Kids prepare for stardom

Mary Winspear Centre's One Week to Stardom camp puts kids on stage

Olivia

Groups of kids dressed up in 17th century period costumes roamed the streets of Sidney on Wednesday morning, pointing out objects that wouldn’t have existed in the 1800s.

The children, aged six to 10, from the Mary Winspear Theatre’s One Week to Stardom summer camp, used the exercise to get into character for their play, Twinkle Light, showing on Friday (July 27).

Twinkle Light is about finding stardom and getting to Broadway, said Margaret Watt, artistic director from Mountain Dream Productions, which is hosting the play.

The group of 21 young actors will stage a series of individual plays and skits, showcasing the skills that they’ve learned throughout the week.

“At first, they’re looking for the lights [on stage] … so they’ve got little magnifying glasses and they’re looking for the little lights,” Watt said. “Then they go on an imaginary trip on how to become stars; they want to go to Broadway.”

The one-week program, which started at the theatre five years ago, runs all year long. It’s tailored to the kids’ abilities and age, and focuses on fun, team building and building confidence.

“It’s really fun because you get roles that maybe you’ve never done before,” said Anna, a member of the camp. “And at the end of the day, you feel like you’re so comfortable [on stage]. You do everything and it’s just amazing to see how many people can change through the program.

“When I come home, I feel really happy that I just did that and really proud of myself.”

Fellow camper, Alaina, added that it can, however, get overwhelming.

“It’s overwhelming because you get these parts that you’ve never heard or seen before and you get to act like a person you’ve never been,” she said.

One of Watt’s teaching assistants, Jenny Sutton, said the children have quickly grown comfortable not only on stage, but also with each other.

“Teaching them at first was a challenge because sometimes they don’t listen,” Sutton said. “But when they get their parts and they get all in it, it’s really fun to see how they get comfortable with each other, and comfortable in dancing, singing and acting, and they all stop being so shy.”

Watt encourages the public to come see the children have fun showing off their acting, singing, and dancing. The production supports scholarships that the theatre, and Watt’s production company provides children with.

“The more that our community gets involved, the more scholarships that we can give [the kids],” Watt said.

The current summer camp has five kids participating on scholarships from Mountain Dream Productions.

Twinkle Light plays at the Mary Winspear Theatre, 2243 Beacon Ave., on Friday, July 27, at 2 p.m. Tickets are $5 for children, $10 for adults.

For more information about the summer camp, or to buy tickets, see marywinspear.ca.

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