 28-June 22

ENID, Okla. — Enid area youths will have the opportunity to learn all about the theater this summer at the Gaslight Theatre Kids Drama Camp, which will be May 28-June 22.

Janet Jones is director this year, and the kids will prepare for the play “Willy Wonka Kids” by Roald Dahl. The play is a special version intended for children done by Music Theater International.

The camp is for elementary school-age youth who have completed kindergarten through fifth grade. Last year, there were 63 kids in the program, and the theater held two sessions per day.

The sessions cover theater craft, starting with easy choreography, singing and dancing every day, Jones said. Friday of the first week they will go through an audition process, where they will build on the crafts the entire month of the class, Jones said.

“When the play is cast, we only have three weeks to put it together,” she said.

Last year, most of the kids were new to Gaslight Theatre, while several of them had been part of Gaslight Teens and some were in last year’s “Seussified Christmas,” Jones said. Part of the program is to develop an interest in the theater in the kids.

“The oldest kids, those who had finished fourth and fifth grade, are eligible learn about tech and run the tech booth for the show, with supervision,” she said.

This is the third year of the camp. The first year there were 27 students and only one session per day. The number rose to 63 kids in the second year. Jones expects about the same number this year.

“We try to cut it at 30 (each session). When we get more than that, we can’t give them the attention they deserve.”

Jones said she has been surprised by the bravery of the kids. Both years they have told the kids if they don’t want to audition by themselves, they will find a way to get them in a group. For the past two years, though, everyone has chosen to audition, she said.

The second surprise for Jones has been the quality of the end product. Even the people working on it have been surprised at how serious the kids take it and how well they do.

“The kids are talented, we have a lot of talent out there,” she said.

Jones, who teaches fifth grade, said it is a credit to the music teachers in Enid and to parents who encourage their children to do things.

Assisting with the camp this year are four adults and four teens. Chelsea Hunter, Terri Galer, Catina Sundvall and Jonathan Suttmiller will relieve Jones briefly during the class. Teens helping are Evan Chermack, Daniel Johnson, Blake Jantz and Bailey Wilson.

The play was selected by collaboration between Gaslight President Sally Phillips, Hunter and Jones. Jones credited Phillips with getting the Kids Drama Camp started. The three talked about choices for the play. The first year they found Disney’s “Jungle Book.”

“It was such a good program, so well written, and they write it so a large number of kids have a part, and there’s not necessarily a star,” Jones said.

The cost of the camp is $250 for the full run, including all materials and a T-shirt. Students also receive a DVD of the show.

Some full and partial scholarships are available. Applications are available online on the Gaslight Theatre website, gaslighttheatre.org, or through the box office, 221 N. Independence. Box office hours are 2-5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.

For information, call Jones at (580) 402-3002 or Phillips at 242-6585.

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