Las Vegas summer theater camps allow children to engage creatively and have fun while staying out of the heat.
Kris Shepherd, theater program specialist for Rainbow Company Youth Theatre, says putting on a show is hard work, but you also can’t forget that the kids are on summer break and “it needs to be fun.”
Whether it be writing scripts, creating scenic designs or singing and acting, there is a theater camp for everyone.
“Most kids like to sing, dance and act even if they’re not the best at it — and that’s not the purpose. The purpose is engagement and that ensemble work and really working collaboratively with one another,” said Candy Schneider, vice president of education and outreach at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts.
Rainbow Company Youth Theatre balances work with “time to be kids,” Shepherd said.
Camp activities include crafts such as an introduction to scenic designs that is taught by Shepherd, as well as warm-ups and yoga so that kids are used to moving their bodies and using their voices.
The camp, which will run until Friday, has two sessions. The morning is for 8- to 11-year-olds. The afternoon session is for 12- to 16-year-olds. The cost for the two-week camp is $220.
According to Shepherd, the morning session has more than 20 participants and the afternoon session has more than 30.
“The coolest thing about Rainbow Company is that it is process-oriented, not product- oriented,” Shepherd said. Their focus is on having good artists as long as they are learning at their own pace and level.
Shepherd said they have about seven or eight scripts selected, but they adapt the final performance to the number of participants and their skills at the end of the two weeks.
Similarly to Rainbow Company Youth Theatre, there is a final performance at the end of each of the four weekly sessions at Summer Youth Theatre Academy at Las Vegas Little Theatre.
According to Emily Fagan-Baker, director of Summer Youth Theatre Academy, the goal for camp participants is to write their own scripts.
Fagan-Baker said that the first week will focus on improvisation since that is the foundation of being comfortable on stage. Those who come on the fourth and final week will not feel out of place, she said.
This is the second year that the summer camp is offered and it runs from June 30 until July 25.
Aside from offering a theater camp for 6- to 12-year-olds, the Summer Youth Theatre Academy offers internships for 13- to 18-year-olds, Fagan-Baker said.
Interns help lead warm-ups and with the writing of the scripts and picking up costumes. That gives them a chance to “assist in the whole process,” and according to Fagan-Baker, interns “learn so much when (they) have to teach and guide others.”
The camp reiterates skills learned in school and also allows for creativity, she said.
The cost of the camp is $175 per session, but there is a $50 family and friend discount. Each session can take up to 40 children. Registration is open up until the first day of each session.
Camp Broadway at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts is part of a national program based in New York City that tours different regions across the country. According to Schneider, the camp is taught by Broadway professionals, the majority of them from New York, but this year they are trying to incorporate local talent.
This is the third year that the camp comes to Las Vegas.
The weeklong camp is broken down into two age groups: 6- to 9-year-olds are in Shining Stars Camp, which takes place July 7-11, and is a half-day camp. There are two sold-out $450 sessions for Shining Stars Camp, each with 25 children. Classic Camp, July 21-25, is for 10- to 17-year-olds and the cost is $695. There are still some spots available for Classic Camp, which takes 100 children.
For both camps, Schneider said, it’s about “understanding the performance they have selected.”
At the end of the week, both camps put on a final performance for their friends and family either at the Reynolds Hall stage for Classic Camp or Troesh Studio Theater in Boman Pavilion for Shining Stars Camp.
Schneider said that while some children may know one another, the majority of them “don’t know one another, so it’s really building that trust and collaboration and then all of the sudden, five days later they’ve got this phenomenal performance that they do for their parents, grandparents and friends.”
She said that there is a lot of decision-making involved, and no one person can do that. It is about team effort and putting it all together.
Schneider said that it’s important children be involved because of the “creative thought and problem-solving” as well as the “very high-order thinking skills that are involved in the arts.”
For information on Rainbow Company Youth Theatre call 702-229-6553. For more information on Camp Broadway at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts, visit thesmithcenter.com/campbroadway.
For information on the Summer Youth Theatre Academy at Las Vegas Little Theatre, call: 702-362-7996 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact Andrea Corral at email@example.com or 702-383-0285. Find her on Twitter @andrea_corral2.