MELANIE MINTY: Beware the bite of acting bug at Surrey Little Theatre summer camps

SURREY — Summer holidays came a bit early this year for school kids. By the time July rolls around, there will no doubt be plenty of parents looking for “educational” opportunities for the summer months. There are so many options to look at – something that has value and can fully engage and occupy active minds and bodies.

Once again, Surrey Little Theatre is offering acting workshops for youth. The Act One Theatre Camp, a two-week, full-day camp filled with workshops on all aspects of stage production, will be facilitated by Loryn LeGear and Brigitte Seib. This is a terrific team. And it will surprise you what can be accomplished by the campers in only two weeks.

Included topics are audition and improv techniques, scene studies and character analysis, acting 101, stage etiquette, backstage co-operation and team building, stage management, set design and scene painting, sound and light design, technical operation, props and costume design. This is a very packed program, for sure.

The day camp runs Monday, July 21 to Thursday, July 31; week one is from Monday to Friday and week two is from Sunday to Thursday. The two-week camp will end with a showcase public performance on the evening of Thursday July 31. Registration for the camp is limited to 16 participants aged 13 to 18. All participants have the opportunity to perform onstage and will also be responsible for backstage duties. The cost of the two-week program is $285, which includes lunches every day and dinner on the evening of the performance. All activities will be held at Surrey Little Theatre, 7027 184th St. That’s at the top of Clayton Hill, one-half block north of Fraser Highway.

For registration forms and more information, contact program facilitator Brigitte Seib via email, brigitte.seib@surreylittletheatre.com.

Brigitte is one of the many dedicated volunteer talents who keep Surrey Little Theatre going. She has been recognized by Theatre BC and the Community Theatre Coalition for her work in set design and also as a producer and director. If I were in the right age category, I would definitely sign up for this camp. What a bargain – and you don’t have to sleep in tents, suffer sunstroke or get bitten by bugs! Well, maybe you might get bitten by the acting bug.

Summer theatre is made to be outdoors – even in our unpredictable climate.  Theatre Under The Stars (TUTS) is rotating performances of Shrek: the Musical with Legally Blond: the Musical. This 75-year old tradition of open-air theatre in Stanley Park’s Malkin Bowl is a summer fixture. Check out the schedule at Tuts.ca. Just fair warning: It is outside, after dark, and the real bugs do bite. Go prepared.

Bard in the Valley has about 70 years less tradition than Theatre Under The Stars, but Langley is set to prove outdoor theatre can be successful in the Fraser Valley as well as in the city.

For its fifth anniversary, Bard in the Valley is presenting William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. Directed by Darcy J. Knopp and produced by Diane Gendron, this show is, once again, preparing to give Langley audiences an exciting, free outdoor theatre experience.

For Bard in the Valley, the first performance this year is on July 1 at Fort Langley’s Canada Day celebrations. Admission is free. Next stop is the outdoor stage at Township 7 Vineyards & Winery for  five performances – July 11, 12, 18, 19 and 20, at 21152 16th Ave., Langley. Tickets at the winery are $20. To reserve tickets, visit Club7.township7.com/store.

The final eight performances will be at the company’s “home base” – the Spirit Square Stage in Douglas Park, from July 24 to Aug. 3. Admission is free.

“Because there is no admission fee,” said Diane Gendron, president of Bard in the Valley, “our audiences are filled with many people who would not otherwise have the opportunity to attend a live-theatre production, let alone a Shakespeare play. Whole families come – moms and dads, grandparents and children – and they bring their blankets and chairs and spread out on the lawn in front of our stage. And people who don’t want to travel into Vancouver to see a play, or can’t afford to go to a play in the big city can, and do, come to see our productions.”

All members of the production team are volunteers, including the producer, director, set designer, the man who builds the set, stage crew, costume designer, people who can sew, lighting and sound technicians and actors.

There are, of course, expenses that include renting sound equipment, paying for security on the nights the set remains up on the outdoor stage, and buying building materials for the set and fabric for costumes. Sponsors and more volunteers are always appreciated. Make it a summer project.

Check out the website, at Bardinthevalley.com. School’s out. Make the most of your summer.

melminty@telus.net

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