Circuses & stage combat: Teen’s experience at Cedarville University theater camp

By Hollyann Gardner
Times-News correspondent


A group of campers, at Theatre Camp at Cedarville University in Cedarville, Ohio, pose in their character costumes before the final performance on June 16. [Hollyann Gardner / Times-News correspondent

   CEDARVILLE, OHIO — The joyous world of theater was  unveiled through classes, games and live performances at  Theatre Camp at Cedarville University.
Twenty-seven high-schoolers (23 girls and four guys),  including myself, participated in this camp from June 12-16.
Following check-in, friendships formed that would last  through the week as we participated in many group activities.
Theater professors were our teachers for the week and four  Cedarville theater majors served as counselors. Campers were  divided into two groups. Each would take a children’s book  with a circus theme and create a short performance. Our  group performed “The Circus Ship” by Chris Van Dusen, and  the other group did “Circus Train” by Jos A. Smith. We had a  plethora of exotic characters, including crazy townspeople (of  which I was included), an evil circus boss and many animals  including an alligator, giraffe, tiger and zebra.
Throughout the week, we continued to explore the elements  of theater by taking classes. These included choreography, acting technique, theater games, stage makeup, scenic design, stage combat, costume design, stage movement, lighting and improv. Our costumes, makeup, and sets for our circus plays were all put together by us students during these classes.
Some special events were planned for us throughout the week in addition to the normal classes. We took a fun field trip to Young’s Jersey Dairy in Yellow Springs to get to know each other, eat ice cream and play some miniature golf. On Tuesday, we had a delicious picnic on the stage itself, and my personal favorite experience was when we traveled to Dayton Wednesday night. We took a tour of the historic Victoria Theater (even learned about the theater ghost), and then went down the street to the Schuster Performing Arts Center to see a for a live professional production of the new show, “Circus 1903.” This show was absolutely dazzling. It featured breathtaking circus performers and just had stupendous execution overall. The national touring production of “Circus 1903″ will be performed Sept. 29-Oct. 1 at the Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC), 123 Vivian St., Durham.
The camp concluded on June 16 with our performance. We presented our two circus plays, as well as two musical theater dances we learned — “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile” from “Annie” and “Be Our Guest” from “Beauty and the Beast.”
At the end of the week, I was surprised and encouraged by what I was able to achieve and learn.
The camp is open to students between the ages of 14 and 18. For more information, call 937-766-4444.

Hollyann Gardner is a rising home-schooled high school sophomore and a Teens & 20s writer.

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