Tecumseh Youth Theater conducts drama camps at TCA

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Performers in a youth drama camp at the TCA struck a pose while rehearsing for a show to cap off their camp experience. Photo by Deb Wuethrich.

A group of young performers were strutting their stuff on the Tecumseh Center for the Arts (TCA) stage during a summer drama camp on Thursday afternoon, June 27. They wore flashy sunglasses and were getting the moves down to lyrics that went, “You don’t know you’re beautiful — uh uh,” by One Direction, and when they sang, “the way you flip your hair,” everyone in the line did a dramatic head toss.

The group, led by Tecumseh Youth Theater (TYT) alumnus Emily McCormley, was gearing up for a Friday night performance that would cap off a week of drama camps put on by volunteers of TYT.

“This week is all ‘Disney Mash Up,’ said Joyce Lammers, a TYT board member and also a music teacher for Tecumseh Public Schools. “We had a camp for middle school and high school students in the mornings all this week, and the elementary camp was held in the afternoons.”

Lammers said all classes were taught by TYT alumni and board members — all on a volunteer basis.

Joel Cardella, TYT President, said the theater group approached TCA stff about holding the camps after pitching around the idea internally for awhile.
“We wanted to be sure this was something we could do,” Cardella said. “They had done summer drama camps before, usually with a paid instructor. Ultimately, our relationship with the TCA allowed us to do this and we’ve really gotten some good feedback from the kids. The most important thing was that they had fun.”

Lammers said the kids learned a little bit of everything about the theater throughout the week.

“They’ve painted sets, worked with lights, sound and tech stuff,” she said. “They’ve had singing times and learned about acting and auditions. But their favorite is costumes. They each got to pick out a character and then put a costume together from our wardrobe for their Friday performance.”

Twenty-five students took part in this week’s camp, but there is still room for additional young performers in an upcoming drama camp to be held on July 8-12. The theme for that camp is “Broadway.”

Cardella said one of the goals is to reach talented individuals when they are young and introduce them to theater.

“It’s also about making a connection in the community,” he said of TYT’s willingness to volunteer for the program.

“Just think,” said Lammers as she gestured toward the stage where the youngsters were still singing and dancing. “Some of these kids will be the ones to go on to perform on this same stage in the future.”

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