Each time I see one of Festival Theatre’s youth actors craft a new character for one of our Youth & Family Series Productions or hear a young Creativity Camper describe their process in choosing just the right colors for the newest painting, I am reminded that arts-making experiences should not be considered simply “extra-curricular” – but essential! When exposed to the arts, children are given a task: with limited resources and limited time, they must turn ordinary things (a piece of paper or an empty stage) into extraordinary new creations. These arts encounters foster self-confidence, empathy, and innovative thinking and insist upon collaboration. I have no doubt that arts-making opportunities, such as those offered through Festival Theatre, help equip young people to meet the challenges of our ever-changing world.
For this reason, our team at Festival Theatre is constantly working to provide many opportunities for children of all ages at little or no cost to families, and our busy summer programming schedule is full of opportunities to get involved.
This summer, we will be taking our guest teaching artists on a tour of the valley for our 2014 Creativity Camp series. Creativity Camp is an environmentally-themed travelling multi-arts day camp and will be held for two weeks at St. Croix Falls Elementary School (July 7-11 and August 11-15), one week at the Clear Lake Community Center (July 21-25), and one week at Luck Elementary School (July 28 – August 1). Each session runs from Monday through Friday (8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.) and is open to children ages five to twelve. Each day includes experiences in Drama, Creative Movement, Visual Arts, and Literary Arts, where campers are taught key techniques by professionally trained artists and then given time to explore, play, and create. The $85 enrollment fee covers all supplies and registration fees; campers are only asked to bring lunch, snacks, and suntan lotion!
If you’d like to try a sample of Creativity Camp before signing on for a full week, check the calendar at your local library. Festival Theatre teaching artists will be touring libraries early in the summer to offer 90-minute “mini-camp” sessions at no cost to the youth. These sessions will be an abridged version of what a camper would experience during a normal day at Creativity Camp – with opportunities for creative movement and dramatic play, as well as a visual arts activity. Sessions are currently scheduled for libraries in St. Croix Falls, Balsam Lake, Centuria and Dresser.
Meanwhile, on site at Festival Theatre, a group of six youth actors will be busy working alongside our professional actors and designers for a production of Aristophanes’ classic comedy, The Frogs. This production will be a result of our fourth annual Festival Theatre Conservatory for Young Performers. The Conservatory is an opportunity for older youth (ages 13-18) to receive a more comprehensive actor training experience; over the course of the four-week rehearsal process, youth actors will participate in a series of workshops led by our summer teaching artists, where they will receive training on vocal technique, movement, and tips on tackling Aristophanes’ classic language! The Frogs opens on July 19 and runs through July 31. Tickets are $13.50 for an adult and $8.50 for youth and can be purchased here or call the box office at 715-483-3387.
Prior to seeing the performance, check out the Resource Guide for The Frogs, which will be available on our website and at nearby libraries one month before opening night. Festival Theatre creates Resource Guides for each of the season’s Youth & Family Productions; these guides are designed to prepare young audience members for an engaging visit to the theatre. Full of activities and packed with fun facts, these Resource Guides are created with children, parents, and educators in mind and provide information about the play’s setting, story, and history in one fun packet!
Nearly all of Festival Theatre’s Arts Education offerings, including the Conservatory experience, are currently available at no cost to families. This is made possible by the financial support of Royal Credit Union, as well as the generous contributions of Festival Theatre donors. On Wednesday, July 30, Festival Theatre will be hosting our third annual Summer Party, which will be an opportunity to recognize the work of our young artists and raise money for future programs. We invite you to attend this celebration, which will include food, games, and performances. Details are forthcoming; to receive all the latest updates on Festival Theatre Arts Education programs, including information regarding our next round of youth auditions in mid-August, call our box office at 715-483-3387 and ask to be included on our Arts Education email list, or like us on Facebook.
There’s a lot to say “wow” to in the creative work of our community’s young artists. This summer, Festival Theatre invites you to discover that “wow” for yourself!