Theatre Arts Discovery Camp was one wild adventure! The Garfield Park Arts Center had seventeen kids participate in the brand new summer camp last week. The group started off with a name game to get to know each other, then headed out to the MacAllister Amphitheater to learn about stage direction from theatre instructor (and GPAC manager) Lesley Meier.
Following that, we came inside to cool off and do some acting exercises. Lesley taught campers how to use their imagination on the spot during the improvisation games, and campers worked together to create interesting scenes and interactive characters.
After lunch, Tom Weidenbach (senior Arts Manager) demonstrated how to build what is known as a Binion Head Puppet. Campers partnered up to make the heads out of cardboard and masking tape.
The next morning, Tom separated the campers into groups of three to work with the Bun Raku puppets. These puppets require three operators, with one person controlling the head and right arm, one person controlling the feet, and the other person to control the left arm. As the kids learned, it’s quite a feat! Check out their performances here.
Later on, the kids played more acting games with Lesley in the Performance Art Studio. One game was called “The Machine”, and the campers had to transform themselves into a moving apparatus that made some sort of product.
Wednesday morning, the campers learned how to make their own shadow puppets. They enjoyed creating movable parts for their puppets and performing behind a screen.
Campers then worked on developing their monologues with Lesley, and of course, played more improv games!
On Thursday, we worked on decorating the Binion Head Puppets, and then went on to make Maggie Duff Puppets. Not only were campers taught how to make these little hand puppets, they were also given a lesson on how to make them do several different actions effectively. For the theatre portion, Lesley worked with the group to develop their characters by having campers interview each other.
Friday was a busy day! Campers finished their puppets, and Tom showed them how to make them talk, walk, and perform daily activities. By lunchtime, they were puppet masters!
At long last, the campers performed their monologues for each other. Each character was completely developed by the camper, and had hopes, fears, likes, and dislikes that they disclosed with the audience. Some campers even brought costumes!
Theatre Arts Discovery Camp was a great success. Thanks to all the instructors, counselors, staff, and campers who made this possible. See you next year!