Survive or Thrive: Three Things to Consider Before Sending Your Kid to Theatre Camp

Survive or Thrive: Three Things to Consider Before Sending Your Kid to Theatre Camp

Backstage at OKTC’s Through the Looking Glass — these girls and I have spent a huge chunk of our summer together!

“I’M BORED!”

The two most terrifying words a parent can hear… especially right in the thick of the summer.

Perhaps you think it’s way overdue for your child to have a new experience… or perhaps you just need a break from your kiddo for a while this summer.  And your kid likes acting, don’t they?  Perhaps they have a “dramatic” side to them, or are always pretending to be someone else.  Well then, theatre camp must be the perfect place for them!

But before you whip out the credit card and sign the registration forms, please take the following three tips into account!

1)  Make sure your child knows what he/she is getting into.

First and foremost — does your child actually WANT to go to theatre camp?  Have they ever expressed any interest in acting, theatre, or drama?  And please don’t give me the “My child is SO DRAMATIC” line.  Theatre camp is not the place to send your seven-going-on-seventeen diva.  If your child has a genuine interest in acting or theatre, then go ahead and sign them up.  But please, no divas.  We don’t want to deal with them.  And just because YOU want your kid to go to camp or be an actor, doesn’t mean that your child has any aspirations of being on the stage.

ALSO:  Please TELL your child you’re signing them up for camp before they go.  It’s no fun for your kid to discover that morning that they’re being shipped off to camp.  At best, they’ll be nervous and anxious; at worst, they’ll feel like you’re abandoning them.  Think about the equivalent: it’d be like your kids turning around and putting you in a nursing home without your consent.

This is true of any camp, but especially so in theatre — which is such a collaborative medium — one miserable kid can totally ruin everyone else’s camp experience.  While it is important for kids to try new things and have new experiences, you shouldn’t have to force a kid to go to camp — they should want to go of their own accord.

Survive or Thrive: Three Things to Consider Before Sending Your Kid to Theatre Camp

2)  Make sure YOU know what you’re getting your child into.

It boggles my mind how often parents either forget or just plain don’t know what they’ve signed up their kids for!  Make sure to spend some time doing some research about what kind of camp experience you’re looking for.

Some things to consider include:

  • Length/duration of the camp (Full days?  Half days?  One week?  Two weeks?)
  • Day camp vs. overnight camp
  • Local vs. out of town
  • Type of programming (regular “camp” experience vs. intensive theatrical training program vs. summer performance company)
  • Cost of the camp

And once you register your child, PLEASE be sure to write down and/or print out all relevant information/confirmation/receipts that are available!

Survive or Thrive: Three Things to Consider Before Sending Your Kid to Theatre Camp

3)  Make sure your child is truly ready for camp.

I’m not sure why this is, but so many parents seem to want to push their kid ahead and register them in a camp before they are ready or old enough for the camp.  Camp age restrictions are not chosen arbitrarily, and they are not there to exclude your child.  Plays and musicals require the use of scripts, and if your child cannot read or has difficulty reading, they’re probably going to have a tough time at theatre camp.

And if your child is clearly the youngest person in their group, they may have trouble fitting in.  They might have difficulty keeping up with the activities (such as learning choreography at a faster pace than they’re used to); they may not be able to sit still or pay attention for as long as the rest of the group; or they may have difficulty making friends with the older kids, who may not want to hang out with someone much younger than them.

ALSO:  If your child is shy, or has a medical concern or a special need, please be sure to share this with your child’s counsellor.  This is not to single your child out.  It’s to ensure that your child’s counsellor is equipped with all the information they have to help make your child’s camp experience the best it can be.  Camp staff are trained specifically to ensure your child’s privacy and confidentiality will be respected, and if they are armed with this important information, it will only help your child thrive at camp.

What are some important factors that you consider before sending your kid to camp?  Do you have any tips for people who are thinking about sending their kid to camp?  Share your thoughts in the comments!

Through the Looking Glass Opens Tomorrow!

Through the Looking Glass Opens Tomorrow!

Well folks, it’s that time again!  I think I say this for every show I direct, but it’s hard to believe that OKTC’s Through the Looking Glass opens tomorrow.  It feels like we just started rehearsing; when in actuality we started way back in April.  I am SO PROUD of the hard work that my cast and crew has done.  They have improved in leaps and bounds and you really need to come see what they have done with this show.  It’s silly, funny, and fun for the whole family.

We were also featured on the London Free Press, alongside OKTC’s other summer production, Disney’s Alice in Wonderland Jr.!  Check it out!

Through the Looking Glass

Book by James Devita. Music and lyrics by Bill Francoeur.
Based on the story by Lewis Carroll.

Part of our Summer in Wonderland Series. Take a wildly entertaining trip through Alice’s looking glass to the beat of a hip-hopping soundtrack!  This comic adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass depicts the coming-of-age story with fun twists and awesome music.  You’ll recognize some of your favourite Looking Glass characters and meet dozens of new ones along Alice’s journey.  As a pawn from the second square of the chessboard, Alice must travel to the eighth square to accomplish her goal of becoming a queen.  Each step of her passage brings her face to face with new characters and adventures as well as celebrations when she achieves each aspiration. 

