This would have been the 12th consecutive year of the Summer Children’s Theater Academy directed by Scott and Kelli Carlson, but for, again, COVID-19.
Instead, the 11th rendition of the popular academy will take place July 5 to 16 at the North Platte Community Playhouse with two performances scheduled July 16 and 17.
Scott Carlson said he has received numerous phone calls about whether the academy would be back on track this year.
“We’re really excited this year, especially after last year,” Carlson said. “We didn’t know if we were going to get to do it until about three weeks ago.”
The Playhouse board met and decided they felt comfortable with going ahead, Carlson said.
“The kids need it,” Carlson said. “You can tell just by talking to parents that the kids are hungry for some theater, and that’s why we do it.”
He said the kids get more than they might expect through the academy.
“The kids are going to get not only a theater experience, but a life experience,” Carlson said. “That’s why we think it’s so important to do these workshops and academies. The kids not only learn about theater, but they also learn so many life lessons they’ll take with them forever.”
The academy is two weeks long, and Carlson said every child who registers will be part of the show.
“We hold auditions on the first day of the camp,” Carlson said. “That’s essentially to cast the parts, but we don’t eliminate anyone who wants to be a part of it.”
Because the production is a musical, he said, along with the lines, they have songs they have to learn.
“We have a process that we’ve developed by trial and error that helps the kids learn those songs and learn their lines,” Carlson said. “On top of that we do a lot of activities that are learning experiences. We do a lot of games that are team-building games, where you have to rely on each other just like you are on the stage.”
At the end of camp, Carlson said, they do a lot of fun activities such as marshmallow dodge ball on the final day of the academy.
Rehearsals are 2 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, July 5 to 16. Public performances in the theater are at 7 p.m. July 16 and 2 p.m. July 17.
The summer theater camp is open to students who will enter third through ninth grades this fall.
Cost for the two-week academy is $100 for the first student in a family and $75 for each additional student. It is open to the first 35 registered students.