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Theater to offer camp for creative collaboration

| Thursday, June 20, 2013, 10:15 a.m.

The Valley Players of Ligonier will offer a two-week theater camp for children ages 7-16 From July 8 to 15. The camp is called YOUtheater, which means the campers will write, direct, and star in their own play, which they will present on the Saturday and Sunday at the end of camp.

Camp Director Curtis Caldwell said the students would spend the first week learning various theater skills and by the end of that first week he hopes the group will have an idea about what kind of show they want to create. The second week would then be dedicated to fine-tuning the show in preparation for the final presentation.

“I really wanted to have a kid feel to the camp; it's all about the kids,” Caldwell stated. “Instead of trying to make them memorize someone else's words I want them to really own this. I've never done this before; it's very experimental. But I think they will look back on this as a really great experience. Their parents can really appreciate it because it is their kids' words and they are being able to perform it as well.”

Caldwell explained that this is an idea he has been throwing around for a number of years. Last year the theater had to cancel it's camp program because of a lack of enrollment, and Caldwell, who is running the camp for the first time, said this could be a good way to raise interest and be able to hold the camp this year.

“If it works it might become an annual thing. We hope that these fresh ideas will keep coming to Ligonier so we can get new people coming,” Caldwell said. “The kids are going to have a great time expressing themselves, and hopefully there is nothing holding them back from expressing their imaginations and going wild.”

Also different from previous years, the camp hours have been extended from a three-hour session to a full day, running from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. with an hour lunch in between the morning and afternoon sessions. Because of this change, the price has increased to $300. However, theater Executive Director Eric Harris said he has looked at similar two-week camps that can cost up to $1,200.

“We figured $300 was fair. It's a lot more than we have been charging in the past, but it's an all day camp instead of just a three-hour camp,” Harris said.

The deadline for registration is June 30. To receive a brochure and application, e-mail name and address to or call the theatre at (724) 238-6514 Ext. 3 and leave your contact information. Cost for the two-week camp is $300 per student.

Peter Turcik is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.