(75 minutes. #OKWonderland. Rated G)

You have 8 chances to see Through the Looking Glass before it’s gone!

  • Saturday, July 26, 2014 – 7:00PM
  • Sunday, July 27, 2014 – 2:00PM
  • Sunday, July 27, 2014 – 7:00PM
  • Tuesday, July 29, 2014 – 7:00PM
  • Friday, August 1, 2014 – 7:00PM
  • Saturday, August 2, 2014 – 2:00PM
  • Saturday, August 2, 2014 – 7:00PM
  • Sunday, August 3, 2014 – 11:00AM

Buy tickets online at originalkids.com or by calling the OKTC Box Office at 519-679-8989!

Through the Looking Glass Opens Tomorrow!

Photos by Malcolm Miller

Directing Youth with Yours Truly on Theatrefolk.com!

Directing Youth with Yours Truly on Theatrefolk.com!

There’s been a bit of radio silence around these parts… I closed Macbeth with The Voices Collective (check out our review on Donald’s Dish here), then started work with the Port Stanley Festival Theatre youth theatre program, and OKTC’s Through the Looking Glass opens on Saturday!

It has been an insane couple of weeks, but seeing this pop up on my Facebook newsfeed was just the icing on the cake: my interview with the lovely team at Theatrefolk.com has gone live on their blog!  Click here to check it out, or copy and paste this link: http://www.theatrefolk.com/blog/directing-youth-kerry-hishon/

I was honoured to chat with Lindsay about all things youth theatre, from choosing a good audition piece (and what not to choose), building an ensemble, and creating an effective rehearsal schedule.

The Theatrefolk website is a great resource for drama teachers, directors, and anyone else who loves theatre!  You should definitely go check them out!

Macbeth Opens Today!

Macbeth Opens Today!

Photo Credit: Jeremy Hewitson

The Voices Collective’s Macbeth opens today at The ARTS Project!  Very exciting!  And we are featured in the London Free Press too: Macbeth with a gender twist.

Macbeth. It’s a name well known in theatre, even to the non-theatre goer. And the story is nothing unfamiliar to the well-versed audience member. So how do we keep the play interesting to modern audiences? Do something different with it! This production aims to meet that challenge. Our answer to it: what if Macbeth was a woman? Being manipulated by a man? What if we showed the nature of their twisted relationship in real, physical form? The result is a shocking reality check into the very real, too often relate-able, world of abuse. Abuse of knowledge, abuse of power and abuse of people. Nothing is held back or glossed over in this production. Alex Legge stars as the title character. Adam Zess plays her manipulative and mentally unstable husband. The hero Macduff is played by Kerry Hishon. The remainder of the characters are played by a cast of six who play multiple roles throughout the play. Playing at The Arts Project July 10th-12th, The Voices Collective’s Macbeth is sure to be a memorable theatrical experience. 

Tickets $20 (General Admission)
The ARTS Project – 203 Dundas Street, London ON

Thursday July 10 at 8pm
Friday July 11 at 8pm
Saturday July 12 at 2pm
Saturday July 12 at 8pm

Advance tickets are available by calling The ARTS Project at 519-642-2767 or online!  See you at the theatre!

Three Cheers for Five Years!

Three Cheers for Five Years!

Hard to believe that today is the fifth anniversary of this little blog.  I had no idea when I sat down and wrote my “Hello World!” post that I’d still be here, five years down the road.  (If you look closely, you’ll notice that the link is actually “hello-world-2″ which makes me think that I must have deleted the first one!  Who knows!)

I love writing about theatre and travel, and I hope to continue to do so (especially about travelling!).  I hope to continue to grow this blog and my readership, and to continue to provide interesting and useful content.

So in celebration of five years, here are five lists I’d like to share with you!

My 5 Most Popular Blog Posts of All Time (Thus Far!)

5 Quick Pieces of Advice for Young Actors

  • Learn your lines as soon as you start rehearsing.  Don’t wait until the last minute to try and cram them in your brain.  Save yourself the stress.  (I speak from experience here.)
  • Don’t be afraid to take risks and look silly.
  • Choose an audition song and monologue you actually enjoy performing.  I can tell that “My Favourite Things” is definitely NOT one of your favourite things.
  • Practice speaking loudly and projecting your voice from the start.  It’s easier to bring your voice down than to try and push it up once you’ve moved from the rehearsal hall to the theatre.
  • Don’t be a diva.

5 Places I’ve Travelled

5 Things I’ve Learned About Blogging

  • If you want to run a successful blog, you have to MAKE the time to write.
  • Write ahead and pre-schedule your blog posts as much as possible.  It will save you so much stress in the long run!
  • When inspiration hits, stop everything and write the post.  Don’t save it until later.  By that time your inspiration will have dried up, or you’ll second-guess yourself and think the idea isn’t as good as you thought it was originally.
  • Always include at least one great photo in every post!
  • Be consistent.  Try to post at least one new article every week.  (I’m still working on this one!)

5 Goals for the Remainder of 2014

  • Post one new article each week on the blog
  • Finish my theatre scrapbook
  • Clean up my two youth theatre plays and get them up on the blog
  • Declutter my apartment
  • Learn to say “NO”