Our 7-year-old was fortunate enough to get invited to attend one of the Utah Children's Theatre's summer camps. She attended last year as well and was so excited to go again this year!
They offer a wide variety of camps all summer long with a half day or full day option. Each session has a different theme and some cover different types of performing, from stage acting to musical performance to improv, so be sure to check out their schedule online.
My daughter attended the Fairy Tales and Fables camp in the morning and On Broadway Voice camp in the afternoon. They had some pretty fun ones coming up later in the summer as well though, such as Jedi Camp, a Princess Tea Party, and Magic camp, where slight of hand tricks are taught by a professional magician.
The kids started out learning some basic theatre and voice warm up techniques before splitting up into smaller, age groups where they spent the week working on producing their own short performance.
I LOVED that they took the kids through the entire process. I've seen my kids in school plays and performances and such, but they were always just memorizing songs and lines that the teacher gave them. The teachers at the Utah Children's Theatre took the time to sit down and brainstorm and tap into the kids' own creativity to come up with characters, dialog, actions, etc. The kids essentially wrote, directed and acted in their own play, which was awesome. She was able to see all aspects of theatre and what goes into each performance. It was also fun for her, because a lot of the teachers were actors that she had seen in some of their children's plays that we attended earlier and she recognized them and was excited to work with them!
On their last day of camp they were able to put on a small performance for family and friends. It was fun to see her up on stage... she was definitely the most timid one there, but she was beaming to be a part of everything. It was good for her to get up in front of people and perform despite her shy tendencies.
After her play we got to watch her voice class perform a few numbers from some current Broadway shows. She commented that it was hard to remember to sing while acting and even though she was more reserved and quiet than all the other kids, she spent all week wandering around our house singing her songs, excited to practice and improve. This class ended up being a little smaller and she loved getting to know all the kids she performed with. It is so fun how little kids can spend a couple of hours with someone and come out with a new best friend!
After her performance she decided she wanted to stick around and watch the older kids perform in a mini improv session. I was surprised at how funny the kids' show actually was... my children were busting a gut laughing, but even the adults in the room were entertained, I was impressed with how well they did. Not only did the kids come up with some pretty entertaining responses, but they had been taught to really use their whole body and facial expressions to really portray their roles.
I am sure some of the kids at the camp that week will actually go on to perform in numerous capacities and really engage in theatre work. My daughter is so reserved and timid that I don't know if she'll ever become a performer one day or not, but I feel like opportunities such as this will help her confidence in all aspects of life and definitely helped her gain an appreciation for live theatre and all that goes into every performance.