On Stage

Acting Out

The benefits of summer school

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

My sister has four kids, and has said many times that the last thing she wants to hear from them when school is out for the summer and they don’t face the daily rigors of institutionalized education is “I’m bored.” She doesn’t live in Bellingham, but if she did, I’d direct her to the following ways to distract her offspring from the ho-hum existence of reality.

At Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth (BAAY), youth as young as 5 and as old as 17 who are interested in being either onstage or behind the scenes have a lot to choose from when it comes to “summer school.” Through July and into August, pupils can act in shows (The Sword in the Stone, Pinocchio, The Drowsy Chaperone, and Amos and the Giant Avocado), learn more about circus arts, discover how to swing dance, get a theater tech education, test out their singing chops and get crafty with various art projects. “Laugh, rehearse and make friends,” marketing director Juliette Machado says of the offerings. Sounds like a lesson plan. Where: 1059 N. State St. Cost: Varies Info: http://www.baay.org

Parents only have until Fri., June 23 to register their grade-schoolers for the weeklong Adventurous Worlds: Fantasy, Myth and Magic day camp taking place June 26-July 1 at Western Washington University’s Summer Youth Theatre Institute, so time is of the essence. In return, the kids will spend from 9am-3pm daily getting creative, and can show off what they’ve learned to their family and friends at a Saturday showcase. Where: WWU Cost: $200 Info: http://www.cfpa.wwu.edu

As a former performer at the Upfront Theatre, I can say with assurance that improv is capable of changing lives. But you don’t have to be a mainstage member to get the most out of it. At Youth Improv: Summer Camp (July 10-14) and Teen Improv: Summer Camp (July 31-Aug. 4), students will discover how to listen better, be team-builders and engage in creative thinking. Along the way, they’ll laugh louder than they thought was possible—at least where learning is concerned—stop censoring their instincts and engage in work that feels more like play. And if they’re craving the spotlight, both camps will offer improv showcases at the end of the week. Where: 1208 Bay St. Cost: $150 ($250 for two siblings) Info: http://www.theupfront.com

Finally, for the 15th year, the Missoula Children’s Theatre will team up with the Mount Baker Theatre for a trio of collaborations between area youth and professional actors and crew members that sees three full-length plays being cast, rehearsed and performed in the course of a week. This year, Treasure Island (July 10-15), Beauty Lou and the Country Beast (July 17-22), and The Tortoise Versus the Hare (July 31-Aug. 5) are the productions to choose from. To ensure your kid doesn’t get bored this summer, consider signing them up for all three. Where: 104 N. Commercial St. Cost: $185 ($170 for multiple students or camps) Info: http://www.mountbakertheatre.com

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