Youth drama camps returning

By Sam Odrowski

Youth who like to express themselves through drama and improv, or want to try something new will be able to through the fall and early winter.

Fort Frances Little Theatre is hosting a “Broadway Boot Camp” for kids age 6-16 where they’ll develop skills in acting, singing, and dancing. from Sept. 28-Jan. 25, with a break in November and around Christmas.

The camp’s instructor, Danielle Gray, who recently finished her Master’s Degree in acting at a drama school in London, England taught a similar camp last year and says there’s currently nothing else like it offered locally.

“It’s a Saturday camp for those who are merely wanting to expand their skills and knowledge within theatre, acting, and dancing,” she explained.

“It’s also for kids who have never really done anything drama-related before and want to try something new.”

At the end of the camps on the week of Jan. 25, attendees will host a final showcase where parents and family friends are encouraged to see the skits, musical numbers, and performances they’ve been working on.

The Broadway Boot Camp is a great way for kids to make some friends and build confidence as well as hone their drama skills, Gray told the Times.

She added that the camp is whatever the kids want to make of it, as they can choose the materials they want to do.

“I’m giving them free rein to do their own thing,” she noted. “I kind of cater to what the kids need individually themselves.”

“It’s a really laid back environment and one of my really big beliefs is that games and having fun is a great way to learn,” Gray added.

She says part of the camp could include musical theatre numbers with jazz combinations.

“I kind of want to work on doing some singing techniques, some clowning, some masks, puppeteering, and stuff like that without being too crazy high pressure,” Gray explained.

“I just think it’s really important to not have any pressure because I feel like something like this can be so intimidating to younger children, especially who struggle with being shy.

“My parents, when I was younger, threw me in drama classes because I was shy and it really helped me obviously come out of my shell and stuff like that,” Gray added.

Gray says she can handle up to 20 kids and is hoping to hit near that target. A total of 12 signed up last year.

“They really enjoyed it last year,” she lauded. “We did an abridged version of the greatest showman and the kids just like threw themselves in it.

“We also did tons of independent work where they got to steer their own creativity by coming up with their own characters and their own plot lines which I think kids don’t very often get the opportunity to do,” Gray added.

She noted that camp attendees will learn important lessons in teamwork, thinking of others, social skills, and public speaking.

To sign up for the Broadway Boot Camp, call Gray at 271-1306 or get in contact through the camp organizers’ Facebook page, “Fort Frances Little Theatre.”