YMCA camp teaches youth performance skills in five days
Date posted: June 27, 2013
By Lucy LaRosa
The Sheridan Press
SHERIDAN — Sheridan’s YMCA theater camp will hold their end of the week performance of “Willy Wonka Kids” at the WYO Theater June 28 at 2 p.m. The play is free of charge to the public with general admission seating.
The play is a condensed version of Roald Dahl’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.”
The YMCA has been the summer host to theater camps since 1999.
YMCA Art and Humanities Director Tami Davis is in charge of leading the theater camp along with several high school and college students with musical and theatrical experience.
“My counselors grew up doing theater,” Davis said. “They help teach choreography and break up the group into smaller groups to practice.”
There are two theater camps hosted by the YMCA, a beginners camp and a more advanced level for those kids who have already completed beginners camp.
The advanced camp will perform Friday.
In just five short days, the kids who range in age from 9-13, learn theatrical skills, audition and practice their roles for public performance.
“It really helps them learn self-confidence and teamwork,” Davis said. “It’s a good way to get more comfortable in your own skin.”
“It’s really incredible what these kids are able to do in such a short amount of time,” camp councilor Tyler Rodgers said. “These kids are dedicated, they’re excited, and they are incredibly hard workers…anybody who sees this show will be impressed with what these kids are able to accomplish in five short days.”
The YMCA theater camps began when Davis sought to create additional opportunities for children to work in theater.
“I pushed for a theater camp for the kids who didn’t make it in Tandem so I’d be able to tell them they could try out the Y program,” Davis said. Davis also leads local theater group Tandem Productions.
“The focus is obviously theater, but the kids learn a lot about teamwork and what it means to be a reliable team player,” Rodgers said of the camp. “We often tell the kids, ‘Everybody on stage is depending on you to do your part and you are depending on everybody else too.’”
Nicholas Gale, 12, will play Charlie. He has been attending the YMCA theater camp for four years.
“You get to express yourself,” he said. “You can have a part either singing, dancing or acting. It gets pretty intense with only five days but it always gets pulled off.”
“It’s great. It’s so fun and we have so many kids who come back every year,” Davis said. “They get pretty into it.”
Truman McTiernan, 13, will play Mrs. Beauregard in the play. He has been involved with the YMCA theater camps for three years.
“I really like theater and singing,” he said. “Everyone is always included here.”