Main Street Arts to offer summer theater camps

Main Street Arts (MSA) will offer two summer camp programs - Trish Roberts's Wildbrook Forest Theater Camp and The Un-Lost Island of Atlantis with Putnam Smith. No theater experience is necessary, and no audition will be required. Space is limited, with slots available by sign-up on a first-come, first-served basis.

The return to offering summer camp is part of MSA's focus on strengthening the well-being of area children. The camps will explore how to connect deeply to the natural world and to each other through story-telling and imaginary play.

"At MSA, we view theater as a vehicle to teach risk taking, self-awareness, and collaboration in a playful way," program director Ashley Storrow said in a news release. "This aligns with MSA's new mission statement to strengthen personal and community well-being through diverse arts experiences and social connection."

The Wildbrook Forest camp will run Monday, June 24, through Friday, June 28 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The cost is $270 per student and is open to students 8 –12 years old. Roberts will bring students into the Vermont Academy forest (located behind MSA) to play theater games.

Students will also try lots of improv, learn theater warmups for voices and bodies, sing, tell stories, explore and play in the forest, and rehearse for the final performance. Additionally, students will work on character-building activities, various acting techniques, and set and costume design.

The final performance will take place in the woods on Thursday, June 27, at 3 p.m., with a rain date of Friday, June 28, at 3 p.m. Be prepared for a 10-minute walk.

The second camp will run from Monday through Friday, Aug. 5 to 17, from 9 a.m. to noon, at MSA. The cost is $300 per student. On the Un-Lost Island of Atlantis, two rival groups of explorers will uncover the mysteries of this deserted island and win out as the true discoverer.

Smith will lead students through theater games, trust-building exercises, and lessons in stage combat and physical comedy; participants will work together to bring this action-packed comedy to life. The program will result in a fully costumed performance on MSA's mainstage. The performances will be on Friday, Aug. 16, at 7 p.m., and Saturday, Aug. 17, at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Roberts has been working with youth in theatrical endeavors for more than 10 years. She holds a B.A. from Middlebury College and a Connecticut teaching certificate in both French and theater, has a master's degree in English Literature from Trinity College, and is the founder and director of Wildbrook Forest Theatre, a nature-based theater project in Westminster. Roberts is an MSA teaching artist and runs afterschool programming in the WNESU school district.

Smith is a graduate of Bowdoin College with a degree in philosophy. He has worked as an actor, director, playwright, nationally touring musician, farmer, letterpress printer, teacher, and librarian. As the education director at the New England Youth Theater in Brattleboro, Putnam wrote and directed numerous plays, and organized the Town Schools Theatre Program, working with many elementary schools throughout Windham county. He lives on a working homestead in Putney with his wife and two kids.

MSA is located at 35 Main St. in Saxtons River. For more information and to register, visit [email protected].

This Arts item was submitted to The Commons.

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