PITTSBURG — Young thespians are putting a show together in just two weeks.
The Just Off Broadway Theatre Camp is back for its second year and is giving students the opportunity to learn about every aspect of a theater production. Forty students are enrolled from sixth to 10th grade.
The camp was started last year by Pittsburg High School Theater Director Greg Shaw to help students interested in theater gain experience early.
“There’s a lack of opportunity for young teens and middle school aged kids,” Shaw said. “And selfishly, I want to get to know them before they get to me at the high school.”
During the camp, young actors learn aspects of the business such as staging, set building, choreography and theater business.
“I’m very passionate about the learning that goes on during a show,” Shaw said. “It translates well to the real world. Kids learn about deadlines, teamwork, perseverance and collaboration.”
Many of the campers have come back. The camp counselors who help Shaw are all members of the PHS drama club. Shaw said he hopes children will move up through the camp from background roles, to principal roles and then return to help as counselors.
One of Shaw’s former students, Will Jewett, is helping with the camp as the choreographer. Jewett graduated from PHS in May and plans to move to New York to pursue a career on broadway.
“He is a tremendous talent,” Shaw said. “I’m happy to have him here working with the kids.”
The camp started Monday, and ran 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day this week. Next week rehearsals will be in the evenings, ending with two shows at 2p.m. and 7 p.m. at Memorial Auditorium August 20. Memorial Auditorium is a partner for the camp and all rehearsals take place there.
Last year, Shaw directed the Off Broadway Camp members for their production of High School Musical. This year, the campers are performing Legally Blonde, Jr. Legally Blonde, Jr. tells the story of Elle Woods — played by McKenna Shaw — and her journey through law school at Harvard.
The camp is capped at 40 and accepts members on a first come, first serve basis. The staff has auditions for parts on the first day of camp, but Shaw said landing the lead role isn’t always what is most important.
“The whole thing with putting a show like this together is putting kids in a position to succeed,” Shaw said. “And succeed wildly.”
— Chance Hoener is a staff writer for the Morning Sun. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @ReporterChance.