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Scottdale's Camp Curtain Call numbers rising

| Thursday, June 20, 2013, 7:01 p.m.
Rachel Basinger | for the Daily Courier
Head teacher Mandy Onder goes through an exercise on stage with some of the younger students during the annual Camp Curtain Call at the Geyer Performing Arts Center in Scottdale.
Rachel Basinger | for the Daily Courier
Emma Galbraith, daughter of Janice Thomas and grandaughter of Joyce and Bill Gower, works on a theater T-shirt.

This week started the seventh year of the annual Camp Curtain Call at the Geyer Performing Arts Center, and in the last few years, the popularity of the children's theater camp has gained momentum.

Kat Post started the camp as a “labor of love,” believing in the therapeutic and social benefits of the theater and being a part of a team.

This year, there are more than 30 children participating in the first week.

“I think the free Geyer After School Program was a huge growth for us this year,” Post said. “I think because it was free, that opened the door for those who might not have traditionally tried it. I was impressed with how many came who were never involved in this theater before.”

This first week of camp has a “Wizard of Oz” theme, piggybacking on the production that recently was staged at the Scottdale theater.

“We're always anxious to look for opportunities to match our camp theme with a show that's going to be on our stage,” Post said. “We did it a few years ago with ‘Beauty and the Beast,' and this year, there just happens to be two shows that worked for children to be involved in and directors of those shows who have been very cooperative with us.”

During the “Wizard of Oz” camp, students have written some narration, learned choreography, learned songs and completed set construction, among other theater disciplines.

At 7 p.m. Friday, the children will participate in a free performance — open to anyone who wants to attend — to show off what they have learned.

The second camp will be held Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoon/evenings from July 15 to 26 and will focus on the musical “Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat,” which will take the stage on Aug. 1.

Tracy Kelley, “Joseph” director, will be head teacher for that camp and will offer a special perk to students.

“If there are any students who might like to take part in one (musical) number of the actual show, Tracey is going to allow them to join the cast,” Post said.

Post said one of the benefits of taking part in Camp Curtain Call is that it allows children who might not have the opportunity otherwise to play a lead in a show to step into some of the lead roles during their end-of-the-week open-house show. It also gives them the chance to work as a team and allows them the opportunity to try and conquer stage fright.

She added that the camp would not be successful without the help of her lead teacher this week, Mandy Onder, as well as theater manager Kristen Tunney and several members of the community.

“Mandy has really been the person who has helped make this camp what it is,” Post said. “She has really given of her time to the children, combining her natural talent with her degree in education.”

She added that “Kristen has been so gracious to us this week and has been a huge help with her administrative skills and her super organization.”

Rachel Basinger is a freelance writer.

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