Kids theatre camp builds bridge between two communities
Northern Light Opera Company, in cooperation with the Pine Point School District, held a three-week, kids theatre camp in July. Participants, from ages nine to 13, learned basic theatre skills like projection, singing, character analysis and stag...
Northern Light Opera Company, in cooperation with the Pine Point School District, held a three-week, kids theatre camp in July.
Participants, from ages nine to 13, learned basic theatre skills like projection, singing, character analysis and stage movement. They also wrote a stage script and original songs.
The children - nine from Pine Point and seven from Park Rapids - presented their collaborative production Friday at the Pine Point Community Center.
The workshop and production were made possible by a generous community grant from the 3M Company.
“I told Lisa I hope they’ll be able to come back next year because it was really fun,” said Zanie Ruiz, 10. She’ll be a fifth grader this fall at Pine Point.
Linda Diaz, 11, enjoyed getting to know the cast - and pulling pranks on them. The sixth grader was the jokester of the bunch.
The 20-minute performance, entitled “The Dream Circle,” marked their stage debuts.
“Even though we weren’t expecting a big crowd, we felt we accomplished something,” Zanie said.
As it turned out, there was a full house for the single performance.
“Every seat was full. We were really nervous,” she said, advising her fellow jittery cast members backstage to “pretend the crowd wasn’t there.”
Director Lisa Dove said the kids theatre camp was loosely based on the MET Opera’s “Creating Original Opera” program in New York City, where she and husband Greg Paul reside.
Three student director interns - Sarah Schultz, Hawken Paul and Maurice Fields - oversaw acting, music and dance lessons, respectively.
“We tried to play off each of the directors strengths,” explained Dove, while also giving the interns hands-on and resume-building experience.
Schultz is a music theater major at St. Catherine’s in St. Paul. She starts her fourth year this fall. She praised the participants’ immense creativity, despite being “the most reserved group I’ve ever seen.” The students soon learned to “live in the moment” and “think on their feet” - two prime virtues necessary for live theatre.
“This was a really great experience, wrangling the kids, honing leadership skills and working with other directors,” Schultz said. “I love music and theatre. This experience taught me I actually like working with kids. I would love to do something similar in the future.”
The budding thespians brainstormed in both large and small groups. They had a field trip to NLOC’s costume room at the Armory, selecting fabric for hand-sewn blankets used in “The Dream Circle.”
“With the exception of a few, it was an exceptionally shy group,” Dove agreed. “We did a lot of theatre games. By the second day, they were playing together. It was cool to see.”
Participants were transported by bus to Pine Point School and back.
“What was really cool about it, everybody opened their doors,” Dove said of the joint project with Pine Point School District. “We were really taken care of. It was very welcoming.”
Negonee Diaz, 21st Century coordinator at Pine Point School, made lunches every day and drove the bus.
Friendships “definitely” formed over the three weeks, says Natalie Harvey, a soon-to-be seventh grader at Century Middle School.
“We definitely got to know each other really well. We got to meet meet different people from different cultures,” Natalie said.
And the show went off without a hitch - no major lines forgotten or costume mishaps.
“It has been gratifying to see the progress made artistically and in relationship building between the two communities,” said Pat Dove, co-founder of NLOC.