The Magnolia School has provided educational instruction for more than 30 years, and for nearly as long, their Center Stage summer camp has been open to local children. Young theater buffs spend two busy weeks exploring acting, improvisation, directing, costuming, set design and construction. The camp culminates in a production, but the emphasis isn’t on the final performance, it’s on what kids gain along the way.
“The show needs to be good and watchable and we always have to do the best that we can but getting the kids to work together well as a group is probably the most important thing we do,” says camp coordinator Paige Brey. She has been a faculty member at the Magnolia School for 16 years and prior to that, taught high school theater in Gainesville.
Brey is committed to meeting the individual needs of each child and cultivating an inclusive environment where campers can work collaboratively and develop confidence. “Just about every skill that you need as an adult is incorporated into the theater. It gives them skills they didn’t have and brings out the skills that they do possess. It gives them the ability to go forward.”
Because the Center Stage camp is open to kids age 5 to 14, campers work in two groups, each with age-appropriate material, activities and exercises designed to hone theater and life skills.
One of those games involves tossing a ball between group members to focus their energy and help improve cooperation and concentration. Fourteen-yearold Emily Cumper points out an additional benefit. “It helps develop nonverbal communication skills. You have to read each other’s mind and make sure you’re very connected.”
Read the rest of the story
Or visit the Tallahassee Democrat to read more here